Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Day of the Endarkenment

Today is a dark day in Australian politics.

Today, the Palmer United party sold-out average Australians and sided with the Abbott-led Federal Government to repeal Australia's Carbon Tax.

At a time when the government is slashing benefits for pensioners and the unemployed because we can't afford it...

At a time when the government is proposing to slash funding to education because we can't afford it...

At a time when the government is proposing to slash health funding because we can't afford it...

At a time when that same government is proposing to impose a fee on the sick seeking treatment because we need the money...

At a time when the government is proposing to increase the debt burden of tertiary students, because we can't afford to support their education...

At a time when the Federal Government constantly whines that we have to tighten the belt and rid ourselves of any sense of entitlement, because we just don't have the money to continue due to a supposed budget black hole...

Today, the government has dumped a revenue-raising measure on the basis that it raises too much money.

Today is a dark day in Australian politics.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Vaccination - if only

I just watched a new video, produced by Richard Saunders, which features stories told by people who have been affected in some way by vaccine preventable diseases.

If you're wondering whether or not vaccination is for your kids, you should probably take a look.

I recommend clicking on the YouTube logo at the bottom-right of the video to view it at full size.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

QANTAS agrees with me on Carbon Tax

Just over a week ago, I wrote about Clive Palmer's apparent insistence that his party's support of any repeal of the Carbon Tax would be dependent on an assurance from the Federal Government that falls in electricity prices would be legislated.

At the time, I made the point that Tony Abbott is in no position to determine state-administered power prices.

Today, QANTAS has exquisitely illustrated the problem for Mr Palmer [my bolding]...

Qantas Airways has officially abandoned a “carbon surcharge” on its domestic and regional fares in anticipation of the likely repeal of the carbon tax.

However, the move is unlikely to result in lower airfares because the airline said the competitive nature of the domestic aviation market meant it had not been able to recover the cost of the carbon tax through price increases as originally intended.

And there we have it. The surcharge will go, but the ticket price will remain the same - for other reasons.

This is exactly what I contend will happen when the Carbon Tax repeal flows through to domestic power providers. State governments around the country will enjoy a reduction in their costs but there is no way to guarantee that saving will truly be passed on to consumers. Why would it?

Take note of your power costs today then compare them in a year or so and see just how much you save after this supposedly "toxic tax" is removed from the bill.

GRUMPY:

In other news, WA Premier Colin Barnett can't understand why West Australians are so grumpy after he's directly increased the cost of just about anything under his control and after other significant costs, such as housing, have also gone through the roof. And all this after we were promised we'd benefit from a massive mining boom.

He's also annoyed that people refer to him as "Emperor", just because he's busy spending billions on building monuments and killing sharks (against strong public opinion and for no useful purpose).

Maybe he'd be more comfortable with "Autocrat"?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Carbon Tax to go?

Reports late last week show "jubilant" Coalition members in federal parliament "celebrating" the passing of the Carbon Tax Repeal legislation in the Lower House.

Given the Coalition controls the Lower House and that repeal of the Carbon Tax was a key election promise (not that that means much to this Federal Government in other areas), I'm not sure why they were so apparently surprised they all voted for it. Every Coalition bill will pass the Lower House, election promise or not.

It appears, also, that the bill will likely pass the Senate with support of Clive Palmer's party...

"Mr Abbott met Mr Palmer on Thursday morning and emerged happy that the minor party's four upper house votes would support the abolition of the fixed price, subject to just one condition - a guarantee that the package would contain legislated assurances of cheaper electricity for households."

Of course, this isn't actually possible as the states control the price of electricity and, in WA at least, have been pushing it up on a regular basis for years, regardless of the Carbon Tax. Indeed, relative to all other increases, the Carbon Tax has had little effect on the domestic price of electricity.

How will anyone know if the Carbon Tax price effect has been appropriately accounted for when the bills just keep rising anyway? Ten percent off the bill this week, another fifteen percent back on the bill in a few months time. It's pointless.

Mr Palmer has, I'm afraid, been taken for a ride if he really thinks "legislated assurances" from the Abbott government have any value.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chaplaincy funding "unlawful"


The High Court has declared Federal Government funding of faith-based social workers in Australian public schools to be unlawful.

In a secular country like Australia, it's astonishing the High Court's time even had to be wasted considering this issue, but successive governments, including that headed by self-professed atheist Julia Gillard, have made it necessary.

Beyond pork-barrelling, there is no justifiable reason why a government should require counsellors to commit to an absolute belief in fairy tales, in order to qualify for government funding to provide psychological counselling to children.

It's obviously wrong - and the high Court seems to agree.

Let's see now if Abbott can separate church from state. But don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Leaving paid parental leave behind

With Federal Government backbenchers slowly finding the guts to openly oppose Tony Abbott's monstrously unfair paid parental leave scheme, there just might be hope for this government yet.

But not while Abbott is still at the helm.

At a time when pensioners, the sick, low-income families and students are being told the age of entitlement is over, Abbott's proposed baby bonus will see high-earning families handed $50,000 each just to have a baby.

This lifestyle-maintenance welfare payment is proposed by a government that declared an $800 school kids bonus to be unaffordable at a time when the country is facing a supposed budget crisis.

Under the "unaffordable" School Kids Bonus (SKB), any family, rich or poor, would receive a grand total of $6800 per child, paid over 12 years of schooling - an average of $570 a year.

Under Abbott's apparently affordable Baby Bonus scheme, a family would receive $50,000 (plus superannuation benefits, I understand) - over just six months - every time they take time off work to have a baby.

That's almost 100-times as much paid in six months as the SKB paid in a whole year, and around eight-nine times as much as the SKB paid over 12 years.

BUT, welfare recipients have to be high-earners to qualify for Abbott's full benefit. Low-income families are far less deserving and some families will likely get nothing.

And don't be fooled by arguments that this isn't welfare - that it's a "workplace entitlement".

Long-service leave is a workplace entitlement. Holiday pay is a workplace entitlement. Sick leave is a workplace entitlement. Superannuation is a workplace entitlement. And, unless you're employed by the Federal Government, the Federal Government does not pay these entitlements.

Abbott's Baby Bonus is not a workplace entitlement. If it was, employers would be paying it.

When the government pays someone to maintain their lifestyle after they've had a baby, it is welfare. It's arse-about-face welfare, in this case, as the richer you are, the more you get, but it's still welfare.

It might be designed to help keep-up payments on the boat and the late-model Landcruiser, and to ensure the recipient can still afford to dine out each week, but it's still welfare.

In other news, Joe Hockey has announced that he's willing to get tough with our democratically-elected Senate if they don't go along with his deceitful budget and has warned that a double-dissolution is on the table.

Good.

If the parliamentary Liberal party won't get rid of Abbott and Hockey after the mass-dumping of election promises in their very first budget, I guess it'll be up to the voters to do it for them.


Abbott government, joe hockey, double dissolution

MORE: Joe Hockeys complains "I just say to the critics, you want us to keep our election promises, now you're doing everything you can to stop us keeping our election promises."

Yes Joe, we want you to keep your election promises. But you haven't, you've broken rafts of promises already, so don't come crying to us about it now that you've found one you claim you want to keep. You had your chance and you blew it. So put on your big boy pants, cop it sweet and accept that your Baby Bonus scheme is more on the nose than the gilt-lined disposable nappies it would have helped pay for.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Anti-vax logic burns


clown shoes cartoon image

The following is an extended parody of a screed discovered on an anti-vaccination website. It is not to be taken at face value but gives some insight into what passes as (non)advice on such sites (it's a shame that I feel the need to point out that this is a parody, but I've seen dumber things taken seriously by people for whom critical thinking is all "critic", and no "thinking").

I just received a phone call from a crazed parent in La La Land who has been told to keep his slow-moving child home from preschool because of a 'suspected' case of fire started by a fast-moving child. There are a few things that were done improperly and I'm putting this here so that if anyone else finds themselves in the same situation, they will know what I think they ought to do even though I have no actual qualifications in this area and, on balance of probabilities, most likely have my facts wrong. And, just in case, I'm going to add a disclaimer that implies nothing that's written here has any useful value whatsoever and should probably be best ignored if you care about anything at all.

1- It was the preschool that told the father to take his child home - not the Fire Department. That is not their role. They are not fire fighters. The Fire Department should get the details from the school and contact the families of anyone in that child's class who is not able to run fast when they're told to.

2- The school staff were 'waiting with baseball bats to ambush' this father with his child and as soon as he showed up, they told him he had to leave. Again, this is not their role. They're just supposed to do what you, the fee-paying parent, think they should do and if you want your child to enter a burning building then they should respect that unless the Fire Department say they can't - even though the Fire Department doesn't know anything about fire anyway and is secretly in the pay of Big-Foam and Big-Water.

3- They told him that they are awaiting confirmation of a forensic test to see if the burning buildings were safe or not. Big no-no. Without confirmation, it isn't fire. If it's not fire, you don't send slow-moving children home. It's always better to be sorry than safe when dealing with potential danger.

4- When the father asked how long his child would have to be sent home for (with him paying full fees of course since there is a large confabulatorial side to this policy), he was told 'indefinitely'. Again, this is wrong (and I should know because I wasn't there). Slow-moving children should be excluded for 14 days after the last fire is extinguished or if there's an earthquake. If another fire is started in the next two weeks, that would extend the amount of time needed, but it is 2 weeks from the last fire so since the school staff, who don't know anything about fires, always know well in advance when the last fire will be put out, they should tell the parent straight away to bring the child back 14 days after whatever date that will be. I don't know why school staff pretend not to be clairvoyant when a quick search on whale.to proves they are all shape-shifting aliens with superpowers.

Of course, since fire is at its most dangerous (even though fire's natural so is never dangerous anyway - it's character-building) prior to the development of any cracks in the building structure (as is an earthquake, come to think of it, even though earthquakes are natural so are never dangerous either), excluding children - fast or slow - AFTER cracks have shown up could be considered foohardy - yes FOOhardy - at best - discriminatory at worst. It's like bolting the horse after the gate has gathered no moss.

But at least if you know your rights (and especially when you always know YOU'RE RIGHT), you will be able to stand up for them. Don't let anyone push you around - be an informed parent for yours and your family's own good. If you want your child to experience fire first hand, that's your right as a parent. No one has the right to dictate to you that your child isn't fast enough to run away from a burning building. No one ever died in a fire anyway since cars were invented, and those who did die could have been cured with homeopathy and fairy dust anyway. And only kids who can run fast have ever been killed by fire so why do preschools penalise slow-moving kids who have natural defences built up by natural exposure and who never ever get burnt and when they do it never hurts them because they're special because their parents know the TRUTH and don't drink the Big-Fire Koolaid?

Andy

This blog post doesn't necessarily reflect the opinion of the person who wrote it because, according to the person who wrote it, the person who wrote it isn't really the person who wrote it and even if he did, he still wouldn't believe any of the stuff he wrote in it anyway and neither should you, but it's your choice. Do your research.