Lady MacGillard steps onto the electoral stage

Crikey readers weigh in on the wealthy giving money away, Julia Gillard blocking the leaks and how quickly immigrants seem to forget the similar plight of asylum seekers today.

Corrections The Victorian National Parks Association writes: Re. "What's the bigger threat to marine parks: fishing or oil spills?" (Friday, item 11) The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) strongly opposes oil exploration and drilling in marine national parks. Contrary to Crikey naturalist Lionel Elmore’s report, neither VNPA nor the Nature Conservation Review commissioned by VNPA, condone or recommend introducing a grading system into Marine Protected Areas to allow oil exploration or drilling in marine parks. VNPA believes oil exploration and drilling should not be allowed in Victoria’s national parks. Parks are for people and nature, not for oil and gas wells or mines. Just last month, VNPA voiced its strong opposition to a government decision to allow petroleum exploration in Victoria's Bay of Islands Coastal Park. Unfortunately, a loophole in the National Parks Act allows petroleum exploration even though new mining leases are banned. VNPA has advocated for the removal of this loophole to ensure Victoria’s national parks are protected and safeguarded for future generations. VNPA has commissioned a comprehensive scientific review of Victoria’s marine natural values and threats. One part of this two-year review, which is yet to be formally publicly released, identifies 20 priority areas for conservation. The report will be formally released in the next few weeks. A section of the review, which outlines the way the IUCN defines different types of marine protected areas, appears to have been misread by Mr Elmore as suggesting VNPA supports oil exploration in marine parks. This is not the case. Our position is, and always will be, national parks should be conservation reserves, and should be consistent with IUCN categories I to IV. That is, they should exclude extractive activities, including oil and gas exploration and drilling. VNPA is calling on the State Government to commit to protecting at least an additional 20 per cent of Victoria's waters in new marine national parks – highly protected areas where no extractive activity could occur. We are also calling for the government to undertake a comprehensive investigation of the state's marine environment through a Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) study or a similar open and transparent process where all parties have the opportunity to have input. Tip fail Malcolm Colless writes: Re. "Tips and Rumours" (July 12, item 5) Tips and Rumours suggested that I had spent the past year lobbying federal ministers "and others in government " to give the Australia Network international television broadcasting service currently managed by the ABC to Sky News. Wrong. I haven't lobbied anyone on this. What I have done as a freelance journalist is to argue in print that Australia Network should have more independence in its news gathering potential something which it does not have while tied the the ABC's apron strings. I believe that this is a fundamental issue which the Minister for Foreign Affairs in his current review of Australia Network should put to the ABC, Sky News and anyone else who believes they should manage this service. Rich Australians are mostly tight-wads Michael R. James writes: Re. "Our wealthy getting a free ride: time to start giving back" (Friday, item 5) To the commenter who sneered about suggestions of Australia’s mega-wealthy giving some of “their” wealth as socialist do-gooding and those fortunate individuals should be free to do what they want with “THEIR hard earned money”. “Their” wealth indeed when the previous richest family in Australia boast about their avoidance of tax and today mostly obtain their wealth via a massive immoral transfer from some of the poorest in their gambling dens. Daniel Petre’s article compares Australia’s rich with those elsewhere, such as the world’s two richest men Bill and Warren from that notable socialist state, USA. Much philanthropy in the US is not welfare or anything remotely socialist. Think some of the great universities -- Harvard, Stanford, Rockefeller, even Berkley, which unlike these others is a state institution but every second building has a plaque to Hearst as donor. Plus, many of the greatest research institutes: just a few in my field -- Salk Institute, Whitehead Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Beckman institutes etc. And also several of the world’s largest biomedical funding institutes -- Howard Hughes Research Institute; and in UK the Wellcome Trust, Atlantic Philanthropies and of course the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As it happens, Australia’s top biomedical research institutes owe either their origins to wealthy benefactors  -- Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, Garvan Institute and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute -- or their recent substantial expansion -- Queensland Institute of Medical Resarch, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Queensland Brain Institute and Diamantina Institute. The second list is the remarkable result of over $400M from one man: Chuck Feeney and his Atlantic Philanthropies. Yep, not an Australian but an Irish-American! (Incidentally the benefactor of the Murdoch Childrens is Dame Elizabeth not her son, who so far shows no inclination to follow in the footsteps of his American brethren billionaires.) Blocking the leak Chris Hunter writes: Re. "Rudd leak repayment in kind to Gillard -- but what about confidentiality?" (Friday, item 8) The way Julia Gillard rose at the question put to her by Laurie Oakes, kind of cobra like, suggests it would hardly be pleasant recounting her role as the plotter's 'hand' -- Kevin clearly didn't enjoy the moment, he was in shock and probably still is. Perhaps the sordid details are best kept in confidence, unless Kevin wishes to speak publicly -- as the victim. Andrew Haughton writes: Lady MacGillard steps on to the electoral stage just as Banquo's Ghost returns to Australia. A farce by Bill Shorten and other unknown writers. No sympathy for those who came after Melina Smith writes: It's interesting to note who and how the blue collar millionaire has become significant and their influence on social demographics in this election. These immigrants who have made money through clothing, food and other industries are among the first generation whose children now have become comfortable middle to upper middle- class voters with a conservative outlook. They are in senior government advisory positions and are in the upper echelons of various organisations in both the private and public realm, academia,health and social services. They are pulling the strings so to speak as the most influential demographic behind the scenes with well established networks to match. How sympathetic they've become today on asylum seeker policies and other issues like climate change is a moral test for them and of our times. Sustainablity Viv Forbes writes: Today’s buzz word is “sustainable”. A sustainable industry needs no government subsidies, mandates or exemptions. Warmists and subsidy entrepreneurs have created five unsustainable industries in gullible and guilt stricken western economies -- carbon sequestration, ethanol, solar/wind power, carbon forestry and the climate change industry Carbon geo-sequestration is the idea that we can alter global temperature by burying the carbon dioxide produced by industry. It is totally without merit yet consumes billions of dollars from taxpayers and shareholders. The production of ethanol motor fuel from food producing land may be sustainable in some special circumstances, but has been bloated into obesity by subsidies and mandates. It should be cut loose to stand or fall in the open market. The next unsustainable industry created with bipartisan support is solar/wind power. These energy sources are useful in certain circumstances but generation of network electricity is not one of them. They should be weaned off the subsidy teat. Carbon credits and re-growth clearing bans are creating another parasitic industry – the growth of carbon forests. These are destroying food production, will de-populate country towns but provide zero long term effect on carbon dioxide levels. Finally, climate change regulation, research and summiteering has become a mega-dollar, multi-national industry fed almost entirely on tax payer funds. Instead of government nannies lecturing us on which cars, light bulbs and appliances to buy, they should relieve tax payers and consumers of the dead weight of all five subsidy-sucking industries. The sun is setting on the unsustainable subsidy society.

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4 thoughts on “Lady MacGillard steps onto the electoral stage

  1. shepherdmarilyn

    I love the way Gillard is pandering to the selfish and ignorant about ‘our way of life”, which is?

    What precisely?

  2. Rohan

    What happended to the title Viv?

    Are you going solo?

  3. Jonathan Maddox

    For your information, Vivian Forbes, the planet has been subsidising the consumption of fossil fuels by providing various sinks for the resulting carbon dioxide without charging for the privilege. Users of fossil fuels do not pay for this “externality”. You’ll realise just how sustainable the carbon-emission-free energy industry is, when an appropriate carbon dioxide emission price is imposed on the users of fossil fuels.

  4. Michael R James

    Viv Forbes makes some fundamental confusions. The fossil fuel industries, and the 50 year old nuclear industry both continue to receive huge direct subsidies. In Australia (and especially look at Rudd’s frantic visit to WA just before his ouster) this is often in the form of “infrastructure” such as railways whose sole purpose–today or in the future–is to transport the coal or iron ore etc. Rudd was promising to give much of the tax back in this form.

    But the solar/wind example is pure nonsense. If fossil fuels were charged for their real cost to the environment (ie. a carbon tax etc) then wind power would be economic today, and indeed would not need further subsidy. Concentrated solar is also close. But ultimately solar-PV has huge benefits and is still in the realms of needing research to improve its efficiency and reduce its costs. Subsidies to the inefficient versions available today, while arguable, are partly about supporting the industry and its research efforts (some of which can only achieve lower costs under high volume manufacturing).

    Most high technology requires this government support. Almost everything Viv uses in her/his life was developed with government research funds before it moved out into industry. Is it so difficult to understand that this is the way it works–and has been proven to work over and over this past hundred years–because industry and publicly listed companies only invest when the risks are manageable with more certain outcomes.

    What we see exaggerated in Australia is a grotesque imbalance–billions into a loser (clean coal) but too little and inconsistent funding of much more promising technologies, namely solar-PV, concentrated solar, geothermal.

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