Jobs not quite keeping pace. An increase in part-time employment of 32,000 in January as reported today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics just failed to be enough to prevent the number of people unemployed increasing by 8900 people to 606,500.

The Bureau put the unemployment rate in January at 5.0% after an increase in the participation rate up from December level by 0.1 points to 65.9%. The ABS seasonally adjusted monthly aggregate hours worked series showed a decrease in January, down 12.7 million hours to 1,584.4 million hours.

Women getting left in the unemployment queue. One disturbing feature of the January unemployment figures is that the trend estimate of unemployed females is still on the rise. Male unemployment, meanwhile, continues to fall at a steady rate.

Our green future king. It’s almost enough to make a green republican turn monarchist. Prince Charles overnight delivered a speech on the consequences of the pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the environment that would have done Bob Brown proud.

Addressing the European Parliament climate change conference in Brussels His Royal Highness — see I’m writing like a monarchist already — warned about the pursuit of economic growth at the expense of the environment and condemned climate change sceptics for their ”corrosive” impact on public opinion.

I have to say, this process [towards an innovative approach to sustainability that actually saves money] has not exactly been helped by the corrosive effect on public opinion of those climate change sceptics who deny the vast body of scientific evidence that shows beyond any reasonable doubt that global warming has been exacerbated by human industrialized activity.

Their suggestion that hundreds of scientists around the world, and those who accept their dispassionate evidence — including presumably and gentlemen myself, rather ironically I am constantly accused of being anti-science — are somehow unconsciously biased creates the implication that many of us are, somehow, secretly conspiring to undermine and deliberately destroy the entire market-based capitalist system which now dominates the world!

I would ask how these people are going to face their grandchildren and admit to them that they actually failed their future; that they ignored all the clear warning signs by passing them off as merely part of a “cyclical process” that had happened many times before and was beyond our control; that they had refused to heed the desperate cries of those last remaining traditional societies throughout the world who warned consistently of catastrophe because they could read the signs of impending disintegration in the ever-more violent, extreme aberrations in the normally, harmonious patterns of Nature.

I wonder, will such people be held accountable at the end of the day for the absolute refusal to countenance a precautionary approach, for this plays I would suggest a most reckless game of roulette with the future inheritance of those who come after us? An inheritance that will be shaped by what you decide to do here in this Parliament.

A detailed summary of Prince Charles’ speech is on Crikey‘s The Stump website.

Inspiration from Romania for dealing with financial soothsayers and fortunetellers. If I have such a things as regular readers they perhaps have noted the scorn I regularly pour on that breed of economists working for financial institutions who earn a crust making irrelevant and normally quite wrong predictions about future economic events. (See Do banks actually pay economists to make comments like this? on The Stump blog for a recent example.) Well, I think I have discovered a way of putting a stop to  the media give space and air time to these irritating people.

What we need is legislation along the lines of that recently introduced in Romania where, a month after authorities began taxing them for their trade, the country’s soothsayers and fortunetellers are cursing a new bill that threatens fines or even prison if their predictions don’t come true.

A refreshingly robust Liberal Party. How wonderful to see that debate is still possible in a parliamentary political party. It has been a long time since we have seen different views about important subjects expressed openly as they are on the question of where spending cuts should be made so that a temporary flood tax is not necessary.

Just as the Liberals did not suffer from having a little policy stoush before the last election over emissions trading, they will not be punished for having an open and honest disagreement over foreign aid payments.