Thursday 24th of April 2014

Recent Comments

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-04-24 20:57

 

‘The new role of secretary will have wider responsibilities, serving three ministers (planning, environment and heritage and local government), and will be filled through a competitive merit selection process.

‘The government thanks the former director-general, Mr Sam Haddad, for his sustained and substantial long-term service to the state.”

The opposition's planning spokesman, Luke Foley, said Mr Haddad had become a scapegoat for the government's failure to pass its planning bill.

"Meanwhile, Brad Hazzard moves on to become the state's Attorney-General despite the unmitigated disaster of his attempt to deliver the state a new planning act," Mr Foley said.

"I don't think the public servant should have to pay the price for what was a political shambles."

The environment portfolio has existed inside the Department of Premier and Cabinet since the O'Farrell government abolished the Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water soon after it came to power in 2011.

Mr Foley said the new department structure meant "any voice for environmental protection will be muzzled by the government's 'development at all costs' mindset when it comes to planning policy.

"There should be a stand-alone environment department so that there can be a robust voice within the NSW government for environmental protection," he said.

It was a view echoed by Greens MP John Kaye, who nonetheless said there would be communities celebrating the departure of Mr Haddad.

''Our concern is that Pru Goward will use this opportunity to make the office of the secretary compliant to her will,'' he said.

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-04-24 20:46

This is a story about bad timing.

One of the most disturbing ways that climate change is already playing out is through what ecologists call "mismatch" or "mistiming." This is the process whereby warming causes animals to fall out of step with a critical food source, particularly at breeding times, when a failure to find enough food can lead to rapid population losses.

The migration patterns of many songbird species, for instance, have evolved over millennia so that eggs hatch precisely when food sources such as caterpillars are at their most abundant, providing parents with ample nourishment for their hungry young. But because spring now often arrives early, the caterpillars are hatching earlier too, which means that in some areas they are less plentiful when the chicks hatch, with a number of possible long-term impacts on survival.

Similarly, in West Greenland, caribou are arriving at their calving grounds only to find themselves out of sync with the forage plants they have relied on for thousands of years, now growing earlier thanks to rising temperatures. That is leaving female caribou with less energy for lactation, reproduction and feeding their young, a mismatch that has been linked to sharp decreases in calf births and survival rates. 

Scientists are studying cases of climate-related mistiming among dozens of species, from Arctic terns to pied flycatchers. But there is one important species they are missing – us. Homo sapiens. We too are suffering from a terrible case of climate-related mistiming, albeit in a cultural-historical, rather than a biological, sense. Our problem is that the climate crisis hatched in our laps at a moment in history when political and social conditions were uniquely hostile to a problem of this nature and magnitude – that moment being the tail end of the go-go 80s, the blast-off point for the crusade to spread deregulated capitalism around the world. Climate change is a collective problem demanding collective action the likes of which humanity has never actually accomplished. Yet it entered mainstream consciousness in the midst of an ideological war being waged on the very idea of the collective sphere.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/23/climate-change-fight-of-our-lives-naomi-klein

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-04-24 20:27

 

The state opposition has warned of a "law and order auction" after the Baird government axed the department of the Attorney-General and brought it under the control of the police minister.

Under a shake-up of departments by new Premier Mike Baird, announced on Wednesday, the Department of Attorney-General and Justice has been replaced with the Department of Police and Justice.

The department is headed by Police Minister Mike Gallacher, who is more senior in the hierarchy of ministers than new Attorney-General Brad Hazzard, formerly the planning minister.

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-04-24 20:02

The land set aside to offset the rare forest being bulldozed for the Maules Creek coal mine in NSW has been shown to be totally wrong, but Whitehaven Coal couldn’t care less. Lachlan Barkerreports.

NORTH-WEST OF TAMWORTH, in the rural belt of NSW, a David and Goliath battle is on.

Big Coal, represented by Whitehavenand Idimetsu Kosan, with the backing of The Minister for Making a Lot of Money out of Coal, Greg Hunt, are desperate to destroy a unique piece of ecology in the quest for coal profit.

Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine is located within the Leard Forest and theLeard Forest is what the coal company seeks to destroy.

There are four mines in play: Maules CreekTarrawongaBoggabri, and nearbyGoonbri.

Local ecologist Phil Spark says that in the end the companies wish to bulldoze 3,400 hectares in and around Leard Forest to allow mining activities.

This is bad enough ‒ sheer destruction for profit ‒ but what’s worse, the “offset” for these mines is totally and utterly bogus.

Let's start with offsetting — what is it?

Offsetting is a procedure that anyone ‒ be it a company or private landholder ‒ has to go through if they wish to destroy a piece of ecology.

So if you wish, say, to build a new housing development and have to bulldoze a 50 hectare stand of tree 'X', then to "offset" it, you will have to find another 50 hectare stand of the same type of tree, and preserve that.

And the law of offsetting is the nub of the furore over Leard Forest.

Within Leard Forest are the last large stands White Box Gum Grassy Woodland, in good order, on Earth.

Local ecologist Wendy Hawes described it to me as:

"… the last of the last.”

To do the bulldozing for Maules Creek, Whitehaven are required to find another 554 hectares of White Box Gum Grassy Woodland, in good order, and preserve that.

But, these days, with the amount of damage we have done to this continent, finding a matching bit of ecosystem is becoming increasingly difficult.

And in the case of Leard Forest — impossible.

http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/the-maules-creek-coal-mine-ecological-disaster,6413

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-04-24 19:56

 

Barry O'Keefe, a former New South Wales Supreme Court judge and commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), has died.

In a long legal career, Mr O'Keefe served as chief judge of the Commercial Division of the NSW Supreme Court, an additional judge of the Court of Appeal, and as a judge of the Common Law Division and the Court of Criminal Appeal. 

Before his appointment to the bench, he acted for the Federal and NSW governments in a number of leading cases, and also for Her Majesty's Crown Agents in the United Kingdom.

He served as ICAC commissioner from 1994 to 1999.

In 2012, he was made chairman of the Truth Justice and Healing Council to coordinate the response of bishops and church leaders to the child abuse Royal Commission.

----------------

Of course Barry was also the brother of Johnny O'Keefe... And was the mayor of Mosman, on... Sydney North Shore... Though a fellow on the liberal side of politics, Barry was far more honourable that all the other pollies that breed on that northern side of the harbour — including our own Tony Detritus who lies like you breathe...

I met Barry in the 1970s... I also met Neville Wran in the 1970s when he was Premier of NSW... I never asked for anything. Bugger. Wran was a tough, clever and direct man. I believe Barry O'Keefe was too. 

 

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-24/former-supreme-court-judge-barry-o27keefe-dies/5410400

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-04-24 19:35

After having planted ONE tree in Canberra, the royal couple, bless them, flew off... At last! Gone! And his little royal male highness of course patronised us by saying something to the effect that Aussieland "was a Lucky country but would be luckier if we worked harder" echoing the rightwingnut mantra of "work till you die" as pushed by a lazy-butt Joe.. I say lazy because EVEN IF HE WORKS HARD to make budget night as dull as a pack of tacks upon which he wants you to sit, HE PICKS THE EASY OPTIONS which are basically to hit you on the head rather than hit his rich friends...

Get a real life, you lucky royal bastard who has been born as a future whatever they call those who sit on a throne stolen from proper democracy.... Now the little royals are having a cuddle in the Solomons Island Incognito apart from the entourage.

 

The Solomon Islands have had recent earthquakes and floods of the never seen before kind... There is a flood relief appeal somewhere...

 

Gus Leonisky

Your local republican expert...

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-04-24 19:13

 

The first contingent of US troops has landed in Poland for military exercises amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

An initial 150 soldiers are to be followed by a further 450 within days.

US President Barack Obama has warned Russia it faces new sanctions if it refuses to implement an agreement to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine.

Reports are coming in of violent incidents overnight between pro-Russian militants and Ukrainian forces in Mariupol and Artemivsk.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27136276

 

Meanwhile the US attack the Russia for moving troops WITHIN ITS OWN TERRITORY!

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-04-24 17:44

The renewable energy industry has labelled a controversial Abbott government review an “unprecedented scam” and a “stitch-up” after learning that it was conducting electricity industry modelling on the assumption there would be no risk or cost to investments in coal-fired power stations in the next few decades.

The review of the renewable energy target – headed by veteran businessman and self-professed climate sceptic Dick Warburton – and its modellers from ACIL Allen consulting held a workshop with industry participants on Wednesday at which they revealed the modelling would assume investors in fossil fuel generation would not need to factor in any risk due to climate policies for decades – neither a carbon price, nor a requirement to invest in emission-reducing technologies, nor any cost from any other government policy or regulation.

Many of the 50 participants said this assumption was entirely unrealistic.

John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council, said it made the whole review a farce.

“This is an absolute stitch-up. They are predetermining the outcome of this modelling by the assumptions they are making … it is an unprecedented scam in policy-making and it needs to be called for what it is,” Grimes told Guardian Australia.

“It is clear that the RET review report will protect the vested interests in the current electricity market.”

Grimes said that any model that ignored international action on climate change and failed to consider a carbon price up to 2030 “lacks any credibility”.

Ric Brazzale, managing director of Green Energy Trading, said it was “ridiculous to assume you can increase greenhouse emissions for decades with no kind of cost or risk at all”.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/24/coalitions-renewable-energy-review-unprecedented-scam

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2014-04-24 17:37

The Joint Strike Fighter is "flying dog meat", writes Sydney bureau chief and military buff Ross Jones, and anyone who goes near this lemon has rocks in their heads. 

Anyone who goes near the Joint Strike Fighter has rocks in their heads.

It’s the Liberals, I rest my case.

These things aren’t going to keep us safe from anybody. The word Joint in the JSF of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II means just that. Not single strike fighter — a joint strike fighter. It needs another aircraft to protect its lumbering airframe, packed to the gunwhales with 8 million code lines of stuff — too slow to turn and too slow to run.

Put these things up against a new Russian Sukhoi or a Chinese Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle without air cover and they’re toast.

It's like no-one recalls the Fokker Scourge of 1915.

And all that packing in of equipment fills its porcine airframe so there is absolutely no room for development; what you see is what you get for yonks.

Remember the Zero?

It cut allied aircraft to bits in the first few years of the war, especially the stupendously stupid Boomerang, manufactured by the Commonweath Aircraft Factory and completely outclassed from the off.

 

Read more: http://www.independentaustralia.net/article-display/the-joint-strike-fighter-purchase-someone-must-have-been-smoking-one,6412

 

Meanwhile at lib/labor apology central, the ABC Drum some called Andrew Porter , former advisor to Prime Ministers, says the contrary: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-24/porter-jet-order-no-flight-of-fancy-theyre-worth-it/5408346

Overall Andrew Porter's exposé is brilliant political gobbledegook alla former advisor sauce... He does not really explain why we need those planes which are touted as the best of the best only WHEN THEY SHALL BE WORKING. Presently, they are not working well. They have too many bugs and the design is trying too hard. Try do do a loop-de-loop at mach 2.2 and the plane will fall apart.

One to one combat in the air is also a thing of the past. A bunch of well targeted missiles could get rid of 24 of these planes, while the others would be in the workshop for trouble shooting and spare parts alignment. 

My guess is that we need these planes like "papier-maché" submarines.

 

by John Richardson on Thu, 2014-04-24 17:28

from Politicoz …..

Joe Hockey continued his pre-budget softening-up exercise with his speech at an event for the conservative magazine Spectator Australia yesterday. It went largely as expected. Australia's finances are unsustainable, he said, and the government is committed to repairing them.

On his list of 'Large and Fast Growing Programmes' he singled out the aged pension (1st), aged care (8th) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (10th) as increasing faster than the economy is growing.

But he didn't mention defence spending, which is 2nd on that list and which is also increasing faster than GDP growth. Nor did he mention that the government's Direct Action climate policy was outside the terms of reference of his Commission of Audit, whose 900-page report is to be publicly released next week.

Also outside the Commission's ambit was Australia's extraordinary system of tax concessions to its wealthiest residents, the highest among developed nations relative to GDP. Superannuation tax concessions, for instance, are growing even faster than the aged pension despite costing the budget about the same amount.

The government has the burden of showing why it intends to cut spending without addressing tax concessions. It hasn't discharged it yet. Perhaps it will on 13 May.