CLARIFICATION: In yesterday’s Crikey, the author of “Crikey Clarifier: RECs — what on earth are they all about?” Evan Beaver, was by-lined as senior strategy adviser at the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy. Crikey wishes to make clear that Beaver offered his comments in a personal capacity and did not wish to be by-lined in association with the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy. The views stated were Beaver’s own and were not intended to represent the Centre. The mistake was made in the subbing process.

MySchools hides the real issues:

Mark Jones writes: Re. “The school league table we had to have” (yesterday, item 10). The MySchool website results state the obvious, disadvantaged students in poorer areas don’t do as well as middle class or rich areas. It’s all a nice distraction from the real issue, the failure of Federal and State governments to fund public education.

As a percentage of GDP expenditure on education has been falling in Australia (5.2% in 1995 to 4.6% in 2005) while countries that outperform us are increasing their expenditure. Coupled with this reduction is an increase in the proportion of this money going to non government schools.

The fact is the Rudd government has simply continued Howard’s legacy of undermining public education by continuing the SES funding model, currently $28 billion over 4 years. With support from non-government school lobbyists, such as the Independent Schools Council of Australia, continually the claim is made that non-government schools save the tax payer.

These claims are false. These lobbyists only focus on the actual cost not the opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is the opportunity forgone of not spending the money elsewhere, or in this case where the money is mostly needed. The non government sector also claims that removal of the $28 billion subsidy would result in a flood of students to the public system are also wrong.

Prior to the SES funding model around 26% of students were in non-government schools, this is now a little below 40%. Meaning that the majority of $28 billion, or around 70%, is subsidising those who were willing to pay regardless of the subsidy.

Howard’s model was nothing more than a vote buying exercise designed to give the illusion of choice when at best it subsidised the aspiring middle class instead of focussing on what would provide the greater rate of return, $1 extra in the non-government system or $1 extra in the public system.

Picking on the IPCC:

Tamas Calderwood writes: Re. “IPCC wants you: perks include threats and personal attacks” (yesterday, item 1). It is simply not good enough for the likes of Andy Pitman to moan that “many scientists don’t engage [with skeptics] because it takes up so much time that they should be devoting to research”.

The theory these scientists are peddling will radically transform our way of life and make billions of people poorer so you’d think they might deign to explain a few of the inconsistencies to us poor chumps (like the lack of statistically significant warming since 1995).  And why bother with more research anyway — isn’t the science settled?

But whatever, what really had me laughing was Pitman’s deadpan, unironic statement that “it can take seconds to lie convincingly but it can take days and weeks to show that it’s a lie”. Gee, what could we use to illustrate a point like that?  I know!  The IPCC! Himalayan glaciers to disappear by 2035!  40% of the Amazon threatened by global warming!  Global warming causes rising damage from intensifying storms!

The fourth IPCC report that peddled those “mistakes” was released in 2007 and they have been rehashed ever since.  There are at least 40 other references in that report with the same flaky sources so it is certain more of these stories will emerge.  If Pitman does nominate for that IPCC role again, perhaps his first task should be to check the sources behind all this “settled science”.

Ann Moore writes: I have just read your article on the IPCC request for authors and am very disappointed that Crikey is just as biased and partial as most other journalists/newspapers.

I am one of those that are not clear about climate change and would like access to truthful and valid facts as issues arising from the climate change theory are moral issues that affect all of us. I heard Christopher Monckton speak on Wednesday in Sydney and found what he had to say very disturbing but I also realised that I have to research the other view point.

Please try to read his talk with an open mind and also google “Chairman of IPCC” and read what is going on in relation to him and the IPCC which has been forced to withdraw some of its “facts” printed in its reports.  Something which we do not hear about.

I think what journalists and scientists of whatever persuasion must realise is that the community is not stupid and will only take a certain amount of journalistic hype.  The tone of your article does you no favours and tends to put the reader’s back up rather than to draw the reader to your point of view. I suggest that you read the article by Miranda Devine in the SMH dated 28.1.10.

Crikey, climate change and Clive:

Barry Everingham writes: Re. “Hamilton: Fran Kelly falls for Monckton’s media manipulation” (yesterday, item 9) Clive Hamilton did have a point to make but what if Fran was letting Monkton have his (d-ck) head and confirm what most people really think of him ? No doubt the interview would have warmed the cockles of Exxon-Mobiles heart but the Lunartariat of Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman and Janet Albrechtsen will be furious with Fran for being very un-ABC and not jumping all over his lordship.

Noel Whittaker writes: I am fed up with Crikey’s one dimensional view of the climate change debate.  How come that everything Clive Hamilton writes is fine, and everything Andrew Bolt writes is biased.  There was a fantastic article by Bjorn Lomborg in yesterday’s Australian.  There is not one single reference to it and yet he is a highly regarded expert in this area.

Donald Dowell writes: For those of you who like me, have always kicked themselves that they missed ‘The Good , the Bad and the Ugly’ tour by Warwick Capper, Mark “Jacko” Jackson and Roger Rogerson, despair not, for you probably can go to the Ian Plimer and Lord Monckton lecture in a town near you in the next month.


William Fettes writes: Re: “It’s called iPad, and Kindle is rooted” (yesterday, item 3). In regard to yesterday’s report by Stilgherrian on Apple’s new iPad, can we please hold off on the gushing tone? It’s bad enough that we get this from the mainstream media, we don’t need it from Crikey.

Though no doubt Apple will sell millions of the things, it is undeniably an unfortunately named device intended more for casual users who may not already know the joys of using netbooks and real smartphones.

Notably it is missing many features self-respecting power-users would expect in a next generation device such as integrated USB host, card reader, web cam, standard sim card support, 720p resolution, and multitasking beyond playing music in the background. Apple’s OS 4 may fix the multitasking issue, but like many Apple products, version 1 will rely more on strong design aesthetic and marketing cache than pure technical prowess to move units.

In this sense, it is quite far away from the geek chic revolution that Stilgherrian’s breathlessly exclaims about. Rather, it is much closer to being a super-sized iPod Touch than anything else. There’s nothing wrong with that, but let’s not get carried away by Apple’s marketing genius.

Its strengths are the well-designed tablet form factor, the wide-angle, capacitive touch IPS screen, and its compatibility with the existing App Store. Beyond that, the real story is Apple’s continuation of its business strategy of becoming a content platform monopoly into the arena of publishing.

Jill Fraser writes: Great news about the iPad… but how about if they address the glitches in Snow Leopard – and look after their current customers – before launching something else!

I bought a new MacBook Pro two weeks ago and am nearly at screaming point.. After a zillion calls and countless hours talking to Apple techs who blamed my installation I’ve now been told that the issue is Snow Leopard.

As a journalist I need reliability and a smooth, easy operating system.. Believe me, this is not what I have on my MacBook Pro!

The fact that I am even bothering to write to you about this tells me how bloody frustrated I am.

Rundle’s UK:

Simon Wilkins writes: Re. “Rundle’s UK: hell of a day for Chilcot, for Haiti, for remembering the Holocaust” (yesterday, item 2). Guy Rundle’s article make some interesting points (others have already blogged the glaring errors). However, I think it is important, especially given Guy’s discussion of the Holocaust as “alibi”, that someone point out (as has been reported in the NY Times) that countries other than the US and the UK are capable of assisting Haitians (and are in the process of doing so) — chief amongst them, with their experience dealing with regular disasters, being the Israelis.

On a lighter note, I would like to suggest a title for Guy’s movie adaptation: perhaps either “The Blair which resolution project”, or “(UN) defiance“, but I am sure your other readers can do better.

Abbott and his high horse:

Justin Templer writes: Re. Luke Walladge (yesterday, comments) The coverage of Tony Abbott’s interview with Women’s Weekly is all so yawn-inducingly predictable.  Now we have Sky News Contrarians correspondent and ALP apparatchik (disclosure issue?) Luke Walladge telling us that this was an official interview in Abbott’s official capacity.

It was Women’s Weekly, not Hansard, for God’s sake Luke — not exactly the official organ one would choose for major policy announcements.  All Abbott said was that he might suggest to a young woman that she not give away her virginity lightly — is this wrong?  And why the outrage, should he not have opined on this subject or do you think young women should give away their virginity lightly?

You choose to share with us that you are neither married nor a virgin — good on you, but is this meant to help us to usefully conclude on your sexual mores?  And please give us a break — can we bear a politician’s personal views without feeling that we will have a Sturm und Drang imposition of these views across the nation.

As example, Luke, many of us would prefer not to have the views of Sky News (or the ALP) on in the house but that doesn’t mean we’d legislate you out of a job.  Be grateful that Tony Abbott is actually a human being rather than a spinmeister in the unchanging cardboard cutout Rudd (I’m Kevin ’07, please continue to elect me) mould.

Max Laughton writes: Re: John Goldbaum (yesterday, comments). The inference that it is now OK to ask Tony Abbott’s daughters about their virginity because they have posed for a photo is absurd. Helping out their dad is a far cry from having their sexual habits outwardly discussed in the media.

Van Ruddical:

David Lodge writes: Re. “VRudd speaks: Why I dressed as the KKK for ‘Invasion Day‘” (yesterday, item 12). Why on earth does Crikey feel the need to allow left wing extremists such as Van Thanh Rudd such prime space to explain ridiculous protests?

More importantly, why can’t Crikey demand that such mindless protestors actually cogently argue such extremist views as accusations of racism against Tamil asylum seekers and genocide against Aboriginals? Even better, perhaps you could ask Van how he manages to do such protesting under our obviously harsh capitalist system that is so obviously oppressive.

Giving yet more coverage to these quite obviously mentally disturbed young people who have no values or ideals apart from high levels of self loathing is ultimately counter-productive. Why not give space to actual organisations fighting racism or even organisations fighting for the rights of asylum seekers (the latter of whom I vehemently disagree with on immigration policy, for the record).

Still, at least I can chuckle to myself that the vast majority of public opinion rightly sees such people as lunatics without a point.

Pining for Kevin11:

Chris Hallett writes: “Tips and Rumours” (yesterday, item 5). Forget Kevin 07. How about using “Kevin again in twenty-ten”?

Getting your Southerns crossed:

Marion Diamond, Associate Professor at the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics at The University of Queensland, writes: Re. Pru Sheaves (yesterday, comments)  Sorry to be pernickety, but if you look properly at the Lambing Flats flag (included in the link given by Pru Sheaves in her letter about Racism and the Southern Cross) it is NOT, or not only, based on the Eureka flag, but on the Confederate flag.  The Lambing Flats riots occurred in 1861, just as the Civil War was starting.  I’m not at all claiming that the gold fields miners weren’t racist – they largely were – but it would be a pity to unnecessarily malign the Eureka flag. Here’s a better version of the Lambing Flats flag:


Peter Fray

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