Friday 14th of June 2024

rattus fritters .....

rattus fritters .....

from Crikey .....

Alex Mitchell writes

Liberal federal Cabinet ministers, backbenchers and hard-heads in the Liberal Party organisation were dismayed and annoyed by the pathetic performance of Treasurer Peter Costello in yesterday's live debate with Labor’s shadow Treasurer Wayne Swan.  

All the pre-debate predictions were that Costello would demolish the lightweight Queenslander who has been Treasury spokesman for a mere 10 months. With more than 11 years as Treasurer and producing 11 federal budgets, Costello entered the contest with formidable qualifications to take Swan apart on all the big economic issues. Instead, he vacillated, prevaricated, droned on and did the smarty pants routine for which he is notorious.  

Channel Nine’s worm gave the debate to Swan 56-38. This did not stop Laurie Oakes from disowning the official result delivered by 50 randomly selected swinging voters and calling the debate a draw. The ABC’s Michael Brissenden failed to mention the official 56-38 result and chose to inform 7.30 Report viewers it had been a draw also.  

Even if you ignore the worm’s emphatic result, and accept the Oakes-Brissenden call, that amounts to a crushing verdict on Costello’s performance. Called upon to reinforce the government’s major re-election platform – safe handling of the economy – the heir apparent to the prime ministership couldn’t lay a glove on Swan whose previous role before becoming shadow treasurer was shadow minister for family and community services (1998-2004).  

Already the Costello worshippers in the media are sweeping the debate under the carpet and trying to pretend it never happened. But the damage has been done: Costello has let down the Coalition at a critical stage in its re-election campaign with a waffling, know-it-all, out-of-touch performance. It will weigh on the minds of Liberal MPs when they come to choose a replacement for John Howard.  

One Liberal will, of course, be enjoying Costello’s lacklustre result in the debate - Malcolm Turnbull. But before he can step up to the Liberal leadership contest he has to persuade the voters of Wentworth to re-elect him.

Spending the savings...

UK energy savings 'miscalculated'

Energy savings in UK households could be up to 30% lower than previously thought, jeopardising efforts to cut the nation's carbon dioxide emissions.

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) blamed the miscalculation on "rebound effects" from energy-saving measures.

As people cut their bills by using more efficient devices, they tend to spend the extra money buying additional goods that cancel out some of the savings.

The government has set a binding target of cutting CO2 levels by 60% by 2050.

The UKERC's research director, Jim Skea, said the introduction of the legally binding CO2 target in the Climate Change Bill increased the need for accurate measurements.

Buying a black hole...

Rates hike looms after spending surge

Economists say today's stronger than expected retail figures reinforces the case for a interest rate rise next week.

Australian retail sales increased 0.8 per cent in September with shoppers spending $19.86 billion during the month.

The figure has caused retail sales to surge by almost 2 per cent in the three months to September.

Macquarie Bank senior economist Brian Redican says previous rate rises have not dampened spending.

"With retail sales growth now above 8 per cent it does indicate Australians have an awful lot of money to spend there and they are willing to do that," he said.

Mr Redican says the higher than expected figures will place pressure on the Reserve Bank to increase rates next week and in early 2008.

In other news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics says Australia's trade deficit widened to $1.86 billion in September.

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Gus: sorry. It should have said "deepened" rather than "widened"... Party, party, party... Spend spend spend... Put it on the plastic and buy a black hole...

Get rid of John Howard...

climate alla Johnnee...

US takes first step towards climate change law

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Thursday November 1, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

America today took a first small step towards mandatory controls on green house gas emissions, in direct opposition to the Bush administration's policy on climate change.

Today's vote in a Senate subcommittee marks America's first move towards the direction of European-style cap and trade policies.

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Gus: At least the senate in the US is working towards shunting the little runt at the White House... I wish our senate and our MPs would do the same to our Porkyist Johnnee...

But he might not be there for too long now... Three weeks to go. Be aware, as the master of spruiking, Johnnee might still pull a rabbit the size of a kangaroo out of his hat before then... Hold fast and kick the little liar out.