I agree with you that giving kids a few days off school if they're really naughty is not a punishment, but I remember from my time at school here in the ACT that the "out of school" suspension was only used in extreme cases, and the "in school" suspension was used for most cases.
I remember a couple occasions in high school where I was given "in school suspension" for a day where I was placed in a small room for the day and was expected to still do any tests or other important assessment items that were due on that day. This was a fairly boring way to spend the day, although I did manage to entertain myself.
The out of school suspensions were usually reserved for cases where a teacher had a reason to consider that their safety was at risk. If memory serves, hitting a teacher was an automatic three days of out of school suspension with the possibility of the police being called.
I remember one occasion where I was accused of punching my English teacher, except that I had a classroom full of witnesses who saw that what happened was that the teacher lent over me as I was going to stand up and out heads clashed, resulting in her needing to go and see the dentist…the fact that she dragged me down the corridor after this probably helped my case a bit. In the end I just got a day of in school suspension for not obeying the directions of the teacher…but that's a whole other lengthy story which I might save for another day.
Perhaps one day you could have Rhonda on to talk about some of her more memorable moments as a teacher.
Anyway, on the so-called "sin taxes" on cigarettes and alcohol, I find it somewhat peculiar that they are linked to increases in inflation when the very act of putting the prices up adds to inflation. It seems a bit circular to me.
I was somewhat alarmed yesterday when the news about Shell closing a refinery came out, and the union official who spoke about it on the radio was going on about how the union doesn’t believe that the refinery needs to close, and the closure should therefore be stopped. I can understand unions being concerned for their members, but I think that sometimes that need to realise that businesses do not exist to employ people, rather they exist to make a profit and they employ people as a side-effect of that, so forcing a business to be less profitable is not in the interests of the members of unions.
In the case of the refinery which Shell plan to close, it is simply not competitive in the global marketplace now that Asian refineries are producing so much more oil than it is. As a result, Shell plan to change from refining oil at the Clyde refinery to processing imported refined oil at the facility. Some jobs will be lost, but far fewer jobs than would be lost if Shell was forced, as the unions seem to want, to continue to run the refinery at a loss. It should also be noted that Shell has:
repeated earlier comments that it would relocate as many workers as it could to other Shell operations.
So, Shell wants to keep as many of its already-trained and presumably loyal employees as is practical by using them for other functions within the company, doing things which actually are profitable and could result in even more employment in the future, as tends to happen in healthy, profitable businesses.
You’d never know that if you ask the unions though.
The AMWU claims 500 direct jobs are at stake, while a further 1700 could be lost in downstream industries like petrochemicals and plastics if the historic refinery is shut.
Nonsense. Shell will continue to refine oil elsewhere, as will other companies, and Shell will be replacing the no-longer-locally-refined oil with imported oil. Downstream industries will not be forced to sack people due to a lack of refined oil as there won’t be a lack of refined oil. As for Shell’s employees, as already stated, Shell will offer them employment elsewhere within the business, and any employee who does not work elsewhere within the company for whatever reason is free to find employment elsewhere, and you can be sure that some of Shell’s competitors will be interested in hiring trained people.
Sadly, the unions go on
[The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union NSW secretary Tim Ayres] said it was time for the NSW government to seek assurances from Shell about the potential impacts of the closure, such as in reducing competition, raising prices and disrupting oil supply in NSW.
“If I was in (Premier) Barry O’Farrell’s shoes, I’d really want to be assured that we’ve got certainty over fuel supply,” he said.
“We really think it’s a big test for the NSW government,” he said.
“They should be rolling up their sleeves, getting engaged with Shell and with industry, and making sure we’ve got a viable future for that site.”
(h/t NineMSN, again)
So they want the government to force Shell to keep the site open at a loss, so that a (imaginary) degradation in competition will not occur. Ignoring the fact that Shell will continue to put as much refined oil in to the market for a moment, how far does this plan by the unions extend? What happens if this refinery ends up costing so much that Shell Australia can no longer pay its bills and has to put everyone out of work…do we make the government force them to continue to operate and force their creditors to write-off the debt. Similar government interference in the United States has already led to a financial collapse in recent years.
No, what matters here is not whether the refinery “needs to close” as the unions would put it, but rather what Shell want to do in order to make a profit and continue to be able to employ people as a result. If Shell want to close it down, then so be it. If somebody else wants to buy the site (or some other site) and try their hand at competing, then so be it. It’s called the free market, and it works by allowing businesses the freedom to shape their businesses as they see fit, to prosper, and as a result to employ people. From time to time this results in some job losses, but it also results in more employment. The freer the market, the greater the levels of overall employment.
The unions may argue with this and think that having the government dictate terms of employment and operation to businesses is the way to go, but it has failed each and every time. If Union bosses were really interested in the needs of their members, they would focus on wage and condition claims, but instead it seems that the vast majority of people in the upper echelons of the unions are more interested in claiming a spot in a centralised government-run economy than in looking after their members…is it any wonder that with antics like this, people are leaving unions in droves?
And to that end, we should not be setting arbitrary dates to get out of war zones. Apart from anything else, when we enter a war, we have an obligation to the people we are trying to protect to not leave the place in a worse or more volatile state than when we entered, or to leave it in a state where there is a real and present danger of volatility.
Unfortunately, we appear to be set to do just that. In an exclusive in The Australian today, Amanda Hodge writes about the very real concerns of Oruzgan Governor Haji Omar Shirzad.
THE governor of Oruzgan has urged Australia to stay the course in the troubled Afghan province and consider extending its troops’ presence beyond the NATO-agreed December 2014 withdrawal date if security does not improve.
In an interview with The Australian in his compound in the provincial capital of Tarin Kowt, Governor Haji Omar Shirzad said he feared the impact of a premature troop withdrawal on the fragile security gains that have been made within the region.
“If there’s an early withdrawal of troops it will have a negative impact on the security situation,” said the self-styled anti-corruption crusader.
“I don’t want them (Australia) to set a certain time for the withdrawal of troops. It should depend on the security situation.
“If it improves within a year then maybe they can reduce the force here, but if security doesn’t improve after one, two, three years they should think about staying here for a longer period.”
While he is completely right that if we go ahead with this preposterous plan of leaving at a preset date, we will be leaving Afghanistan with a real and present danger of the people we are fighting against regaining power and making the lives of Afghanis highly dangerous and destabilising the country, which would be a serious neglect of our duty, I think we have another very important reason for staying…one of self interest, and this applies to our allies who are also seemingly willing to leave as well.
We (Australia and our allies) went in to Afghanistan to fight the forces which were responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks and various other atrocities. We went in there to protect our security and our interests, and the in the process ended up helping the innocent Afghan people. If we leave before the job is done, then we will be leaving Afghanistan in a position where the terrorists can regain power and regroup, and then launch more attacks on us with a renewed vigour and aggression.
Right now we have the terrorists on the run for the most part. We should be proud of this and should use this to our advantage to finish the job. Unfortunately it seems that our elected leaders in parliament are more afraid of some bad press than of the long-term consequences of not finishing the job, and are willing to leave the job unfinished because, in a war zone, people have died. Rather than giving our fallen soldiers the dignity they deserve by having the courage to finish the job they started, our politicans are suffering from media-induced cowardice, and the worst part of this is that they are suffering from this at a time when we are gaining the upper hand, and having to enter some more dangerous situations to eliminate the harder to reach elements.
The point of going to war is to win, and you don’t win by telling the other side when you are going to leave. You also don’t win by quitting when the job is not finished…and when you effectively give up as our politicians seem to be willing to do, you create a dangerous situation for the people in the area, and set your own country up for great problems and damage down the track.
We must stay, for our sake, and that of our allies and the Afghan people.
The bit which I find interesting is that police also allege that this man was responsible for the attack which brought down Distribute.IT, a wholesale service provider of website hosting, domain names and the like. Distribute.IT was a fairly large player in the Australian market, providing wholesale services to many of the other players in the market.
The attack on Distribute.IT resulted in the total loss of somewhere in the order of 4,000 websites and chaos for the owners of many thousands of domain names, not to mention the retail service providers who had to deal with the fallout from it all. For .au domains, the chaos was slightly more contained as core systems (not run by Distribute.IT) which allow for the domains to be transferred to other providers continued to work, however for non .au domains, such actions were not possible and thousands upon thousands of domains were left in limbo…still operating to the extent of allowing traffic to be directed to appropriate servers, but unable to be managed in any way by their owners, and unable to be renewed if they were due to expire, which some did.
Eventually another provider, NetRegistry, bought Distribute.IT’s assets without any of their liabilities and set about restoring the horribly compromised Distribute.IT systems to some form of functionality before moving customers across to their own systems. While debate rages about whether NetRegistry’s move was the best possible outcome (moves were afoot by authoritative bodies within the industry to dissolve Distribute.IT’s domain registrar accreditation which may have resulted in people being able to move their domains to other providers more easily, but could also have been very messy) and I don’t propose to try and decide which option would have been better, what I can say is that the full functionality of the management side of the affected domains has still not been restored, and that this hacking has resulted in many thousands of hours of lost productivity throughout the Australian internet services industry and in other industries which rely on it, such as businesses with online stores.
I think that this is a much bigger and more interesting story than an intrusion in to the systems of a company which happens to have an agreement with NBN Co. and am somewhat disappointed that it won’t get anywhere near the amount of coverage, although I suppose when it is all added together and you take in to account the fact that the man who police allege is responsible for it all has no formal qualifications in IT whatsoever, it does go to show what many people in the IT industry have been saying for a very long time. Experience trumps qualifications every time.
Yesterday morning I went along to the National Press Club to see Czech President Vaclav Klaus’ address on the subjects of climate change as well as socialism, communism and the like. When I arrived, I was a tad early, so I was directed to the club’s lounge where I had a cup of coffee and was pleasantly surprised to find that Lord Monckton was in the room, however he was busily engaged in conversation so I did not interrupt, although I was fortunate enough to say hello to him and have a quick chat with him when he opened himself up to the handful of people in the room who wished to say hello.
After this, I went downstairs and found that for some peculiar reason I was registered on two tables, eight and nine. I forget which table I ended up sitting at, however I had a very pleasant conversation with the other people at the table. The club provided barramundi for lunch and then the speech began.
President Klaus made it quite clear that he was no in the country to advise the government, but rather to offer up his own views based on his own experiences and observations.
On the subject of climate change, President Klaus spoke at some length about how he sees no real evidence of the changes in the climate being unusual, extreme or dangerous, and that to the same extent he sees attempts to control the climate as futile, and from an economic perspective considers adaptation to any changes to be the more prudent approach, and one that has worked well for us for a very long time.
President Klaus also recounted some of his observations from his time within the former communist state of Czechoslovakia, including some of the difficulties he encountered being a believer in the free market in such a state. He also, while making clear that he does not believe that the global warming agenda is a socialist plot (he did mention at one stage that he simply does not believe in conspiracy theories), noted that he sees many similarities between the actions of those who claim that global warming is a problem and have a solution, and the actions of the socialist leaders, and this worries him greatly.
After his address, during the period of time dedicated to questions from the media, President Klaus was asked about his views on the policies of our current government and opposition. Having already made it clear that he sees carbon trading as a pointless and economically destructive idea, he focused on the Coalition’s “direct action” policy which he said was slightly better than carbon trading because it was a more tangible idea and easier to account for, but that he still regarded it as a “crazy” idea, something which those of us in the room who believe that the Coalition really wouldn’t do anything about climate change took some comfort in.
After all of this, the Press Club presented him with their usual gift, a bottle of wine and a pen, which caused some amusement within the room due to an incident which occurred in Chile earlier this year where he was caught on video pocketing a pen during an official visit and was widely accused of theft in the international media, however both he and the Chilean President deny that there was any theft and instead say that the pen was a gift to President Klaus.
I thoroughly enjoyed the address and the company of the various people that I met, and found President Klaus’ address to be quite illuminating, and I’m very glad that I went in person and did not merely watch on television.
That said, it is good that it was televised as this allows me to share the video of the event with you in the hope that you will also find it quite interesting.
I’ll have more to say about President Klaus’ address to the National Press Club tonight after I have rewatched it, however I do need to set the record straight on The Australian’s first attempt at an article on the subject.
The majority of the story is accurate, however the end is quite misleading. The article ends thusly:
He was more upbeat about the merits of Coalition’s direct action policy.
“I would say that, in some respect, I would be in favour of direct action,” he said.
“Direct action is visible, understandable and probably people can more easily discuss the cost benefits of such measures.”
This, sadly, is a misrepresentation. Yes, it’s a direct quote, but the context is missing as President Klaus was not “upbeat” about the Coalition’s “Direct Action” policy, in face he went on to call it “crazy” and stated quite clearly that he is opposed to any of the current government or opposition policies on dealing with climate change. As noted elsewhere in the article, he stated that trying to fight the climate is futile, and adaptation is the better approach.
This first attempt was from Joe Kelly and with the exception of the noted problem, was a good article. I don’t know if Mr. Kelly was there or not, but I do know that Christian Kerr from The Australian was there and asked a couple pertinent questions, so I look forward to Mr. Kerr’s article which I trust will be a more full and frank account of the address.
To answer the question about how solar panels work, the quick and simple version is that they convert light energy in to electrical energy. It is not based on heat or UV rays, although heat can affect the efficiency of the conversion.
That said, before solar panels which created electricity, there were solar panels which used the heat of the direct sunlight to heat water. In Braddon until recently, a nice elderly couple had the oldest solar hot water heater in Canberra. The solar panel was out in the front yard and water was pumped through it for heating. They eventually replaced it due to issues with the hot water tank which was based in the roof space.
A funny story about that couple. They live across the road from the editor of the Canberra Times. In the late 1990s the editor got a new dog which would regularly explore the suburb (it was a nice friendly, but large, dog…the name escapes me) and one of its favourite past-times was stealing the newspaper of the elderly couple and chewing it up.
Every time this happened, the elderly couple would ring the Canberra Times and request a new paper…The CT would usually say that they don’t replace papers chewed up by dogs, until they were informed that the editor’s dog had done the damage, and they would replace the paper with no further questions within the hour. Eventually it got to the point that the couple would merely need to ring the CT and a the people there would just assume that the dog had been at it again and promptly send a man around with a replacement paper.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing the Czech President, Mr. Vaclav Klaus at the Press Club today. I believe it is being televised, but I’m eager enough to hear his views against the global warming nonsense and socialism that I’ve paid to be there.
Have a good day Mike.
(in the fortified bunker of work again)
An email which I sent to 2UE’s Mike Jeffreys a little bit after 1am
Good morning Mike,
I’ve been following the US debt talks with some interest and have found Obama’s fearmongering and unwillingness to do anything useful quite frustrating.
I forget the exact figures, but as I understand it, if the debt limit is not raised and the US government has to rely on incoming funds from taxes etc, then they would not have to default as they would have enough funds to keep up their debt repayments, pay the social security and Medicare bills, plus the military payroll, and might have a couple spare cents left over.
Obama (and his colleagues, the detestable Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader in particular) has been going on and on about how if the debt limit isn’t raised, the social security and Medicare bills won’t be paid, which is a blatant lie and pure fearmongering.
He has also been trotting out the familiar line about millionaires not paying enough tax which is even sillier because even if the US government was to seize the entire income of millionaires, they would still have a massive budgetary imbalance.
The problem is overzealous spending by the government. The Republicans passed a “cut, cap and balance” plan in the House of Representatives which would have cut wasteful spending programs, capped the government’s spending at a percentage of GDP and would also have required a vote on a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to have a balanced budget like the majority of state and local governments, and would have raised the debt limit to give the government time to implement the plan. Not surprisingly, the Democrats blocked it in the Senate because they’re addicted to big government and spending.
I’m hopeful that something similar to cut, cap and balance does get passed as merely raising the debt limit will just push the problem further down the road when it’s harder to fix, and raising taxes will just further slow any economic recovery.
Have a wonderful day Mike.
From the fortified bunker of work, Canberra
Then public transport costs wouldn’t go up, and would probably go down.
COMMUTERS could be hit with public transport fare increases of up to $150 a year when the carbon tax kicks in, confidential state government figures show.
the NSW Treasury estimated that the potential fare rises for all modes of public transport in NSW alone – due to increased electricity costs for trains and fuel costs for buses and ferries – could be expected at an average 3.4 per cent.
[NSW Premier Barry] O’Farrell said yesterday it was “crazy” that public transport would be hit by the tax when petrol for cars would be exempt: “This will create more pollution and defeat the whole purpose of a carbon tax.
“The federal government is crazy if it thinks this tax is going to reduce carbon emissions when it will lead to higher public transport fares and create an incentive for people to use their cars.”
Precisely Barry. We get told that car drivers are evil and public transport users are saints, and yet it’s those “saints” who pay a bigger share of the tax, which will be more likely to encourage them to drive than to stay on the trains and the buses and the ferries.
I keep saying it. This tax has less to do with climate change and more to do with social change, even economic change.
This one was plastered all over the media a few weeks ago, but it amused me greatly at the time and it seems timely, so I’ll give it a run.
I’m sure that it would come as no surprise to regular (and even infrequent) readers of this blog that I am not a fan of Lady Gaga. I’m sure that there’s some talent there, but the act just doesn’t interest me. It is, however, virtually impossible to escape the media coverage of her tours, and she was in Sydney yesterday, so it reminded me of this little gem which popped up a few weeks ago. Weird Al Yankovic put together a rather clever and amusing parody of one of Lady Gaga’s songs, and also of her act. It amused me, and I hope it amuses you.
I’ll get back to the literal music videos next week. I think I still have one or two of them to share with you.
I have been quietly amused by the name “Greenpeace” for some time now as I rarely ever hear about them doing something peaceful. Yesterday was no exception.
Around 9:30am today (Thursday, 14 July), ACT Policing received a formal request from the CSIRO to investigate the destruction of a wheat crop. It is believed that entry was gained to the premises through a perimeter fence.
As much of the media reported yesterday, the crop in question was an experimental genetically modified crop, and Greenpeace quite proudly posted a video on the Internet of their operatives destroying the crop with whippersnippers. Greenpeace even provided a spokesperson to the media to go on and on about the supposed dangers of these crops if they were to be let loose in the wild, and also some conspiracy theory about a CSIRO plot to use the crops in bread products so that they could test them on humans.
Well I don’t know what this mob were smoking (the crop perhaps?) but there clearly wasn’t much thinking happening.
If the crops are potentially dangerous if released, then they’re not going to do anyone any harm while they’re locked away in a greenhouse. Strike one.
Using whippersnippers on the crop will make some of it airbourne, meaning that the next time the door to the greenhouse is opened (I wonder if they left it open during the destruction) there is a chance that the airbourne bits could escape and do all of that potentially dangerous stuff which Greenpeace are worried about. Strike two.
The experimental crop will be used in bread so that it can be tested on the general population??? Guys, stop smoking whatever it is that you’re smoking, because if you keep going down this path you’ll fine yourselves in padded cells where doctors will be asking you if the television and the radio talk to you. Strike three.
And I thought the CSIRO was Greenpeace’s favourite government body, what with all of the global warming doom that it preaches. Why threaten the friendship? Strike four.
Away from Greenpeace, and I was also disturbed to find out that Shane Rattenbury, one of the Greens MLAs in the ACT Legislative Assembly, got on the local communist ABC station to praise Greenpeace’s actions. Shane, it was an illegal act. Would you like it if somebody found it abhorrent that you grow flowers in your garden and decided to break in to your property and take a whippersnipper to your flowers? It’s the same thing.
Now Shane, I understand that you’re opposed to GM crops. That’s fine…but surely the better thing for you, as an MLA, to do is to introduce legislation banning GM crops rather than condoning illegal activity. I wouldn’t support such a bill, as I think research in to GM crops is a good thing which could, if safe methods can be found and proven, end world hunger, and will can only reach that point through research…but I would at least support your right to try to ban GM research through legislative means rather than anarchic means.
In the meantime, I hope that these Greenpeace loons get the full force of the law thrown at them, especially those lovely provisions about trespassing on Commonwealth property.
A $23 per tonne price on carbon dioxide emissions which will raise less money than the government is promising to spend in compensation for the price increases which this tax will cause (which leaves less than nothing to spend on the stated aim of “fixing the climate”). In fact, over four years, the compensation will cost the government $4.3 billion more than what the tax will raise. The last giant scheme which cost more than what it raised was the solar feed-in scheme where people were paid more than the retail price of electricity for the power which they generated from their solar panels. Not surprisingly, that plan had to eventually cut costs, and the compensation was where the cut was made…the same thing will happen here. Do not believe that you will be better off under the carbon dioxide tax. 20 cents per week will be reduced, and you will be worse off in the long run.
Industries will pass the cost of the carbon tax on to you. Even if the government compensates you for this, this will cause inflation. If the tax’s compensation then rises to meet this cost, then either the carbon tax has to go up to cover this cost which causes prices to go up which causes more inflation, and we enter a deadly cycle which will destroy our economy, or some other tax has to go up resulting is less money for consumers to spend which will result in less sales, less jobs, and even more economic turmoil.
And if you believe that you will be better off under this tax, consider this. Julia Gillard has admitted that a dual income household earning $120,000 per year (that’s an average of $60k each, it’s a fairly typical household) with a teenage child (read: receiving some extra benefits from the government) will be $375 per year worse off, or $7.20 per week. Just think how much more worse off they would be without the government benefits for the child, a situation which is fairly common among young couples. Perhaps one of them will work less so that they get more carbon tax compensation.
This is a convoluted version of socialism. Socialism denies people the opportunity to make something of themselves by disincentivising success and incentivising reliance on the government by taking from people who earn a living and giving to people who don’t. It fails everywhere it is tried because people learn that there is no need for them to do any work if the government will provide for them, and then eventually not enough people are producing for the needs of the population, and the scheme collapses.
The big question for me is, if, by the government’s own admission, this tax will not affect the climate, why bother having it at all? One can’t help but believe that this has nothing to do with climate change, and everything to do with social change.
Without being melodramatic, this tax will ruin this country. We must fight it. We must make all members of parliament aware that we will not support them if they support this tax. We must cause the repeal of this hideous and destructive assault on our country.
I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better this morning. I was a bit worried last week when you had some time off because you were unwell.
You asked at the start of the show whether I would prefer Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull as leader of the Liberal Party. That is a very simple question to answer. Tony Abbott. I think Tony is doing a very good job as leader, and the polls are a testament to that. It is important to remember that when Mr. Turnbull was the leader of the Liberal Party, the polls showed that they were on the verge of being wiped out, and it was only after Tony Abbott took over as leader and took the party in a very different direction that they recovered and even surged in the polls.
Tony is also a closer match to my personal views than Malcolm Turnbull is. My biggest issue with Mr. Turnbull is that he supports an emissions trading scheme, something which I vehemently oppose.
I would be more than happy to have Malcolm Turnbull in the cabinet as I'm sure that he has plenty to offer, but I don't think I could vote for the Liberal Party if he was the leader.
Anyway, a belated happy new financial year to you. I hope to be able to give you a call tomorrow night and hear all about your recent holiday.