The Federal Budget:

Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition, writes: Re. “No chainsaw massacre, just modest cuts from Swan” (Budget Special Edition, item 1). The budget missed the one important point that should have been in the Treasurer’s opening sentence.

The Treasurer should have repeated PM Gillard’s election promise by saying: “There will be no carbon tax from any government of which I am Treasurer”.

If Tony Abbott’s reply today then says: “There will be no carbon tax under any government I lead” it would go down as a historic budget of national reconciliation which put the long term interests of Australia above party politics.

As it is, it is best described as “Same garbage, different flies”.

For too long now, investments in the electricity, steel, cement, fertiliser, metal refining and oil refining businesses have been put on ice while the Gillard/Green coalition conducts internal battles on how they can best resurrect Senator Wong’s failed carbon ration-and-tax scheme.

More investments will now be deferred or shelved because of legitimate fear and confusion as to the carbon tax – who pays, when, how much and what does the fine print say?

We now face more delays and uncertainty, more chance of electricity blackouts, and greater increases in the price of electricity, food and building materials.


Niall Clugston writes: Neil James (yesterday, comments) claims that early American support for al-Qaeda is a “myth that chronology and commonsense quickly disproves in detail”.  He says John Richardson has “confused the anti-Soviet mujahidin in Afghanistan with the Islamist al-Qaeda which later evolved from the fringes of non-Afghan veterans of that war”.

Let’s try some chronology and commonsense of our own. According to James, al-Qaeda was founded in 1989, the same year as the Soviet withdrawal, and three years before the fall of the Soviet-backed Najibullah regime.  That hardly qualifies as a later evolution.

Rather than being on the “fringes”, the pan-Islamic jihad was a key part of the US-Pakistan strategy against the USSR. If this wasn’t so, Osama bin Laden would never have achieved the stature that he did.  And it was fostering this movement that was the most significant assistance that America gave to him.

As for specific involvement by the CIA, Neil James can only dismiss this if he has read the classified files. Which I’m guessing he hasn’t.

Peter Fray

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