Qohel Home Page

Click photo to go to Peter's profile














… from two hours of handing out how to vote cards in Kingscote (Mayo, SA).

Two things of interest.

1. Someone who thought I was offering her a Labor card said ‘Not without Kevin.’

I wasn’t sure the knifing of Kevin Rudd really would make a difference to the election. It has.

2. The number of people who specifically asked for Family First cards.

I know the candidate for Family First in Mayo. He is a great guy. Honest, intelligent, compassionate, hard working.

He won’t get in.

But the fact that so many people asked for Family First cards makes me wonder whether Bob Day has a chance of taking Sarah Hanson-Young’s senate seat.

That would certainly be a cause for rejoicing in my household.

Finally, the following from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Labor has denied employing dirty campaign tactics in the marginal electorate of Lindsay where candidate David Bradbury is at risk of losing his seat.

Labor campaigners are distributing how to vote cards dressed as Liberals, wearing recplica T-shirts to booth workers campaigning for Liberal candidate Fiona Scott.

The light blue T-shirts are unmarked with Labor branding and are precisely the same shade as their liberal counterpart.

A Labor campaign leaftlet is also styled to look like Greens election material. It is authorised by the ALP but contains no party logo.

Why would anyone vote for these people?

From James Delingpole at the UK Telegraph:

One of the great lies told us by our political leaders in order to persuade us to accept their swingeing and pointless green taxes and their economically suicidal, environmentally vandalistic wind-farm building programmes is that if we don’t do it China will. Apparently, just waiting to be grabbed out there are these glittering, golden prizes marked “Green jobs” and “Green technologies” – and if only we can get there before those scary, mysterious Chinese do, well, maybe the West will enjoy just a few more years of economic hegemony before the BRICs nations thwack us into the long grass.

This is, of course, utter nonsense. The Chinese do not remotely believe in the myth of Man-Made Global Warming nor in the efficacy of “alternative energy”. Why should they? It’s not as if there is any evidence for it.

There is much more. And it is all interesting.

China, after all, is the world’s future dominant economic power and, this being so, it makes an absolute nonsense of attempts by the EU and the US to hamper our industrial growth by imposing on our economies eco-taxes and eco-regulations which the Chinese intend to ignore completely.

This truth hasn’t hit home yet: not in the EU; not in the Cleggeron Coalition; not in Obama’s USA. Here’s my bet. The first to see sense on this will be whichever Republican administration takes over from Obama’s one-term presidency in 2012. From that point on – by which time we’ll have had two more exceptionally cold winters to concentrate our minds – British and European environmental policy will look increasingly foolish and irrelevant.

And so will Australian Labor or Greens environmental policy, along with any compromise carbon deals by the Liberals.

If the Tamil asylum seekers thought they were going to have an easier run in Canada than in Australia, they may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

A poll of 1500 Canadians reported in the Toronto Sun turned up this result:

Asked which statement best described their own opinion on what should be done with the ship, which may include members of the banned Tamil Tiger terrorist group, 60% agreed with the statement: “They should be turned away – the boat should be escorted back to Sri Lanka by the Canadian Navy.”

Just 17% agreed with the statement: “They should be accepted into Canada as political refugees.”

The boat won’t be turned around, though, no matter what most Canadians think:

Martin Collacott was Canada’s highest-ranking diplomat in Sri Lanka during the period when the civil war launched by the Tamil Tigers started in the early 1980s. Collacott says we can’t just turn the boat back.

“We need to follow the process that takes the ones that are legitimate refugees and return the others,” said Collacott.

How many are legitimate refugees is up for debate said Collacott, who noted that the ship, the MV Sun Sea, didn’t come directly from Sri Lanka, but from Thailand where the passengers were safe from any possible persecution from the Sri Lankan government.

If they were all safe from any possible persecution, on what basis can any of them be legitimate refugees?

All right, so I may be embarrassed tomorrow, but here goes.

In primary votes, the Liberals are way ahead. But with preference deals counted, most polls show them at 48% and Labor at 52%.

Tim Blair has all the bases covered, but suggests the most likely outcome is a three to eight seat victory for Labor.

If the polls are right, the overall swing may not be enough to give the Liberals a clear victory.

But the polls may not be right.

Julia has shot herself in the foot over the last couple days with her incessant bleating about how rotten Tony Abbott is, and how Work Choices would be back on Monday if the Liberals win. She looks tired, brittle, and untrustworthy.

I suspect the swing will be slightly stronger than the polls suggest.

But the overall swing is less important than the extent of movement in particular marginals.

Labor will lose seats in New South Wales and Queensland. They seem to be hoping to pick up two in South Australia. Julia is an Adelaide girl.

I doubt this will happen. The Rann government is not as popular as it was, and however Julia may try to distance herself from unpopular state governments, Labor is Labor.

The Greens will not win their seat in Melbourne.

The Liberals will win by two seats.

This may make effective government difficult. But Tony Abbott has shown over the last months that he can command loyalty and draw disparate party elements together. He will be a good Prime Minister.

In the Senate? The Greens will not get the vote they hope for. But the pixies in the garden parties may still hold the balance of power.

Incidentally, and in case you were wondering, I am not a member of the Liberal Party. The only political party I have ever belonged to was the Socialist Workers’ Party. That was at university.

My views have changed since then!

According to the ABC:

In the final hours of the 2010 election campaign, both parties have ramped up the negative rhetoric as they scramble to win over voters in what is tipped to be the closest election since 1961. …

Despite the colour and stunts of the last few days both leaders have turned to personal attacks to sway any undecided voters.

Reading that, you might be lead to believe that both leaders had turned to negativity and personal attacks.

Let’s see. The story reports Julia as unrepentant over her attacks on Mr Abbott, and saying:

“There’s a real risk Mr Abbott will become prime minister. And I think it is fair when Australians go and vote that they contemplate the risk of the return of WorkChoices.”

If you say so, Julia.

So what details does the ABC have to report on Mr Abbott’s personal attacks and negativity?

Well, someone ran past him in a pair of Speedos.

Right. What else?

He drank a shandy, whereas last night Julia drank a stout.

So obviously he’s not a real bloke at all. Thanks for that. Anything else?

Yes, he talked about policies.

Policies?

Yes, he talked about reducing taxes and spending, and better border control.

Did he? What a bastard. Did he mention Julia at all? Say anything nasty about her?

No. But he was still ramping up the rhetoric in a negative and personal way. By talking about policies.

So, no. No personal remarks or negative attacks from Mr Abbott.

This kind of nonsense is what passes for reporting on ‘your ABC.’

4. Impartiality
Principles: The ABC has a statutory duty to ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism. Impartial, accurate and fair coverage of news and information equips audiences to make up their own minds.

I guess they’re planning on starting that after the election.

No, Julia Gillard being strident and negative is not news. What is news is that an ABC correspondent says she is.

Even Julia seems to be admitting that she is now running a wholly negative campaign. She has to, you know, because things are tough.

John Styles at Australian Conservative nails the Labor strategy:

  • Lies: simply assert something about your opponent’s policies, or costings, without any basis in fact
  • Fake polling: Release “secret internal polling” in an effort to drive the media agenda
  • “Friday dumps”: Untrue “news” stories dropped into marginal seats on the day before the poll
  • Endless negativity: Claim you’re being positive but all you do is attack your opponent
  • Scare campaigns: Make up things about your opponent and his policies
  • Personal attacks: Relentlessly repeat that your opponent is a “risk”

This may work with some of the people, some of the time (hmm.. that sounds familiar).

But my suspicion is that people have had enough, and this latest bout of ranting about how horrible Tony Abbott is, and he will bring back Work Choices, and reduce the number of doctors, and ruin the environment, and goodness knows what other dreadful things he is planning because you can’t trust a word he says, will backfire.

Julia really does look and sound strident and negative and desperate. Maybe she’s beginning to wonder if people have realised she is the one who can’t be trusted, who is too big a risk.

I noted a couple of posts ago that on present costing, the price of the National Broadband Netwreck would be about $6000 per Australian household.

Everyone will pay for that through increased taxes, whether they use it or not. And that’s assuming (ha, ha, ha) that costs do not increase.

According to some experts, the planned $43 billion may end up being $8o billion, which brings the cost up to about $12,000 per household.

But even this is not the total price. I had overlooked the cost – anywhere between $750 and $3000 – of getting access points installed in the home.

So the total cost of the NBN could be anywhere up to $15,000 per household. And that’s before any monthly fees.

This is madness. $15,000 for an internet connection? 

No wonder the Labor party doesn’t want a business plan prepared.

How many dams, power stations, hospitals could be built with that money?

Madness.

PS

Stephen Conroy dismissed a prediction that as few as 16% of homes in Tasmania would take advantage of the NBN.

The take-up rate in Tasmania is effectively zero. So far a total of 70 homes connected.

iiNet CEO Michael Malone:

“A total of 70 customers have been signed up in Tasmania under the three brands – so that’s not 70 each but a total of 70 between iiNet, Internode and Primus,” he said. “Demand from our point of view is zero.”

“We’re not getting people calling us up to sign up.  We’ve got the customers that we have on there by calling them.  We’re identifying customers that are on our footprint, looking at those who’ll be better off with NBN products, so where they are going to get a higher speed at the same or more quota for the same price… we haven’t had any cases of people calling us up saying ‘I need to move across now; what do I have to do?’ It’s actually been driven by us.”

A few people I have spoken to over the last couple of weeks, people who are otherwise intelligent as far as I can tell, have told me they intend to vote for the Greens in the Senate.

When asked why, they usually respond by saying they think the Greens will do a better job of protecting the environment.

So I ask if they can tell me about any specific Greens policies.

‘No. Well, they’re in favour of the environment.’

‘OK. How do their specific policies differ from those of the Labor or Liberal parties?’

No answer.

The Greens win votes by making sure people don’t know about their policies. There’s just a general fluffy, let’s be nice to green things and furry things feel about them.

But there is nothing green or pleasantly furry about the Greens.

Just consider two Greens policies, one which will impact on everyone, and one which will impact on a few in real need.

First, the Greens have made it clear that if Labor depends on them, even occasionally, to get legislation through the Senate, the price of their co-operation will be a carbon tax.

A Carbon tax will have no positive effect on the environment.

Human activity has had a miniscule impact on the level of CO2 in the atmosphere – from about 3 particles per 10,000 to about 4 particles per 10,000.  And that is assuming we are to blame for all of that small increase over the last 100 years. But we don’t know. It really is just an assumption. CO2 levels change all the time. They have been much higher in the past, and sometimes lower.

Higher is good. During the Carboniferous period, when most modern trees evolved, temperatures were about the same as they are now. CO2 levels were three times higher than now. At current levels, trees and other green things are Carbon deprived. For plants, surviving at current levels of CO2 is like our surviving on Oxygen depleted air. Less CO2 means less green, not more.

More CO2 means better crops, and more resilience in forests and wetlands.

So a carbon tax is bad for the environment. It is also bad for industry, because it is a tax on energy, which means it is a tax on transport, manufacture, travel, power generation, etc, etc, etc.

Everything will be more expensive, for no point whatever.

This is what voting for the Greens means.

A second Greens policy is the closure of the Lucas Heights reactor.

I have mentioned this to a few people, and the response is always something like: ‘Well that’s OK. Good. We don’t need any nuclear reactors in Australia anyway.’ 

Actually we do. They are a cheap, clean, sustainable form of energy production that will reduce our dependence on coal and imported fuels. But that is not the immediate point.

The Lucas Heights reactor produces the isotopes required for nuclear medicine. Radiotherapy. Diagnosing and treating cancer.

1.5 million doses of nuclear medicine (radiotherapy) are administered in Australia every year.

If the Greens have their way on this, cancer patients in Australia will die because a basic modern form of treatment will not be available to them.

Know what you are voting for.

This is honestly one of the funniest things I have ever seen:

There was a time when, even though left leaning, The Age stood for clear reporting, and the best of liberal values, in the sense of being fair and open.

That has not been the case for many years.

The Age has become more and more rigidly dogmatic, biased in its ‘factual’ reporting of political matters, and resistant to the expression of alternative (conservative) views in its opinion pages.

So it is no surprise to see that in the last quarter, its circulation has fallen by 4.5%.

Other print dailies are also experiencing declines. Some of that decline is because of the growing use of internet news sources. Newspapers are expensive, and hard work by comparison.

But why is The Age suffering more than most?

I can only answer for myself. I used to buy it reasonably regularly. But I no longer do, for the same reason I now very rarely watch the ABC.

It is not that there are views expressed there I disagree with. I usually read the appalling Monthly, and the just as appalling Eureka Street. I want to know what people who see things differently from me are thinking, and I often learn from them. Those journals are often wrong, but they are generally honest.

It is rather that both The Age and the ABC claim to be news organisations, and claim to be balanced. They are neither. Both use creative editing to frame news stories to match their political agendas in ways that mislead or distort.

I don’t like that. I don’t like being lied to.

Two things need to happen to return the ABC and The Age to respectability, and to higher circulation, viewing, and reading figures.

First, there needs to be a real commitment to honest factual reporting.

This might include, for example, noting the claims of Julia Gillard’s minders that she was speaking ‘off the cuff’ at her campaign launch, and her own implication that this was so, and then reporting that this was not so, and questioning why Julia and her minders might wish to deceive the media and the public about this.

No, it’s not going to happen.

The second is that there needs to be room in both The Age and the ABC for expression of alternate views. The one-sided badgering of Liberal party politicians on the ABC, and the stacking of panels and audiences, is so common that an exception would be newsworthy. The Age has not one conservative columnist, and conservative opinions on the letters pages are so scarce as to be invisible.

This policy of exclusion doesn’t win votes, readers, watchers even amongst left wingers.

Most Labor voters I know are fair-minded people, and happy to hear and consider views other than their own. Being wrong doesn’t make them stupid.

So dear Age editors, if you need a conservative commentator, and you do, I am willing to consider offers.

A big group of scientists whose funding depends on continuing to scare people about climate change have produced a report saying climate change is scary.

This is news, apparently.

Older news is that Phil Jones still can’t find the data on which much of the warming warnings were based.

What Phil has admitted is:

  • There has been no statistically significant warming since 1995.
  • The world has been warmer before.
  • There was a period of warming from 1920 to 1940 which was not caused by human activity. And there have been lots of earlier periods of warming which were also entirely natural.

But Phil and the other scary scientists still insist the similar warming from 1975 to 1995 must, absolutely, really, have been caused by human activity and nothing else.

So please keep giving them billions of dollars or otherwise really horrible things will happen, like maybe Greenland being green again, and being able to grow grapes in Britain.

Right. Sure.

Based on comments by Engineer and Mick Davis on Andrew Bolt’s blog.

Labor’s Report Card

20/20 SummitFAIL

Millions of dollars of your money wasted. No ideas from summit implemented.

Aboriginal HousingFAIL

$300 million of your money spent, no houses built.

Grocery WatchFAIL

Millions of dollars of your money wasted, no outcome.

Fuel WatchFAIL

Millions of dollars of your money wasted, no outcome.

Private Health RebateFAIL

Core election promise broken, more taxpayers funds wasted.

Federal Takeover of Health ServicesFAIL

Core election promise broken, millions in taxpayer funds wasted, no result.

Super ClinicsFAIL

31 promised in 2007, 2 built at $6 million each (twice the estimated cost if built by private practitioners). More of your money wasted.

Mining TaxFAIL

First ‘back of the envelope’ plan would have sabotaged Australia’s key industries. Gillard’s revision unworkable. Budget figures including income from this tax now short billions of dollars.

‘Free’ Home Insulation – FAIL

$2.5 billion of your money wasted, 4 deaths, 200 house fires, another $1 billion to fix.

Solar Panel SchemeFAIL

Blow-out of $850 million on untested technology. Scheme scrapped, rebates discontinued, workers unemployed.

Foreign Relations – FAIL

Former positive relationships with Indonesia, East Timor, China, Israel, now confused or strained.

Green LoansFAIL

Program dumped after $175 million blow-out. No measureable outcomes. Auditors/inspectors unemployed.

Building the Education RevolutionFAIL

$18 billion of your money spent – $1000 from every Australian. No local consultation. Schools that needed gyms got libraries, schools that needed libraries got halls. Wholesale rorting, sub-standard buildings. Up to $8 billion wasted.

School ComputersFAIL

One billion dollars of your money blew out to $2.2 billion. Less than one third of promised computers delivered.

National Broadband NetworkFAIL

A $5 billion policy blows out to $43 billion. $6000 cost to every household in Australia, assuming costs do not double – which some experts claim they will. Virtually no services delivered. No advantage over existing cable or HFC technology.

Budget Control FAIL

$22 billion surplus turned into $58 billion deficit which tax payers will need to repay. Nearly $9000 per year per Australian household.

Debt FAIL

$40 billion left in the bank by the Liberals turned into $100 billion Labor debt in just three years. Labor’s spending spree continues to increase debt at 100 million dollars per day, rising to 120 million per day next year.

Border SecurityFAIL

Illegal arrivals 3 boats a year under Liberals, now approaching 3 boats per week. At least 170 aslylum seeker deaths at sea, plus nearly 300 missing and unaccounted for. Plan for a new detention centre in East Timor not even discussed with East Timorese government before being announced.

Climate PolicyFAIL

‘Great moral issue of our time.’ ‘Delay is denial.’ Action – NIL. No current policy. Hundreds of climate bureaucrats employed by Penny Wong with your money, doing nothing.

Would the Liberals have done any better?

Past action and results are the best predictor of future action and results.

The Liberals were elected in 1996.

Labor had left a debt of $96 billion. This was repaid.

When Labor was kicked out, unemployment was in double digits. Under the Liberals unemployment was reduced to its lowest in 30 years.

When Labor left, inflation was in double digits. Under the Liberals inflation was reduced to 3%.

Under the Liberals, interest rates were reduced to their lowest in 30 years.

The Liberals created the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to ensure bank security and reduce loan defaults, and avoided a US type economic crisis.

The Liberals invested $67 billion into a future fund, and ran consistent surplus budgets leaving Labor a $22 billion dollar surplus when they took over in 2007.

Labor debt – tax payer money borrowed and spent, which tax payers will need to repay – now stands at $100 billion – $5000 for every Australian.

On past experience – Yes. The Liberals will do better.

The early years of the coming decade will be the last few years of life for many Anglican parishes in the Western world.

Those parishes, some supported by legacies or property income, are home to the last of a generation which would already be gone if it were not for the extraordinary increase in life expectancy for ordinary men and women over the last 100 years.

It is a generation which has failed in its most fundamental calling – the call to pass on the faith to the next generation.

But then, why would a parishioner encourage his children to worship at an Anglican church, or invite her friends?

What inspiration or encouragement has there been in the liberal (in the worst sense of the word) agenda relentlessly imposed for the last forty years?

Or from bishops and other clergy outrightly denying the words of Christ and the teachings and example of the apostles, espousing every popular cause from women priests to gay marriage and global warming, but unable to talk about sin and forgiveness?

Or from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who cannot bring himself to suggest that sharing the Gospel with Muslims might be a good thing, but claims that sharia law is inevitable in Britain because some people ‘do not relate to the English legal system.’

Excuse me? Then why are they there?

But despite everything, the church is capable of taking a stand, and the church bells still ring out to call the faithful to action.

Sorry, what action?

To support the UN talks on bio-diversity. Of course.

Abraham Lincoln once asked how many legs a dog has if we call a tail a leg. The answer, he said, is four: calling a tail a leg does not make it so. We chuckle and move on. …

Today, marriages crumble, families are torn, society flounders. Why? We are not living in the truth. We accept a bad definition of marriage, acquiesce to almost any sexual arrangement, glorify the quest for sexual pleasure, treat children as a means to fulfill our desires. Overwhelmingly, research shows that rearing children in any other environment than with both their natural parents is damaging. Sometimes that damage is unavoidable, as when a parent dies, but we shouldn’t seek it. And it certainly won’t help to say the impossible is real.

We need the truth. We need to fix the legs. Calling a tail a leg only makes matters worse.

 A couple of quotes from A Marriage Tail, by Stephen J Heaney.

I really enjoyed Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy, starting with ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ and I really enjoyed the Swedish film version. It was well acted, perfectly paced, and captured the atmosphere of the book brilliantly.

So news that Hollywood is planning on remaking the three films does not thrill me with anticipation. Rooney Mara is too prettty, but make-up can do wonders.

But Daniel Craig (in my view the best Bond ever) as Mikael Blomkvist is definitely off, a Hollywoodish choice. Craig is tough, a charismatic and manly action figure. Blomkvist is not particularly physical, a plodding and doubt-filled investigative journalist.

Sigh. Of course, I will go to see it, or at least rent it from the video store.

Occasionally Hollywood does do a remake better than the original. The Ring films, for example. The Hollywood versions were scarier and more atmospheric, with a more coherent storyline.

But the Millenium trilogy? I am not hopeful.

Pages