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Miscellaneous comments from 18 March 2013

Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 4 December 2012 can be found here.
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Comments closed on this page. Please add further comments here. - Ed, 1 May 2013.

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66 per cent of French have said that they are in favour of ceasing child benefits, at least for anyone with an income above a certain level. Benefits amount to 15 billion euros per annum for the nation and start with the second child only.

In 1973 the French birth rate dropped and the immigration rate was cut in response to the oil shock.

We can expect this to happen again, as the US borrows but forces austerity measures on everyone else.
Source: France2 Infos, 2000hs http://www.france2.fr/jt/20h/17-03-2013

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86 elephants -- 33 of them pregnant females -- have been gunned down by poachers in the Central African country of Chad.

The ivory tusks have been hacked out and stolen. The ivory will be sold on the black market, and then eventually carved into products nobody needs.

Entire elephant families - even the pregnant mothers brutally killed...to make ivory trinkets?

The price of ivory has passed $2,000 a kilogramme on Asia's black market, according to non-government groups [EPA]

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a written statement on Tuesday that about 50 Arabic-speaking poachers on horseback carried out the mass killing of the elephants last week. Bas Huijbregts, head of WWF's campaign against illegal wildlife trade in the region, said the Chadian army was sent to stop the poachers.

Activists say it is the worst killing spree since early 2012 when poachers killed as many as many as 650 elephants in a matter of weeks in Cameroon's Bouba Ndjida National Park.

"Ivory consuming nations – notably China – have to make a concerted effort to reduce the demand for ivory in their own backyards. Otherwise, the battle to save elephants will be lost," said Jason Bell of IFAW.

China's economic growth has some very dark and inhumane aspects, and comes at great cost to the world's declining species, including mega-fauna.

THE Australian population is set to reach 23 million in just four weeks, due primarily to an immigrant arriving every two minutes and 20 seconds.

The 23 millionth person is more likely to be a migrant than a new baby, experts estimate. Our politically engineered population growth rate has reached new dizzy limits, on the wave of political correctness and fear of an "ageing population". Ponzi demographics is the new economy, creating fear of the costs of aged care and pensions.

Our governments are participating in a growth-fest, to increase the size of our economy to match those of our neighboring Asian countries. It's a chance to be more competitive, to lower our living standards to those more equal to that of the rest of the globe. Living standards will decline, and so will wages and conditions.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/australian-population-jumps-by-1028-a-day/story-e6frf7kx-1226601938394?from=herald%20sun_rss

People see open land and equate it with having the capacity to build more houses and provide for more people (customers) for big businesses.

Whatever we benefit from new arrivals into Australia can't be maintained forever. Migrants become citizens, adding to our general cultural diversity. That inherently means we must keep adding migrants as the former influx integrate and become blended into Australia's cultural mix. The multicultural push is about supporting this ideal, and mass immigration.

While most people intuitively believe animals can overbreed and overstetch their habitats, when it comes to our own species, the Cornucopia myth is real and dominating.

There are no limits when it comes to people! Nature will simply keep providing all we need, abundantly. What Nature can't provide, technology will have all the "answers".

It's counter-intuitive and defies logic that Australia has unlimited "carrying capacity". What transcends culture, the economy, human ideals etc is our environment's capacity to keep providing for ever expanding human needs, when the constraints for growth keep getting more obvious! We should take warning from the countries with high immigration, such as the USA, Canada and UK, and see how their economies are stalling, and living standards for the majority are declining.

Some fantastic letters to the editor below, which should not be lost to the public knowledge:

Forget visas, kids need jobs

THOUSANDS of workers from overseas are being allowed to come into our country under the 457 special visa program.

Yet just as many desperate young people in Australia are missing out because companies - big and small - prefer to hire skilled labour from wherever they can get it instead of providing apprenticeships and traineeships.

And they don't care about paying for the airfares and accommodation.

My son completed courses at TAFE SA in welding and fabrication three years ago. Since then he has applied for work at many companies here and interstate and almost always the answer is the same: we want experienced workers.

The few places that advertise for apprentice welders are usually overwhelmed with applications.

My son has even done cold-calling and door-knocked businesses - but to no avail.

He has all but given up on pursuing his dream job and is, instead, working as a tyre fitter. My advice to the Gillard Government: Stop the work visas and provide incentives for local companies to take on kids who just want to work; who want a future.

E. LAWRENCE, Upper Sturt

Look after our own

WHILE many oppose the Federal Government's plan to scale back the use of special work visas for migrant workers, I support the move.

I can't understand why we would be bringing in hundreds of workers when there are many in Australia unable to get jobs, particularly in the high-demand industries such as mining and construction.

The answer is that companies aren't willing to pay the going rate to employees. So, instead, they pay much less to foreigners to help boost their profits.

Whatever happened to looking after your own first? There are people out there who can't get work because employers can't be bothered spending the money on training.

ANNE GRAHAM, Gawler
Population boost plan must be cut

FOR the thousands of concerned residents battling urban sprawl and suburban high-rise, one piece of information from Heather Kennett's article ("The never-ending storeys", Sunday Mail, 17/3/13) holds the key: "The plan proposes boosting Adelaide's population by 560,000."

The entire 30-year Plan for Greater Adelaide hinges on those few words. Read the sentence and let it sink in.

If the proposal to boost our population is abandoned, the plan falls over. No population increase, no need for the plan's 258,000 additional dwellings, meaning no urban sprawl or suburban high-rise.

The Property Council's biggest fear is that the public will tweak to this. Believe me, the last thing they want is a genuine debate about population growth and what it means for society and the environment.

Those two factors always take a back seat behind big industry's holy grail of economic growth.

The justification for abandoning the population target is right under our noses. We read about it every day.

We wear T-shirts that say we love it. A few short years ago we nearly lost it. It is the staple of life in this state. It is the River Murray.

The Murray cannot sustain any increased demand for water, even with the desal plant on line.

Add climate change into the mix, causing more frequent and severe droughts, and it's a no-brainer that we should not be pursuing population growth.

And let's be absolutely clear that population growth of 560,000 will not occur naturally; it requires government-initiated programs to attract large numbers of migrants.

That is by no means an anti-migrant statement. It's simply a fact that SA cannot sustain deliberately accelerated population growth.

So jump up and down and make your voice heard. Cabinet approved the population target and Cabinet must be made to rescind it.

It is the only thing that can save our river, our city-fringe agricultural land, our low-rise suburbs and backyards and our quality of life.

C. FAULKNER, Cheltenham

City under attack

LIKE many Adelaideans, I am watching with increasing alarm, anger and frustration as our supposedly most livable city is hijacked by developers with the full support of both major parties, which are completely out of touch with the people who vote them in.

There is now clear proof that the Mt Barker rezoning debacle was bulldozed through via a murky, flawed process, where the five lengthy DAP consultations were just a smokescreen to con residents into believing that the State Government cared about their concerns.

Has anyone asked the people of Adelaide whether they want another half a million people living in multi-storey flats with the associated crowds and traffic congestion?

Why are so many people fleeing here from Sydney and Melbourne?

Our beautiful heritage city is under attack; is it any wonder people are questioning developer donations to the major political parties?

I wonder also how many politicians live in the areas earmarked for high-rise living.

ALEX HODGES, Birdwood

Original source was: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/letters-protecting-australian-jobs/story-e6freabc-1226604152321

Just add people and stir economic formula! Leaders with little ideas and innovation of ways to stimulate the economy, and starved of any thoughts for the future, will just resort to population growth! The same is happening in Tasmania. It creates new customers for businesses, and it means tenants and buyers for the real estate industry. There's no long term thought for the future, and the fact that there's already high youth unemployment in Adelaide.

Region of Adelaide Unemployment
  total youth
North: 8.1% 44.6%
West: 4.6% 13.9%
East: 4.2% 18.6%
South: 5.1% 29.3%

The "skills shortages" claim is a convenient rort to justify more immigration and get fillers for the housing market. This is not an economy in overdrive, but one sector that's being manipulated for convenience without thought for the costs of growth. Water security, climate change, the end of Australia's oil production, debt accumulation, social division and lowering living standards will plague Adelaide as it is in Melbourne and Sydney.

ACTION ALERT

BIO-ENERGY: THE NEXT HORROR FOR OUR FORESTS

It’s the next wave of destruction for our native forests. The forestry and energy industries are now poised to unleash their plans to feed our forests into furnaces to produce electricity, convert them into bio-fuels, and into pellets for export. This will mean more destruction of forests and their wildlife, and release massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

Industry calls this ‘renewable energy’. It wants the government to help pay for it in the form of ‘renewable energy certificates’ and other subsidies at the community’s expense.

This is despite the fact that many eminent scientists and researchers consider this form of bio-energy to be neither clean nor renewable.* And despite the fact that this form of energy will actually outcompete genuine renewable energy like solar and wind power.** It’s imperative governments don’t support this industry.

Join us to show the energy industry and energy retailers, the forestry industry and governments that we will not stand by while our forests are destroyed for energy production. Let them know that our precious forests must be protected for wildlife, climate, water and the air we breathe, not trashed for electricity or fuel.

Join our Action on April 15 -
we'll have a giant toaster ‘incinerating’ threatened wildlife!

When: 15, 2013 at 9am

Where: Outside the ‘Residues to Revenues’ conference

Bayview Eden, 6 Queens Road Melbourne , VIC 3004

What to bring: Just show up, we will have all the materials you need.

Phone Lorraine on 0414958714 for further information

http://www.noforestfurnaces.wordpress.com

Facebook causes

Protect native forests for climate change

Energy needs are obviously becoming in short supply, needed to fuel our economic growth.

JULIA Gillard is steering the nation's population on a course to more than 40 million by 2050, despite warning just three years ago against "hurtling towards a big Australia". Demographer Bob Birrell warned that, in the flattening labour market, such a rapid rate of population growth posed a threat to Australian jobseekers.

Despite an Intergenerational survey in 2010 that revealed that about two thirds of the population do not want 35 million people in Australia, it will be at least 40 million by 2050! Julia Gillard has broken her first promise as PM, to not "hurtle towards 'big Australia'".

While population growth no doubt does increase the crude size of the economy, the GDP, it's at a great cost to the environment, our jobs market, the environment, climate change and our life styles.

Despite Gillard cutting down on the 457 visa "rort", the number of temporary 457 visas being issued was feeding into the surge in net overseas migration. It proves that there's nothing more permanent than a "temporary" migrant!

Foreign students graduating in Australia will be free to work for 4 years in Australia, and no doubt once they have a job they will stay here!

Besides MP Kelvin Rudd, all the politicians are intent on increasing the size of our economy at whatever costs. At an election time, when one would assume the government would be in listening mode, they are isolating themselves and distancing themselves further from the voters.

Australia's economic growth has dwindled and plateaued, but our government, bereft of ideas, are resorting to the only way they can think of to stimulate the economy - the no-brainer one of making our borders even more permeable and opening the flood gates to more immigration!

Mining giant Adani plans to build a new monster coal port, Terminal Zero, just metres from a beach where sea turtles have come to lay their eggs for decades.

Hundreds of extra coal ships would travel through a narrow passage, greatly increasing the risk of collisions and spillages. Then once the coal is burnt, it’ll drive global warming faster than ever before. It’s another monster coal plan with monstrous consequences.

The Port of Abbot Point is one of Australia’s most significant emerging bulk ports and is undergoing a major transformation into a port precinct of global importance. It is an existing operating coal port located just north of Bowen in north Queensland.

The National Environmental Significance Management Plan needs to maximise the ongoing protection and long term conservation of EPBC listed threatened fauna

Several management plans will manage potential impacts on the values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and species including dugongs, turtles and migratory birds. Greenpeace's Georgina Woods says there is some information about possible environmental impacts that has been withheld.

She says there is sea grass providing for green turtles and dugongs and other marine life such as dolphins in the area that would be affected.

Since obtaining a 99-year lease of the X50 Abbot Point Coal Terminal, Adani identified the need to increase terminal capacity.

Profits and economic growth should not be at the expense of habitat destruction and ongoing threats to species while we are on the cusp of an era of mass extinctions.

Greenpeace - Take Action Now

Simon Crean said John Howard mistaken to join US war in Iraq

Former Labor leader Simon Crean says it was a mistake to join the war in Iraq, because it diverted Australia's attentions away from Afghanistan. John Howard willingly went to war because the US asked him to.

"My view is the decision was wrong," Mr Crean told ABC News 24. "The weapons of mass destruction weren’t found and I think the people who justified that on that basis ought to explain."

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/simon-crean-said-john-howard-mistaken-to-join-us-war-in-iraq/story-fncynkc6-1226608928181

Mr Smith said around 1000 of the 1550-strong force would be out of the country by December this year.

While pockets of the country are certainly far more secure than they have been, there is real concern about the Taliban quickly filling the security vacuum left once troops withdraw. It is estimated that 162,000 Iraqis have died since the 2003 invasion.
The Bush administration made the argument that in the post-9/11 climate there should be a belated reckoning with Saddam Hussein.

Thirty-nine Australians have been killed in action and more than 245 wounded, many seriously, during the war 11-year-war. Canada refuse to go to Iraq, but not Australia or Britain. Almost 4,500 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq and 30,000 wounded. More than 100,000 Iraqis were killed.

“It was absolutely an error,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said. “It’s obviously clear the evaluation of weapons of mass destruction proved not to be correct.”

Since there was no direct connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam, George Bush probably would not have taken the risk of invading Iraq.

According to the UN's latest estimates, at least 3.6 million people are internally displaced in Syria. The 70,000 refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia still living in Syria are facing the same hardship and dangers as their Syrian hosts.

Of the 1.5 million Iraqi refugees who have fled the country, only about 80,000, or 5 percent, have been resettled in the U.S. In the years following 2003, Iraq’s refugee problem has grown into what many observers regard as an unprecedented crisis. Engineers, artists, lawyers, academics, doctors, and other professionals were among the first to escape the war. It dismantled many of Iraq’s cultural and educational institutions and social fabric. Few refugees plan to return.

In an overpopulated planet of many crises, and more threats and conflicts over scarcities to occur in the future, never has there been a time in history when steady-state planet-wide stability was needed.

There are no new frontiers to conquer, no new lands to colonize, no places where the displaced are welcomed, and wars and the displacement of humanity must be avoided at all costs.

The 60 Minutes Crew accompanies ANIMAL LIBERATION (NSW) Rescue Team in exposing the titan of animal abuse.

This Sunday at 7:30, 60 Minutes will feature an Animal Liberation exposé of the cruel broiler chicken industry, airing never seen before footage. The Australian broiler industry is shrouded with secrecy, and has received little media attention before now.

An avian veterinarian is interviewed while treating rescued broiler chickens showing major health issues directly caused by intensive husbandry practices common across the three major companies in Australia.

Tune in this weekend to watch this important story and help promote this vital program by sharing on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Help us continue our vital broiler campaign. We are the DIRECT ACTION Group that opens the door to institutionalized hidden animal abuse.

12:30-12:38 on RN ABC Radio Australia (listen live here, linked to from RN 'Special Broadcasts' page, roughly 1/3 way down on right of page)- Talk between Islamic and Catholic 'sociologists' of how science is an ideology that is receding as religion comes back, of how roman catholicism was uncomfortable with development of nation states post Napoleon ....

Sound horribly as if the Catholics and the Muslims are working to establish a new common power basis. Religion has always been a political powerbase to get hold of capital. Just look at the wealth in the Vatican . What is the situation in Islamic institutions? One assumes that the leaders of Islam and Catholicism are basically into money and power, whatever the ideology they hand down to their 'flocks'. With globalisation of capital and loss of civil rights as nation states are eroded, we should fear capital and religion getting back together to run and ruin the world.

POTISKUM, Nigeria (AP) — Assailants in northeastern Nigeria have killed three North Korean doctors, beheading one of them, officials said Sunday. ...

The story, linked to above, is in the New York Times of 11 Feb 2011. The murdered doctors are from North Korea, which has been particularly demonised recently in the Australian newsmedia, lately, Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who has also condemned the Syrian Government and imposed sanctions, has done the same to North Korea, allegedly in reponse to its recent nuclear tests.

As with Syria, a truly objective judgment is only possible if the broader historical context, which also comprises the New York Times story, is taken into account

We have had problems with visitors posting spam comments. Hopefully, this problem is now fixed and genuine visitors will still be able to post their views.

Australia's latest unemployment figures might look good on a global scale, but there are also concerns they are masking serious public health issues.

The unemployment rate jumped to 5.6 per cent today due to the estimated loss of more than 36,000 jobs in March.

The latest Bureau of Statistics figures show nearly 500,000 people want full-time work but cannot find it.

In March 2013 an estimated 1.37 million Australians (10.8% of the workforce) were unemployed. This is down 0.1% from last month. The Australian workforce was 12,644,000, (a record high) comprising 7,671,000 full-time workers (up 174,000); 3,604,000 part-time workers (down 50,000) and 1,369,000 looking for work (up 9,000) according to the Roy Morgan monthly employment estimates.

10.8% unemployed is disguised by people taking up casual and part time work, artificially being added to the "employed" numbers.

Underemployment, like unemployment, raises several housing policy concerns about the capacity of households to meet ongoing housing costs during a period of reduced or inadequate income. Small changes to incomes for some households pose a significant threat to housing security and stability.

In Australia, underemployment is well above the OECD average (OECD Employment Outlook, 2010).

The mental health of job seekers is deteriorating as people are giving up and not being included in the economy. "What Beyond Blue is noticing is that mental health issues are continuing to escalate," she said.

"Last year stress claims topped $10 billion and we know job insecurity, over-work and under-work are contributing factors to the cost, both personally and to the economy."

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor argued that there were 107,510 temporary workers on primary 457 visas in Australia during February 2013, a rise of 21.5 per cent on the corresponding month last year. Mr O'Connor also noted that both nominal and real wages for those with 457 immigration visa holders have been tumbling by as much as 12 per cent in the IT-related jobs sector.

Record rates of both temporary and permanent immigration at a time of our economy's slow-down is hurting Australian families, and the 457 visa rort is only the tip of the iceberg.

Despite Julia Gillard's slashing of the 457 visa, she recently announced that immigration would continue to be "sizeable", and we would have a "big Australia" of over 40 million by 2050. The lure of "economic growth" through force-feeding more and more people into our country ignores the fact that our economy is not growing despite our high levels of immigration, and the boom years are over.

The "skills shortages" rant is looking thin! It's hard to even find casual jobs. Entry-level jobs demand at least two years' experience and a tertiary degree.

Concerns jobs figures mask public health issues

The State Government is under pressure from parents and teachers to help deliver a $4 billion shot in the arm for Victorian schools. Mr Gonski recommends more funding for universities, not taking from them.
It's hard to swallow the "skills shortages" that our economy is supposed to be crippled by if the Gillard Government is taking $2.8 billion from universities toward a $14.5 billion boost to school funding over six years. Already universities are forced to depend on international students to stretch their budgets, and this will exacerbate their needs.
Our tertiary education system is how we are to be ready for the many challenges in the next decades and it's backward thinking to deprive it of funds. Our record levels of immigration are based on our "skills shortages", yet any skills shortages will increase unless TAFEs and universities are supported. Our universities should primarily be for our domestic students, not excessively relying on foreign sourced dollars! The globalization of jobs, education, housing, industries, living standards and farm land is detrimental to Australia, and eroding the "Lucky Country" we used to have.
The reality of "skills shortages" in Australia is politically motivated and caused through privatization of utilities, and depriving our educational institutions of sufficient funding.

I just watched Q & A and could not believe more repetition of the same questionable opinions about mistakes Gillard has purportedly made. They were actually pushing Abbott!

Paola Totaro in the Guardian Weekly writes of amazement at how the ALP is constantly trying to destabilise Julia Gillard when the Australian dollar is high and we have had 21 years of growth. Whilst, like many on candobetter.net, I don't like growth, I will take Julia Gillard any day in place of Kevin Rudd. I find what Simon Crean is doing disgusting. It is like Murdoch will highlight anyone prepared to say something horrible about Gillard.

What did she ever do to Mr Murdoch - did he make a pass at her that she rejected or something? Sure looks like it.

Below is Totaro's article:
http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/20338607/1764018166/name/Preview%20of%20%80%A0%A2%E2%92%A0%92%BCAustralians%20don%26%2339%3Bt%20kn

The top US diplomat John Kerry said Washington was not yet ready to validate Maduro's narrow victory in Sunday's disputed Venezuelan elections in which he defeated opposition candidate Henrique Capriles by a margin of 1.7 per cent.

Venezuela is a sovereign nation, and the US has no authority to question their election results. It's a national concern. They want a re-count!

Elections were triggered in the South American oil-rich nation after its fiery leader Hugo Chavez succumbed to cancer in March, having already anointed Maduro as his political heir. Obviously the US has great interests in this small country, for their oil supplies. Any disruption of their stability, eyes off their internal cohesion, is welcomed by the United States, hungry for oil.

Voting has been computerized since 1999, so a recount would achieve nothing.

Only 1,000km away to the North-West in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, there can be no doubt that the socialist Cuban government of Raul Castro enjoys the overwhelming support of the Cuban people. Had it not, the Cuban counter-revolutionaries, who tried to overthrow it during the US supported Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, would surely have succeeded. If the Cuban Government was the unpopular tyranny the US government claimed it to be, surely the Cuban people would have found some way to cast off that government in the 53 years since the revolution.

In my view the Cuban government was right not to hold any election in all that time for two reasons:

1. Given the huge resources that the US, its allies and global corporations could have poured into the pockets of Cuban counter-revolutionary candidates, a fair election would not have been possible. Where they only just failed to get the outcome they wanted recently in Venezuela, they would have more likely succeeded in Cuba.

2. The United States military, together with Cuban counter-revolutionary guerrillas could well have used the necessary disruption entailed in elections to militarilly overthrow the Cuban government.

The consequences for Cuba could have been as terrible as they were in Guatemala and El Salvador where many tens of thousands were murdered by US funded death squads in the 1980s.

I think Maduro would be well advised to cancel future elections until such time as the United States and its allies agree to cease interfering in Venezuelan elections as they have just recently and end threats of military aggression against Cuba and Venezuela.

Geoffrey,

Whilst it is clear that the US has used elections to interfere with countries to its south, and has done much worse, surely decent government cannot endure if the government is not, at some point, held to account by those on whose behalf the governing?

Lebanese Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel warned Saturday that his country could no longer absorb the influx of Syrian refugees.

He asked that the burden [of assisting them] be distributed among states on the basis of collective responsibility because "Lebanon has exceeded its ability to absorb them."

18,000 people registered with their agency over the past week, with the total number of registered refugees rising to 428,000.

Western imperialism has created a human tsunami of suffering in Syria. The suffering in Lebanon, where most of the Syrian refugees have fled, seems particularly acute. In one month, and with the current funding, more than 400,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon will no longer receive food assistance. Lebanon expects there to be more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees by the end of the year.

The UN refugee coordinator noted that the thousands of refugees have also burdened the already deteriorating economic situation in the country by putting "pressure on the labour market and [causing a] rise in inflation" rates.

The refugees find shelter in private homes — sometimes the landlord chooses not to collect rent. Families sleep in old schools, and in at least this one case, in a former jail. Lebanon has seen its population swell by about 10 per cent since the Syrian crisis began more than two years ago.

The rich Muslim nations do nothing in all this. It is always the west that has to come through with aid. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates had each pledged $300 million for the humanitarian needs of refugees and it was hoped these would arrive soon.

Editorial comment: Whilst you are right to point out that "Western imperialism has created a human tsunami of suffering in Syria," I find your concluding remarks:

The rich Muslim nations do nothing in all this. It is always the west that has to come through with aid. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates had each pledged $300 million for the humanitarian needs of refugees ...

... to be somewhat wide of the mark.

In fact a number of 'rich Muslim nations', namely the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain have been doing a lot: paying the wages of, and supplying weapons to, the terrorist killers who are murdering unarmed Syrian civilians and killing Syrian soldiers. The 'west' and Israel is doing much the same. Whilst waging war against the Syrian people the west and the reactionary Arab governments make a pretense of supplying humanitarian aid, but only for public relations and as a means to manipulate some of the refugees who have fled Syria to escape the terror caused by the same governments.

How economist quantify the "best" of Australia's states is different from how the public and residents value livability.

Western Australia is still the nation's economic powerhouse, according to CommSec's quarterly State of the States report.

The gap between the best- and worst-performing states in the country appears to be widening, but only when economic terms are considered.

WA leads the way on retail trade, population growth and equipment investment, but ranks second strongest in economic growth. There is only a dubious correlation between population growth and economic growth.

Until there's an optimum population size, in consideration of environmental and economic constraints, excessive population is detrimental. Victoria's economy is pear-shaped because population growth continues to outstrip infrastructure, and costs of living are increasing beyond the average hip-pocket's ability to pay.

There are "worrying" signs South Australia and Tasmania could fall further behind the rest of the country. In both the 2010 and 2011 My City Survey, Adelaide remains the most liveable Australian city as voted by its residents. Adelaide was voted the most liveable city in Australia for the third year in a row this year because it is an affordable place to buy housing, has a good standard of living and is clean.

Australia is a whole nation, and the competition between separate States is superficial and meaningless as the benefits are shared country-wide. Australia should be integrated as a whole, with more power to local governments. State governments are an artificial political construct, a relic of colonial administration.

The flip-side of WA being the nation's economic powerhouse is that the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed Western Australia was the only State in the country where suicides rose and the State has the highest homelessness rate in the nation.

Melbourne has been ranked first on The Economist's Global Cities Liveability Index for the second year in a row. However, housing is unaffordable and utility costs are soaring because of population growth.

WA still nation's economic powerhouse: Herald Sun

Sustainable Population Australia - Media Release 22nd April

The arrival of Australia’s 23 millionth person tomorrow is no cause for celebration, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

National President of SPA, Ms Jenny Goldie, noted that in 1994 the Australian Academy of Science had said: ‘In our view, the quality of all aspects of our children's lives will be maximized if the population of Australia by the mid-21st Century is kept to the low, stable end of the achievable range, i.e. to approximately 23 million.’[i]

Ms Goldie says: “But we are not stabilising our numbers. We continue to grow at Third World rates, at 1.7% pa.”

In 2009, then Secretary of Treasury Ken Henry expressed concern about the addition of another 13 million people by mid-century. He said a ‘population expansion of this order has a host of implications for the Australian economy and society; and it raises a number of profound issues for economic policy’.

“Yet if 1.7% continues, there will be even more than Secretary Henry cited. There will be 43 million by mid-century and 100 million by 2100,” says Ms Goldie.

Ken Henry’s comments prompted the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to commission a study[ii] on the impact of different levels of Net Overseas Migration (NOM) on Australia’s physical natural and built environments out to 2050.

The 2010 DIAC-commissioned study found, amongst many findings

· Higher levels of NOM impose greater adverse impacts on the quality of our natural and built environments (note: NOM to September 30, 2012 was 228,000 pa)

· Decreased urban water supply is a significant environmental constraint exacerbated by higher NOM

· Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are expected to grow to several times current levels by 2050 unless rapid mitigation activities are implemented, and will be significantly higher with higher NOM

· Urban expansion will cause the loss of horticultural production from peri-urban areas which will reduce access to high quality fresh food, especially vegetables, with Sydney being particularly vulnerable.

[i] Joint Statement of the Population 2040 Working Party, April 1994. http://www.science.org.au/events/sats/sats1994/Population2040-section8.pdf

[ii] http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/research/_pdf/physical-implications-migration-fullreport.pdf

Australia hits 23 million

Australia's population officially reaches 23 million.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, however, says the government wasn't interested in setting "arbitrary targets". Without targets, and no population policy except just accelerating growth, we will overshoot our ecological, economic and social optimum limits.

"We are interested in where the population is and the type of groups within our population," he told reporters on Tuesday.

The Australian: Aust Population set to crack 23 million
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/aust-population-set-to-crack-23-million/story-fn3dxiwe-1226627035045

It's not an occassion to crack open the Champaign and celebrate! There's nothing pretty about over-population - something common all over the world.

Maybe the government should be worried about numbers. They are trivializing the matter by being concerned only about he "groups" of people and where they are! Australia is the driest continent with large ranges of arid and semi arid desert. The "Asian Century" is an strange ideal while urban sprawl is whittling away our food bowls.

Asia's human "carrying capacity" is higher than Australia's, yet ironically we are meant to be their "food bowl". Many countries are already over their sustainable population levels, yet Australia is heading the same way?

The skills-shortages justification is shallow too, considering the huge cut-backs to tertiary education.

A bigger economy is not necessarily a better quality one. The "big" economies of China, India and Indonesia etc have many people who would prefer to live in Australia. Increasingly, Australia is being run by megalomaniacs with their own grandiose agendas, distracted by big profits and corporations with power to sway government decisions.

The Stable Population Party of Australia, and other minority political parties, are becoming more attractive as the mainstream Liberals, Coalition and Labor have passed their use-by-dates and appropriateness.

The power to determine our future, and that of our descendants, lies in the next Federal Elections. There are a number of political parties with population agendas that should be supported.

This comment is a response to a discussion in response to John Quiggin's article Bolt and Krauthammer Day of 23 April 2013 This comment has also been published on Syria News (http://www.syrianews.cc).

Megan @ #21, TerjeP @ #20,

No doubt, you also remember the lie that in 1990 Iraqi soldiers brutally threw Kuwaiti new-born babies out of artificial incubators onto the hospital floor where they perished?

Those, who do not, may find find of interest this Youtube broadcast by Barrie Zwicker, which features that infamous broadcast in which the 15 year old "nurse Nayirah" presented her fabricated claims to a Washington press conference to help the first Bush administration overcome public oposition to their war plans.

The same mass media which peddled that lie has since peddled more in order to justify "The Illegal war on Libya" (2012, Clarity Press - edited by former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney) and, since then, the proxy terrorist war against Syria in which 70,000 have so far died.

Fortunately, the Syrian people and their government have proven more capable than Iraq and Libya of defending themselves against the world's bullies and their terrorist proxies. But no-one's endurance can last forever against the hordes of terrorist killers now flocking into the hostile countries bordering Syria. The Syrian people need the help of people of conscience throughout the rest of the world. Without that help, the same terrible fate endured by the Iraqis since 1990 awaits them.

The federal budget will lay down a path to surplus despite the hit to revenues from the high Australian dollar and the end of the mining investment boom, Treasurer Wayne Swan says. Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned on Monday that revenue for 2012/13 was expected to be $12 billion less.

It's believed the government decided to introduce the special tax, which effectively takes the 1.5 per cent Medicare levy to 2.0 per cent, following an expenditure review committee meeting on Tuesday. The current Government rakes in substantially less tax as a proportion of the economy than its predecessors. The "prosperity" promised from record levels of population growth aren't providing fruition.

Too many people are getting too many benefits they don’t need because successive governments have tried to buy their votes. The health and welfare systems have been used as political tools, not safety nets.

Read more:

The handout blowout that's costing the budget

... by Alan Kohler, 7 hours ago (i.e approx 5.55PM, 1 May 2013) at http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/5/1/politics/handout-blowout-thats-costing-budget

"Too many people" is due to 23 million people expanding the demand for resources.

The government struggles to contain a ballooning budget deficit as the strong revenue flows during the first phase of the resources boom are over.

The Australian economy grew around or just below average pace last year. NDIS, changes to carbon pricing, dental funding, offshore processing of asylum seekers and educational reforms are all very expensive items.

Australia’s population reached 11.5 million in 1966 and so it has taken less than 47 years to double to 23 million. Our country continues to grow at the fastest rate in the developed world.

Why don't our government, and economists, question the monetary and financial implications of funding this rapid growth rate? This growth demands vital infrastructure projects, education, welfare and health care, and we have a projected $12 billion budget "hole". Our economic and jobs growth slow-down since 2010 has been matched with increasing immigration levels.

We live in a finite world, so we can't grow forever. Our huge population is going to become an economic and ecological liability one way or another, and its doubtful it will be needed in the future centuries with the growth of technology, and the slow-down of the resources boom.

Our Ponzi economic growth model is unravelling at the seams, evidenced by debts, budget short-falls, cutbacks, increasing costs of living and lowering living standards.

Please add further comments here - Ed, 1 May 2013.