Growth is OK if it is shared?
Greenpeace Diesendorf: Carbon emissions reflect population numbers - Reduce immigration
Queensland Min for Sustainability - prepare for peak oil - demographic, travel, work and living
Do Greens believe that sufficient water can be found for 1.1 million more South East Queenslanders without the Traveston Dam?
Conservation centre poor substitute for Mary River
Queensland Greens Media Release - 10 October 2007
The Queensland government's proposal to build a $35 million conservation centre for threatened species at the site of the proposed Traveston Dam is a poor substitute for allowing these creatures to flourish in their natural habitat, said the Greens today.
"Building a conservation centre for a species you are sending towards extinction is laughable," said Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Larissa Waters.
"Leaked studies by the Queensland government on the Burnett River's Paradise Dam show that dams irrevocably destroy lungfish breeding habitat, and that lungfish aren't successfully using the fish ladders to travel up and down the river.
"Traveston Dam would be the death knell for the 110 million year old Queensland lungfish, one of our iconic fish species.
"The state and federal governments cannot approve Traveston dam in reliance on a fish ladder to save the lungfish, in the face of evidence showing they don't work. That would make a mockery of our federal threatened species laws and of the environmental impact statement under state laws.
"Risking this iconic species for a dam that won't even solve the current water crisis is ludicrous.
"The dam wouldn't be built until 2011, climate change will mean rainfall patterns ensure the dam is even less likely to ever fill up, and it is a tragic waste of good quality farming land so close to a city centre.
"The Mary Valley community don't want this dam, and nor do the majority of Brisbane residents that I speak to. It would be a social, economic and environmental disaster.
"Building Traveston dam would be like noticing your wallet is empty so deciding to buy a new wallet. They don't come full.
"Government should be proposing sustainable solutions to the water crisis, like water recycling, rainwater tanks for every home, stormwater harvesting and demand management," concluded Ms Waters.
Larissa Waters www.larissawaters.net
0421 844 280
The slippery slide to slave labour
How illegal immigration into the US harms poor US Hispanic citizens
This is from an e-mail sent to me by an immigration reform activist from the US. The cause of the right of immigrants from Mexico and other Third World nations to emigrate into the US is one very dear to the hearts of many human rights advocates in both Australia and the US. In Australia this theme is frequently discussed between ABC Radio National's Phillip Adams and his regular US commentator Bruce Shapiro. As an argument supposedly for further migration whether legal or illegal they will argue that if middle class US citizens need live-in nannies, cheap fast food and cheap construction costs then they have not moral right to oppose immigration. However, this ignores the fact that it is not ordinary poor Americans who need these supposed benefits from migration. In fact the evidence is that poor Americans, including Hispanic US citizens are gravely harmed by the influx of illegal immigrants.
While I refuse to do what many journalists do, and imply or assume that Hispanics all walk in lockstep, a huge number of New Mexico Hispanics, at least, are furiously loyal to the United States, and there is some level of xenophobia against Mexicans. There is a reality among Hispanic "elites" that is not grasped. I'll give you an example. My ex-husband and I had a big landscaping project to do at our place in Los Alamos. I'd saved up my salary to hire someone to do it, since we were both too busy and lacked the tools needed. I ran a classified in the Espanola paper trying to hire someone to do the work. I got a huge number of calls, but one guy in particular impressed me, so I asked him to come up and quote me the job. Well, the quote was ridiculous (as in low!) Always the soul of tact, I blurted out, "Are you nuts? That's five days work and that's all you want to charge me? You can't pay for your gasoline on that!" He looked me square in the eye and said, "I have several kids. We're running low on groceries, I need this job, and I can't risk you giving it to an illegal. If it means I work for almost nothing per-hour, that's what I'll do." Needless to say, I hired him and paid him a decent wage, but it was a dramatic illustration of what's happening here, especially when Sear's, whom we hired to put a new roof on our house, turned up with an all-immigrant crew!
Orange City Northern distributor benefits from pork barrel
Peter Andren media release 9 October 2007
Orange City Council has reaped the benefit of the government's desperate pork barrelling in this phoney election campaign with $10M to complete the Orange Bypass' northern distributor, according to Peter Andren Member for Calare.
"Funding for vital national infrastructure such as this should never be tailored to meet the electoral needs of any government and should be distributed according to the greatest need and priority of that need," Mr Andren said.
"I was pleased to support Council, along with other members and candidates such as local independent Gavin Priestley.
"The Member for Parkes continues to operate outside his electorate and I wonder how his constituents in Dubbo feel about his taking credit for all the federal money being showered on Orange.
"It is imperative that the actual money is received by council before, and not after, the election and that it is not bound to Mr Cobb or any other candidate being elected member for Calare. This is a much needed infrastructure project that should not be tied to political goals.
"I am concerned that the government may be bringing forward a lot of money budgeted for future years under AUSLINK II and that this might undermine the long term strategic planning of the program for short term electoral gain.
"This is a good result for road safety in Orange and again I congratulate Council for making its case so strongly," Mr Andren said.
For further information: 02 6332 6229 or 0427 480 825, www.peterandren.com
New technology won't save us from the population bomb
- The construction of this solar electricity plant will consume large quantities of fossil fuels and produce a large amount of GHG.
- The farm land that the solar panel site has taken over will be lost forever, thereby increasing our reliance on our areas, either on Canadian farm land whose supply is very limited or on nearby foreign farm land whose supply is decreasing because of population demands.
- The immigrants will consume much more than the household electricity produced by the solar farm. They will consume water, electronics, paper products, air travel, etc. Increases in human population inevitably lead to the expropriation of other areas for the use of the new people.
Population growth:where is the environmentalist community?
Senate Economics Committee pseudo inquiry into Energy Efficiency
Alice in Wonderland Australian Senate Committee on Regional Affairs and transport jokes about the real agenda
Pulp mill decision is litmus test for Traveston Dam
Book Review: Immigrants: your country needs them by Philippe Legrain
Book Review: Immigrants: your country needs them by Philippe Legrain (Little Brown Book Group, UK, 2006) A$35.00 review by Mark O'Connor.
Some angst was caused in February 2007 when Philippe Legrain (with this book in tow) was featured at Perth Writers Week. The problem was not that a debate on migration was irrelevant to a literary festival but that there was no debate--and that the supposed expert (Legrain) seemed ignorant of Australian conditions.
I am struck by how little and how selectively Philippe Legrain has read in the area on which he claims to be an expert. Despite his Australian publicists' claim that he offers a lucid and enlightened account of "Australian policies, facts and statistics" the facts he states are frequently incorrect or slanted. His index is barren of references to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which perhaps explains his bizarre claims that Australia's population is 19 million, that its net migration is some 90,000 a year (see p. 9), that births are not keeping pace with deaths (p. 108, in fact they are twice deaths), that immigration was slashed from 1996 by the Howard government (see p. 53) and so on. In fact we have never had such a high-immigration government as Howard's. Only in the immediate post WWII period, when most of our migrants were war refugees, has immigration been so high.
Australia, along with Canada and the USA is one of Philippe Legrain's three best examples of countries which have sought and accepted what is by world standards a bizarrely high level of immigration. For Australia, he seems to have relied on interviews with a couple of high immigration advocates (Stepan Kerkyasharian and Abdul Rizvi). The rest of his figures on Australia could have been gained from half-an-hour's googling---some time ago. Of critics of high immigration in Australia he seems ignorant. There are no references in his index to CSIRO's Ecumene project, to People and Place, to Sustainable Population Australia or even to the numerous publications of the Bureau of Immigration Research, which at least attempted a certain objectivity.
On the UK and the USA (his main market target) he seems only a little less ill-read. When referring to critics of high immigration he concentrates on Peter Brimelow and Samuel Huntingdon, but seems unaware of such important players as Britain's Migration Watch Committee or America's Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Centre for Immigration Studies. All of these have websites that could have provided him with an encyclopedia's worth of articles and information on relevant issues of which he seems ignorant. But I get the impression that Philippe Legrain is a gentleman who likes to make up his mind and then not disturb it by looking at inconvenient facts or contrary opinions.
A crucial document is the 1994 plenary resolution of the Australian Academy of Science on Australia's population options. This specified that our population should probably have been capped at 19 million, but must in any case be capped at no more than 23 million, and that net migration must therefore be kept below 50,000 a year.
1994 was also the year of the Cairo Conference on Population, in which the nations of the world pledged (with only a few selfish exceptions) to hold their populations in check, and not to use emigration as a way of unloading their population problems upon others. Needless to say, Cairo also is missing from Legrain's index. Nor does he mention the way in which the USA's immigration-fed increase has prevented its population stabilizing and made it dependent for its life-style upon a risky pursuit of foreign oil.
Nor does he mention the issue of the vast increases in greenhouse effect caused by migration from the low GHG to the high GHG producing countries. Most telling of all, against Legrain's irresponsible vision of open borders, is the fact that the two large-population countries that have had spectacular success in reducing their population growth (Iran and China) did so precisely because they had quarreled with the West and could not lean on it to take their emigrants. By contrast, those countries like Mexico and the Philippines, where families could hope that an extra child might be the lucky or talented one that would get to the US and bring in the rest of the family, have neither solved their own problems nor ceased to drive up population in the wealthier countries. Legrain complacently notes that the Philippines relies on remittances from its emigrants for something like 40% of its economy. (And still the babies keep coming.) By contrast, Legrain asserts (p. 20) that "freer migration is one of the best ways to help poor countries." For a capitalist economist Legrain is oddly naïve about the problems of population socialism. A visit to www.garretthardinsociety.org might trouble--yet expand--his mind considerably.
Legrain seems to share the common economist's delusion that growth can go on for ever, that there are no other species or environments to be considered, and that almost the only thing we lack (to fuel an eternal bonfire of growth) is more people.
Overall, this book, despite its parade of academic references, is not a serious attempt to examine the issues. It should be read as a piece of rhetoric: a first speech for the government in a student debate "That this house believes the world should have open borders". Legrain's 'lucidity', which some foolish reviewers have praised, is largely a reluctance to explain his economic modeling. He simply asserts. He claims at one point (p. 64, cf. p 19) that studies show freer immigration could 'potentially' make us all far richer--which is code for saying he won't explain the assumptions behind the calculation. [ revised: He offers no refutation--only an ad hominem put--down but no adequate refutation --of the detailed calculations of the Harvard economics professor George Borjas, a much more eminent economist, who draws the opposite conclusions. Legrain's calculations of the economic effect of immigration in the USA seem based on the assumption that one need only make sure that the supply of capital increases in proportion with the workforce. Then more immigrant workers simply make everyone better off. The inconvenient issues of resources, space, greenhouse emissions, and environmental degradation are ignored by Legrain (and one suspects by those economic studies he cites on his side). Perhaps Legrain knows he is writing for people who want a feel-good sense of moral superiority, and don't want to be bothered with inconvenient details. ]
Yet if Legrain can get us used to using cheap immigrant servants and cooks and nurses, he will then try to make us feel guilty about "the anonymous people whose existence you barely acknowledge . . . We just never bother to ask" (pp. 26-27). It doesn't make much sense. But as I say, Legrain is a rhetorician, not a thinker.
Perhaps most irritating is Legrain's glib sense of moral superiority--backed by his publisher's predictable assertion that he is offering an original "challenging and powerful" version of the open borders case. Not so. If the facts were as Legrain claims, and if the only issues to be considered were the ones he propounds, then everyone would come to his conclusions. Intelligence and moral superiority don't enter into it. Naivety and ignorance do.#
American Unions and their about-face on Immigration
AWAs and non-core promises
As of 6 September, merely 10% of AWAs lodged were vetted for fairness (about 12,700 of 123,000). After four months and (supposedly) 600
additional inspectors, there's a backlog of about 110,000 AWAs to vet, with about new 30,000 AWAs submitted monthly. Some assert it
will take 10 months to work-off this backlog.
Pity the poor workers waiting many months to have their AWAs vetted, while continuing to work under unfair conditions!
And the workers with one of the 45,000 AWAs for which "further information" is requested, and not forth-coming ... And their company is one of the 8,000 companies not responding to requests for "further information" ...
Will these workers regain their entitlements, recover lost pay? How will their companies - or the government - compensate them for the
unfair conditions they endured all their months of waiting?
Thousands of companies cannot be so inherently incompetent; IR laws this complicated should be scrapped for something simpler!
"Under a Howard Government you cannot be worse off, but you can be better off. I give this rock solid guarantee our policy will not cause a cut in the take home pay of Australian workers." [PM Howard, 7 July 2005, ABC]
The voters will demonstrate, soon, just how "better off" they are under this Howard Government.
Great system, PM Howard. Must be yet another "non-core promise."
The Usufruct Delusion
Ground level view of Melbourne 2030 in action
Victoria, like the rest of Australia, is becoming a concrete desert, reflecting, producing and absorbing heat. Melbourne 2030 and all population growth and development intensification, intensive or sprawl, is a recipe for cooking our planet. We are turning our environment into a frying pan. Please send to smnaesp|AT|alphalink.com.au your short observations on what is happening around you as our leaders allow democracy and ammenity to be over-ridden by development for the enrichment of a very few.
Later, as the (helicopter) pilot angled northward, Joey heard her brother gag in revulsion at the sight of the Western Broward County, where new subdivisions were erupting like cankers in all directions: thousands upon thousands of cookie-cutter houses, jammed together so tightly that it looked like like you could jump from roof to roof for miles on end. Where there were no homes stood office parks, shopping plazas and enormous auto malls--acres and acres of Toyotas and Chryslers, cooking in the sun. Only a slender dirt levee separated the clamorous tide of humanity from the Everglades.
From "Skinny Dip" (2004) p337 by Carl Hiaasen
Observations on the destruction of Melbourne and democracy made by Jill on Saturday 29 September at 8:22 AM
This what I have noted in the past few days:
- One brick Edwardian House on generous but not huge block round the corner from me demolished along with all garden which included tall cypress trees. 3 two storey town houses, minimal garden to be built.
- One demolition in the next street- all garden gone, Expecting high density replacement amidst normal sized houses.
- Another house and garden demolished within walking distance of my house in Wattletree Rd. What look to be 3 storey apartments taking their place.
Was in Camberwell last night. Modest Californian bungalow demolished and humungous Neo Georgian edifice with 5 bathrooms replacing it . All garden areas will be concreted except for the swimming pool which will be tiled.
At Burke Rd end of same street on the corner - Normal sized house demolished replaced by deep excavation I believe to accommodate 7 cars. Concrete retaining wall being constructed on the boundary at present at least 3 metres high but going higher. The neighbour on the side with retaining wall sold up before this happened but in anticipation of it.
That's what I saw yesterday, and I wasn't even looking for it.
Nothing is being considered in this terrible process except the accommodation and totally introspective comfort of more and more people.
Housing Affordability - the latest excuse to destroy the environment of South East Queensland
Race to the bottom on renewable energy
Australian Bureau of Statistics : Largest population increase ever
Why conservation efforts will not survive mass immigration
No population explosion in a classless society?
History records that Karl Marx had a fierce disregard for Thomas Malthus and his theory. Blaming the poor for their poverty was just not on for the socialist revolutionary from Trier, Germany. The system---capitalism---was to blame for everything. Dump capitalism, institute socialism, and people will presumably stop bonking. For Frederick Engels, socialism was like salt peter, it alone "makes possible that moral restraint of the propagative instinct which Malthus himself presents as the most effective and easiest remedy for over-population."
This attitude still can be found in contemporary Marxist literature. Joel Kovel, for example, in the introduction to his book The Enemy of Nature, anticipated that critics would fault him for not giving sufficient weight to questions of population growth. He made no apologies. "At no point (in the book) does overpopulation appear among the chief candidates for the mantle of prime or efficient cause of the ecological crisis.I see it as a secondary dynamic-not secondary in importance, but in the sense of being determined by other features of the system. I remain a deeply committed adversary to the recurrent neo-Malthusianism that holds that if only the lower classes would stop their wanton breeding, all will be well; and I hold that human beings have ample power to regulate population so long as they have power over the terms of their social existence. To me, giving people that power is the main point, for which purpose we need a world where there are no more lower classes, and where all people are in control of their lives."
The problem Joel, is that while we are waiting for your utopia to arrive, the world is adding 80 million people a year. We have to try to do something to stop that now.
And by the way, what was the socialist track-record in halting population growth in the third world, when "the people" were control of their lives (but apparently not of their hormones)? How did they do in Kenya, Tanzania, and Egypt under Nasser. How are they doing under the Marxist Mugabe in Zimbabwe? Why after trying their "classless" society did the Communist Chinese government find it necessary to institute a one-child policy?
Marxists still, after 150 years, engage in the fantasy that our species need obey no limits, that abundance is at hand if the world is rationally and democratically organized under "worker's control". "Malthus was right in asserting that there is always a surplus population; that there are always too many people in the world; he is wrong only when he asserts that there are more people on hand than can be maintained from the available means of subsistence."
Engels made that statement more than a century ago, before Peak Oil. Modern Marxists have no such excuse.
The second to last word goes to my comrade, Chairman Albert Bartlett:
"Modern agriculture is the use of land to convert petroleum to food."
The last word is mine, a corollary of the above:
"Oil depletion. The ultimate contraceptive."
Time, money and patience wasted by incompatible computers, printers and software
I am so sick of buying printers. Each new series has more bugs and expenses than the last. Every time Windows comes out with new software or I upgrade my computer I run into problems. At the moment my HP Photosmart 3100 series refuses to print all black, despite a brand new cartridge (ridiculously expensive and small) until I replace the magenta cartridge. My friend, who uses Linux, has an ancient little printer which prints without special programs, without fuss, without self cleaning... it just does the job. It can be filled with generic inks and the cartriges manually refilled. It does not waste my time. HP Photosmart 3100 series WASTES my time. I hate it. I resent the several hundred AUD I spent on it. And I have another printer - a Canon laser. It simply refused to collaborate with my new computer. So now that my HP Photosmart 3100 series is holding me to ransome (and another member of the family has a car so I can't go down and blow some more money on a magenta cartridge in order to print in black and white) I tried printing with my other computer (you need a few; they are so damn jinxed by windows XP [I certainly won't be buying Vista]) using the Canon, but, wouldn't you know, there is a big blaze of white down the centre, so I will have to fill out the missing words in biro so I can take the article to read at my radio show. I think I may mention the problems with printers there. We customers are simply being hung out to dry by big business which is commercially all in league to herd us to less and less useful, more and more complex, resource intensive 'solutions'. I guess it keeps us out of politics a little more than we otherwise might be.
Greens call for scrapping of second Brisbane Airport runway
Queensland Greens Media Release - 19 September 2007
The second runway at Brisbane airport should be scrapped and government should instead be promoting a reduction in air travel, said Australian Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Larissa Waters today.
"Air travel is the most greenhouse gas intensive form of transport.
"A second runway would enable yet more increase in emissions, at a time when scientists warn we need to stabilise emissions or the Great Barrier Reef will die and our farmers will suffer.
"The federal government's approval of the runway and the Opposition?s silence on the climate change implications are more sad proof that the old parties don?t understand what needs to be done to protect us all from the impacts of climate change.
"Instead of approving a new runway which will exacerbate climate change, disturb residents and impact on Moreton Bay, government should be encouraging people to avoid unnecessary air travel and use alternative means of transport or communication.
"Government should be promoting video conferencing and internet based communication like Skype to reduce air travel for business. They should investigate the feasibility of bullet trains from Brisbane to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne to give people more sustainable travel alternatives. Local and regional tourism should be promoted," said Ms Waters.
For every 100kms of air travel, 18 kilograms of emissions are created. Australian Greenhouse Office figures show that greenhouse gas emissions from domestic air travel have increased 65% since 1990, creating an additional 1.9 megatonnes of emissions.
0421 844 280
Australia's Nursing Crisis and "WorkChoices"
Across Australia and indeed, the World, the nursing system is in crisis. Around the Globe, there remains a chronic shortage of nurses. This shortage is caused by many factors including cost cutting measures, lack of educational opportunities in universities and collages, diminished opportunity for advancement and the low pay rates of nurses compared to other professions.
On top of the above, the Australian nursing workforce is currently experiencing an attack of unprecedented proportions from the Federal Government in the form of "Workchoices". The effects of Workchoices have been felt most immediately in the private nursing sector where nurses have been sacked for "operational reasons" which is perfectly legal under Workchoices and been replaced with lower paid Personal Care Attendants (PCA's) and Assistants in Nursing (AIN's). To add insult to injury, some Division 2 nurses in Victoria (EN's in other States) have been dismissed from their roles in aged care facilities for operational reasons, only to be asked to resume work as lower paid AIN's or PCA's, a move that has infuriated effected nurses and their colleagues. This situation could not have happened prior to the introduction of Workchoices. Howard's life long desire to attack ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs has finally been achieved.
One of the saddest aspects of the above situation is that those Division 2 nurses have paid their own way through a course that was meant to set them up for life and now find themselves in a precarious position in that should they decide to take up positions as AIN's or PCA's, but chose to keep their Div. 2 registration, they're actually working outside of regulatory guidelines and can be penalized as a result. They are now left with three choices:
- Update their qualifications, once again at their own expense,
- apply to be de-registered by the Nurses Board of Victoria,
- or to continue to work in full knowledge that they are working outside of their "scope of practice".
Those who choose the latter are leaving themselves open to serious consequences, but some may be tempted to do so hoping that they might obtain work in another facility where their current registration will be required.
Those who choose to become de-registered or let their registration lapse will become a disillusioned group of workers affected by despondency and low moral. Many will simply leave the system altogether causing further shortages, particularly in the area of aged care.
Those who choose to update their qualifications will face the prospect of competition against young school leavers for limited university places since many of these displaced nurses are in an older age bracket. Being "mature aged" often means juggling household responsibilities with the demands of education should they be fortunate enough to obtain a place in a Bachelor of Nursing university course. Some find this an impossible situation and become those amongst the statistics of early "drop-out." Added to this is the cost of a university placing. In Victoria, the figure to complete the Bachelor of Nursing course is around $12,000, not including certain necessary books, most of which come at a high price due to their specialty and low volume sales.
However, should one of these affected nurses find sufficient drive to complete the course, the newly registered nurses now finds themselves up against Howard's abominable "Workchoices."
Under "WorkChoices", power is given largely to employers and whilst it can be said that these new laws don't appear to be affecting the greater percentage of the working population at present, we have to remember that Australia is currently experiencing a period of unprecedented prosperity, due largely to current Government practices which have turned our beautiful country into a giant quarry in it's bid to cash in on the Worldwide rush to embrace unsustainable economic growth. History will repeat and just like the size of a balloon, the bigger this economic bubble is allowed to grow, the bigger the bang when the bubble is finally pricked. That's when Howard's Workchoices will do their most damage. Then, all the rhetoric of Government and big business advertising will be shown up for what it is, one huge lie! A company will be allowed to take the easy way out and sack unwanted workers, even those who command top positions will be vulnerable. So too with nurses! After the bubble bursts, it will simply be a matter of time before hospitals and nursing homes use the power of Workchoices to further downsize their nursing workforce in order to prop up their profits whilst adding further to the nursing crisis.
This will be a terrible shame because most people don't become nurses for the money, especially in the private sector where nurses receive on average $250 a week less than their counterparts in other areas. Also, nursing wages fall far below that of someone driving a truck in a mine, or doing shift work in many factories. Even in the public system, the average wage of a Div.2 nurse can be just $19.75 an hour (permanent position) which is little better than the Governments own minimum allowable rate of approximately $16.25 an hour. A Div.1 nurse fares little better considering all the study undertaken to achieve this professional status, not to mention the added cost of education.
I haven't always been a Labor voter and until recently was deceived into believing the rhetoric and outright lies of the Coalition when they say "they" are the "better economic managers." If you repeat a lie often enough not only will you believe it yourself, but others that hear it often enough will believe it too. This has been the legacy of the Howard led Government. A litany of supplications has been pervading the Australian political landscape since the Howard Government came to power in 1996. I strongly urge Australian voters to put an end to the lies and secrete mandates of the Howard Government at the coming elections. Put an end to the reign of a man who conceals lies with "core" and "non-core" promises.
As for the nursing profession, should the Coalition again win another three years in power, I'm quite certain that in the not too distant future, many Liberal voters will come to wonder just why, when they push the call button from their hospital or nursing home bed, no nurse comes to their aid, for should the Coalition retain power at the 2007 elections, nursing will be a good profession to avoid or to escape from. Whilst the nursing profession currently thinks more about patient care than the comparatively low financial rewards involved, there will come a breaking point when nurses will leave the profession in droves, never to return.
Liberal Party succession issue irrelevant
Like every thinking compassionate person in this country I desperately want to see the end of both Howard and Costello, but I am dismayed to have learnt that the Federal Labor Party is, yet again, poised to pour millions of their hard-earned advertising dollars in an attempt to, once again, focus voter attention on the Liberal Party leadership succession issue ("Costello and Howard side by side", 14 Sep). This strategy has been employed twice before and has failed twice before.
Logically, at some point, John Howard must make way to a successor. If the Labor Party objects to the timing and method, then perhaps it should suggest a better time and a better method.
The fact that key Labor strategists see this non-issue, rather than global warming, 'WorkChoices", the AWB scandal, the Iraq War, privatisation and almost innumerable other examples of Howard's and Costello's misgovernment, as the key to victory, suggests to me that the Labor Party urgently needs to find new election strategists.
#PublishedLetter" id="PublishedLetter">Published letter
Like most compassionate people in this country I desperately want to see the end of both Howard and Costello, but I am dismayed to have learnt that the Federal Labor Party is, yet again, poised to pour millions of their hard-earned advertising dollars in an attempt to, once again, focus voter attention on the Liberal Party leadership succession issue ("Costello and Howard side by side", 14 Sep).
This strategy has been employed twice before and has failed twice before.
Logically, at some point, John Howard must make way to a successor.
The fact that key Labor strategists see this non-issue, rather than global warming, 'WorkChoices", the AWB scandal, the Iraq War, privatisation and almost innumerable other examples of Howard's and Costello's misgovernment, as the key to victory, suggests to me that the Labor Party urgently needs to find new election strategists.
Home dream waning
ONE in four Wyndham home owners is struggling to cover mortgage repayments every month.
Australian Bureau of Statistics census data for the federal seat of Lalor, which includes Wyndham, have revealed a staggering increase in the number of households experiencing mortgage stress: those who are paying more than 30 per cent of their gross income in repayments.
All up, 6242 or 27.8 per cent of Lalor households with a mortgage are struggling with their monthly repayments in 2006 an increase of 147.8 per cent since 2001.
Quarterly national figures released by the Housing Industry Association have revealed housing affordability has substantially decreased across Australia within the past 12 months.
The housing affordability index dropped 2.7 per cent in the June quarter 6.5 per cent lower than the same time last year.
Monthly loan repayments on a typical first-home mortgage increased from $2387 to $2506.
Mortgage repayments now account for 30.8 per cent of an average first-homebuyer's income a 0.8 per centrise on the previous quarter.
"The Australian economy is performing well, yet an increasing number of people are being left behind as the degree of housing stress on both mortgage holders and renters continued to intensify," HIA managing director Dr Ron Silberg said.
He said affordability was continuing to move in the wrong direction, but there had been no meaningful response from the Federal Government to address the issue.
Federal member for Lalor Julia Gillard criticised the Federal Government's refusal to appoint a minister to tackle housing affordability.
"With so many Wyndham residents losing sight of the great Australian dream, it's shameful that housing is a policy-free zone for the Government," Ms Gillard said.
The Lalor MP said eight consecutive interest rate rises had only exacerbated the problem.
But Sustainable Population Australia Victorian branch vice-president and population and land-use planning sociologist Sheila Newman said Victoria was experiencing a land affordability crisis, rather than a crises in housing affordability.
"The planning system has been tweaked and turbo-charged by the State Government's Melbourne 2030 to drive up demand for land through government-stimulated population growth.
"Victorians were neither adequately informed nor consulted about M2030. The underlying assumption of M2030 is that growth was inevitable, rather than a political decision.
"The politics and policies of engineering growth remained outside the discussion and slow or no growth were not presented as options."
Ms Newman said that by implication of this policy, a socially marginalised class of people had been created in the outer suburbs of Melbourne where they were vulnerable to interest rate hikes and volatile petrol prices.
"Can Australia continue to pay the environmental, affordability and livability consequences for this kind of dog-eat-dog economic?"
Western Metropolitan state Liberal MP Bernie Finn said exorbitant stamp duty was an impost on home buyers and urged the State Government to cut the tax. "Stamp duty adds to the mortgage woes of people who go to the banks with their cap in hand to borrow money," he said. "It is a pure tax grab by the Brumby Government. They should slash this tax on private ownership."
Friends of Noosa's "Dump Labor" campaign punishes the wrong people
If the leaders of the "Friends of Noosa" coalition had learnt anything from recent history, they would understand that their "Dump Labor" campaign ("It's war on Labor", 6 Sep), aimed at the Federal Labor Party, which has opposed
forced amalgamations from the outset and has fully supported John Howard's legislation to allow Queenslanders to express their views on this issue at the ballot box, will have almost the precise opposite effect to that intended.
In 2003, the then Victorian Labor Premier Steve Bracks broke an election promise of 2002 to build the Scoresby Freeway, instead building the Eastlink tollway in partnership with a private consortium.
Mark Latham, leader of the Federal Labor Party at the time, recognised the threat that the justifed backlash by Victorian voters posed to Federal Labor's election prospects and urged Bracks, at a meeting in 2004, to change that decision.
It is a matter of record that Federal Labor paid the price at the 2004 polls for Bracks' actions, whilst Bracks, himself, was re-elected in 2006 as a consequence of voter revulsion against "WorkChoices" and other policies of the same Howard Government that he had helped to get re-elected.
Of course, it could be argued that Kevin Rudd should be more outspoken on this issue. Nevertheless, the leaders of the "Save Noosa" coalition are punishing the wrong people.
I urge them to cease forthwith their campaign against Federal Labor and, in particular, to remove their "Save Noosa - Dump Labor" hoarding which is now prominently displayed on the northern Bruce Highway approach to Brisbane. Instead, they should focus their energies on encouraging a high turnout to the planned plebiscite on amalgamations and on demanding that the Premier and his local Government Minister Andrew Fraser respect its outcome.
They should not assume that city-dwelling Labor voters are necessarily their enemies.
War on Labor a bridge too far
Like many others, I am appalled by Peter Beattie's forced amalgamation of our local council.
However, I feel extremely uneasy when I see a front page image representing a fellow human being - no matter what their failings - dumped into a rubbish bin while people stand around applauding (The Noosa Journal, September 6).
Blaming, scapegoating and declaring war on an enemy group may feel like a good way to vent frustrations, but history shows us that politically motivated polarisation rarely resolves problems. More often (especially when carried to extremes) it contributes tohuman suffering.
Personally, I can't see how "declaring war" on Labor - or for that matter declaring war on anyone - is going to fix the amalgamation mess. Aren't there enough wars on the planet already?
Humanity has a proud history of fighting against injustice. Let's not confuse that history with the phoney heroics of those (on all sides) whose self-serving political agendas make them willing to exploit an issue for electioneering purposes.
After all, who is to say a State Liberal government wouldn't have forced amalgamation? They did it in Victoria, despite massive protest.
Beach protest was simply shocking
I am a member of the silent majority and a normal, ratepaying citizen of Noosa, concerned as everyone regarding its future. However, I was disgusted with the behaviour depicted on the front page of your September 6 edition.
The antics of destroying effigies of people is more in line with the frenzied endeavours of a mob on the streets of Mumbai, not the streets of Noosa.
It has become blatantly obvious that the so-called Friends of Noosa - and I use the term with scepticism - are being led around by the nose and manipulated by people with their own agenda.
I recently heard Glen Elmes speak at a function and was impressed by his knowledge and enthusiasm. It would be most disappointing to learn that he condoned this disgrace against his contemporaries, albeit from the opposite
side of the political spectrum.
Greens and Douglas Shire Mayor to talk on fighting amalgamations
Queensland Greens Media Release - 13 September 2007
Australian Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland Larissa Waters will today meet Douglas Shire Council Mayor Mike Berwick to discuss how the Greens can help to overturn the decision to amalgamate local Councils.
"The Greens strongly oppose the forced amalgamations of Queensland Councils and the hubris of Peter Beattie in gagging local Councils from conducting polls of their residents on amalgamations," Ms Waters said.
"Political pressure from determined Queenslanders forced Peter Beattie to back down on prohibiting polls, and soon the Australian Electoral Commission will be empowered to conduct polls on the amalgamations, on a date to be determined.
"I call on Premier Anna Bligh to listen to the results of all polls held on amalgamations, and to reverse the decision to amalgamate if the majority of the area?s residents do not want it.
"This is democracy at its most basic level and will be a real test of the style of leadership we can expect from Anna Bligh.
"Queenslanders were outraged by the gradual erosion of their participation rights under Peter Beattie ? from restrictions on accessing information under FOI, to special legislation to fast track projects without community consultation, to the final straw of not having a say on amalgamations.
"It's time for people to regain confidence in our system of government by knowing that their rights to speak out are protected, and that their voice will be heard. Voters don?t elect people to silence and ignore them, but to represent them," concluded Ms Waters.
Like Noosa Mayor Bob Abbott, Douglas Shire Mayor Mike Berwick has strongly opposed the opposed the amalgamation of Douglas Shire with Cairns City Council, which does not share Douglas Shire?s strong environmental protections.
Queensland Parliament passed legislation on 9 August 2007 to adopt the amalgamations recommended by the Local Government Reform Commission. Legislative amendments in Queensland Parliament would be required to overturn the Council amalgamations.
Premier Bligh has Labor's numbers in the Queensland Parliament to pass any such amendment and could easily do so before the new boundaries come into effect after the 15 March 2008 local government elections.
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