Trigger warning:

This site may, in fact always will contain images and information likely to cause consternation, conniptions, distress, along with moderate to severe bedwetting among statists, wimps, wusses, politicians, lefties, green fascists, and creatures of the state who can't bear the thought of anything that disagrees with their jaded view of the world.

Apr 14, 2016

High speed rail; the new Eastern Suburbs Railway line

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement of the projected building of a high speed rail network up the East coast including regional centres will come as welcome relief to many traditionalists.  It is believed that it will probably replace the Eastern Suburbs Railway Line in Australian mythology.
For those not familiar with the ESRL, it was a line that was initially proposed in the late 1800s, planned in 1926, started, stopped, and promised at every election thereafter.  As such it became a part of our folklore until 1979 when it was completed by the Wran government, creating many idioms on the way.  Unemployment, for example was referred to as “working on the Eastern Suburbs line.”
Recognising the hole left in the Australian psyche by the lack of a never-never election promise, the Hawke government showed interest in the idea of high-speed rail as a politically viable though uneconomic alternative in the early 80s.  Most governments seeking re-election since then have backed the idea, which raises the possibility that in another thirty years or so, it could become an iconic promise.
At this point it will have to be either acted on or dropped, owing in this day and age to the risk of it becoming a heritage listed promise which would prevent any further action on it.
In the meantime though it will offer generous employment prospects for planners, researchers, study groups, lawyers, and think tanks, keeping them on the gravy train for the foreseeable future.
The lack of any implied commitment to HSR by the Turnbull government, raised concerns among some commentators that the government would rely on the newer, tried and tested pledge to adopt fiscal restraint, balance the budget and pay off the deficit. Economic restraint in the Liberal Party is showing signs of remaining a pipe dream for 50 – 100 years, with an accelerating rate of postponement already apparent. 
You must however respect the PMs desire to stick with tradition and offer the vision of sleepers and rails heading off into the sunset.
We need to be grateful that Hawkie came up with high speed rail rather than our own death star, an idea which is just so 80s.  Death stars, while offering the sort of kudos derived from commitments to spend a billion trillion gazillion dollars, tend to be more impractical than high speed rail. Sooner or later, everyone wants one and they lose their effectiveness when other nations realise that you wouldn't be stupid enough to blow yourself up in order to get your own way. 
This would probably happen sometime after the current crop of politicians leave office.
(UPDATE) The government has denied that this is how the idea got started:

Mar 23, 2015

Leyonhjelm calls Fraser condolence day a waste of time.

I often say after eight years in Washington, I longed for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood. – Fred Thompson. 

The Fraser years (1975 – 83) began with a feeling of euphoria at getting rid of Whitlam, followed by eight years of inertia, then a sense of relief when he was tossed out. 
Now on his death, parliament has been suspended for the day in order to allow those who despised him, or were despised by him, to wax lyrical on what a great bloke he was.  Irony is lost on these people. 
Liberal Democrat senator, David Leyonhjelm seems to be the only stand out on this: 
A crossbench senator says halting Parliament for a day to pay tribute to former prime minister Malcolm Fraser is a waste of time. 
 Question time and other parliamentary business has been cancelled in the House of Representatives and the Senate on Monday to give MPs an opportunity to make a speech about Mr Fraser, who died on Friday after a short illness. The former Liberal Party leader was 84.  
"We have an awful lot of work to do and we lose a whole day for condolence motions? It might be OK to stop for a few hours but losing a whole day I think is over the top," Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm told Fairfax Media.  "I hope Hawkey doesn't die, otherwise we'll never get any work done."  
The NSW libertarian senator said most Australians would agree with his view that the tributes were a waste of time. He said voters expected parliamentarians to be working, "not slacking".  
Senator Leyonhjelm also doubted many MPs would even want to give a speech about Mr Fraser and said he would not be adding his voice to the tributes. "He was a right-wing extremist when I first knew him and he was a left-wing extremist when he died," Senator Leyonhjelm said.  
"And my mum said, 'If you can't say anything good about someone, don't say anything at all.' " …
It is easy to understand David’s frustration given the hours of monotonous long-winded diatribes, most delivered with all of the sincerity of mafia dons at a funeral for one of their colleagues that they ordered the hit on. 

The Gettysburg Address, which is still regarded as one of the finest ever delivered in American history, contained 272 words and about two minutes to deliver. Most of our current crop would need several thousand words (repeating each talking point three times) and an hour to address an allowance motion to scratch their bums. 

Mar 22, 2015

Qld Cops target law-abiding drivers under ‘hoon’ laws

Image (R): A cop’s eye view of motoring enthusiasts.

 The late and unlamented LNP government in Queensland were masters at running scare campaigns in order to push through draconian laws attacking basic liberties.

 As an example, a fistfight among a few bikers outside a Gold Coast restaurant was turned into a national emergency necessitating immediate action to rectify the situation. The result was the brutal anti-association laws under the VLAD act under which having been a member of a declared club in the distant past could result in prosecution.

 In a similar vein, we were propagandized extensively on hoons doing burnouts and street racing on every road and street in the state, requiring anti hoon laws to bring us under control.

 The result was an act in which hoon was not mentioned nor defined, but gave the police more powers to harass motorists. 

These are being abused:
Although the LNP sold the laws as their tough “anti-hooning” policy, the term “hoon” is not referenced anywhere in the legislation. …  
 … Insp Krang said hardcore hoons were still active throughout the state but they were less prone to routine illegal meets in public because of increased enforcement of the laws. He said law-abiding motoring buffs who liked to “show and shine” their vehicles at sanctioned events should not be mistaken for hoons.  
 But law-abiding revheads have slammed hoons who tarnish their image, saying they are being unfairly targeted by police as a result. Downshift Australia has the largest gatherings of revheads in Australia, with two meets a month in Queensland. Director Matyas Fulop said police target people at his events for “trivial” offences.  
 “We’ve got people trying to come to a car meet that is properly organised, insured, on private property and away from residential housing,” he said. “They (police) come to our events looking for things wrong on the cars, they’ll say it’s their job, but really, is it?” … 
 Here is (now) Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm on similar issues at Summernats:

Nov 26, 2014

SFP stupidity causes Deer Association to recommend below the line voting in Victoria

Shooters and fishermen are by nature sensible, pragmatic, active people who brave the elements and government regulation in order to pursue their sport.  Both have to be so; they could come to grief quickly from any miscalculation or inattention. 
In order to protect what rights they have left, they have formed the Shooters and Fishers Party to try to develop some political clout.
Unfortunately, unlike the membership, this party seems to be run by a mob of tossers who through either crass stupidity, or deliberate bloody mindedness have developed a long history of favouring anti-gun parties over more shooting friendly ones.
As recently as the Western Australian senate rerun, they passed their preferences to HEMP, which has no affinity with shooters, then on to Palmer, whose candidate they were instrumental in electing.  (See count 31 and 35)  Palmer detests guns and has refused to work with Bob Katter because of that. 
Despite this, in the current Victorian election, SFP have given their first preference to PUP in three regions including two where shooters have a large presence.  In one of these, (Northern) the lead Palmer candidate previously stood as a Green. 
The concern that shooting enthusiasts may inadvertently elect supporters of gun control has caused the Australian Deer Association to advocate voting below the line.  Under Victorian electoral rules voters only have to vote for five candidates below the line: 
The how-to-vote cards demonstrate that the preferences of political parties do not necessarily reflect their policies and values. In fact, it appears that, in most cases, if they do so it is more by accident than by design. 
There are four parties which are pro- hunting and shooting contesting the elections this year: Australian Country AllianceThe Liberal DemocratsThe Nationals; andThe Shooters and Fishers Party. … 
The Shooters and Fishers Party, for example, have given their first preference in Eastern Victoria, Northern Victoria (the two regions where a party which supporters hunters and shooters and other users of public land have the best chance of being elected) and Western Victoria to the Palmer United Party. 
As we have highlighted elsewhere in this newsletter, Clive Palmer is 'anti-gun' and the Palmer Party’s main candidate in Northern Victoria was the Greens’ main Northern Victoria candidate in the 2010 state elections.  The Party’s second candidate ran as an independent in the 2004 federal election on an anti-logging platform. … 
The Liberal Democrats have given their first two preferences in Eastern Victoria to the Shooters and Fishers and Australian Country Alliance, their first preference to Country Alliance in Northern Victoria and their third in Western Victoria and their first preference to Shooters and Fishers in Western Victoria and their third in Northern Victoria. … 
… Unlike voting for the Senate in Federal elections, it is easy to vote below-the-line in the Victorian Upper House elections. All you need to do is mark at least the squares of five candidates with the numbers 1 to 5. After that you may fill in as many squares as you like with consecutive numbers. …
Follow the link to see recommendations on how to maximize the shooter friendly vote by going below the line, its simple and eliminates the danger of electing gun grabbers by mistake.
It is a shame that other shooting orientated organizations like the SSAA do not have the wit or foresight to come up with or support such ideas, but continue to blindly vote the SFP ticket in the mistaken belief that they are protecting the interests of their members.
An alternative to the advice above is to vote for the Liberal Democrats.  We have placed all shooter friendly parties above the majors, including the SFP in two regions but were duded by them on the agreement.  The Liberal Democrats have an excellent raft of shooter friendly policies, and have placed Palmer down at the bottom of the ticket with the Greens across the board. 

Oct 29, 2014

Cormann reaches for his pen and his phone

Cartoon: By Bill Leak  
President Obama has been accused of ruling by decree in our language or to use the US term, by executive orders.  
Under this system a king, emperor, dictator, autocrat, or sundry despot picks up the phone and orders that his will be done.
It seems now that the minister for finance, Mathias Cormann has caught the bug and is using his pen and his phone, (to use the President’s own term) to increase fuel excise without senate approval: 
MOTORISTS are set to pay a $4 billion increase in fuel tax over the next four years despite the Senate’s objections to the controversial budget measure as the Abbott government uses administrative powers to impose the change. 
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann declared the government would adjust the indexation in the belief the change would be legislated in due course, ensuring the revenue could be raised while the Senate argues over the bill. 
The change will take effect from 10 November when the fuel tax will rise from 38.143 cents per litre to 38.6 cents per litre. 
The national average price for unleaded petrol was about 1.52 a litre last week according to the Australian Institute of Petroleum. …
The Liberals and Nationals are playing a dangerous game here if they are relying on Green support to pass this legislation.  While the Greens would welcome any legislation that raised the cost of fuel out of the reach of the poor, they will be in the box seat to move their agenda forward.
They will undoubtedly aim to eliminate the fuel rebate to non-road users, something they have always had in mind.  The fuel tax was originally designed as a user pays system of financing highway construction, although only a small portion goes toward that purpose.  The rest is pissed against the wall and the Greens are smart enough to understand that the LNP are desperate enough to sacrifice the mining and agricultural industries if it is needed to buy votes.
The Liberals have come up with some Gillardesque spin in attempting to blame Shorten in advance for any attempt to block this effort.  They are claiming that if it is not passed, the revenue raised will go back to ‘big oil’ and it will be all his fault.  There is a slight element of truth in this as the tax raised will be paid by oil companies and passed on to consumers.  If it fails to pass, the revenue will go back to those companies, not to the consumers.
It is however, completely dishonest to blame the opposition for a circumstance created by a unilateral decision by the government to start taxing now and waiting for the umpires verdict.
It is worth noting that from the figures above, about 25% of the cost of a tank of fuel goes to the government and they want more.

Oct 3, 2014

Senate ‘Q&A’ style panel to investigate Qld government

Or: Beware of Greens bearing gifts

Cartoon: By Paul Zanetti 
About the only thing that inspires any confidence that the Newman government is doing anything right is that crony capitalist and white shoe brigade wannabe, Clive Palmer has an obsessive hatred of it.
After years of being in bed with the LNP and a major donor to it, Clive has spat the dummy after receiving unfavourable decisions on some of his projects. 

While most ex-mistresses settle for writing tell-all books or at least a series of well-paid television interviews, Clive has instead used his diminishing wealth to establish his own political party, which he uses to obstruct the federal government’s agenda and use as a stalking horse against the Newman government.
He has now done a deal with Labor and the Greens to set up an inquiry into the Queensland government: 
... Clive Palmer has been engaged in a bitter and long-running personal feud with Premier Campbell Newman and has now been given a significant weapon to use against him.  It is a loss for the Federal Government which had successfully seen off a previous attempt to establish the inquiry, arguing it was without legal precedent and overrides parliamentary convention. 
Over the next six months the committee will examine Queensland's use of Commonwealth funds, the administration of the state's judicial system, and questions around development and environmental approvals. 
The select committee, which will consist of five members but only one from the Coalition, has a reporting date on or before March 27 next year, very close to the date of the next Queensland election. 
Mr Newman is on holidays but issued a statement calling the inquiry a stunt. His federal counterparts said the inquiry would abuse an established principle that federal and state parliaments stay out of each other's business. 
Senator Eric Abetz, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, said it was part of Mr Palmer's vendetta against Mr Newman. "Basically it's a bitch session about Queensland," Senator Abetz said. …
The composition of the inquiry is very reminiscent of the ABC’s Q&A show in which one member of the right is confronted by three or four lefties plus the moderator.  In this case, the Liberals who have 33 senators have a single representative, Labor (25) have two, the Greens (10) have one, and PUP (3) also have one.
The inquiry was scuttled on an earlier attempt to set it up when the Liberals moved to include the Bligh Labor government’s activities as well.  This one was supposed to avoid such scrutiny.
In further developments, Labor and PUP have found they have been duded by the Greens
The backing of the Greens was crucial to the Palmer United Party’s third attempt to secure a Senate investi­gation into all ­aspects of Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s Liberal Nat­ional Party government. 
Greens senator for Queensland Larissa Waters denied her party had been caught up in what the Abbott government has dubbed Mr Palmer’s “personal vendetta’’ against Mr Newman. 
“The terms of reference that we’ve had included will ensure that we can look at not just the Newman government’s environmental track record but the dodgy coal-seam gas approvals under the Bligh (Labor) government, and also Mr Palmer’s own activities with his mega mines in the Galilee and his Yabulu refinery on the shores of the Great Barrier Reef,’’ Senator Waters said. 
Yabula is Australia’s highest emitting nickel refinery.  
The Newman government is taking legal advice on the inquiry, and is expected to turn the tables on PUP and use the Senate probe to retaliate and dump on Mr Palmer and Labor. ...
Palmer and Labor would do well to remember the old adage; beware of Greens bearing gifts.

Sep 24, 2014

Probable terrorist incident in Melbourne

Initial reports were of a stabbing of two police officers in suburban Melbourne, however as more information becomes available, there is little doubt that this incident is terrorist related: 
A MAN shot dead by police in Melbourne’s southeast tonight was a “person of interest” in a counter-terrorism operation and had been under surveillance for making threats against Prime Minister Tony Abbott. 
Senior intelligence sources confirmed he was among a number of people who have had their passports cancelled recently. 
A Victoria Police officer and Australian Federal Police agent involved in a joint agency investigation were stabbed by an occupant of a car they pulled over outside Endeavour Hlils police station about 7.40pm. 
It is believed the Victoria Police officer drew his gun and shot the alleged attacker dead.It is not known what the threat involved, or whether the man had been involved in planning some kind of attack.  It is understood the counter terrorism operation was aimed at detaining and questioning the man in relation to the threats. 
A bomb squad officer dressed in an explosives suit and bomb squad robot are combing the police station as forensic detectives comb the scene. 
The Prime Minister was tonight on a plane to New York from Canberra, where he will attend UN meetings dealing with the rising threat of Islamic State. 
A Monash Health spokeswoman confirmed one of the officers was taken to Dandenong Hospital in a stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries. He was expected to be discharged late tonight or tomorrow. The other was taken to The Alfred and his condition is unknown.
There are unconfirmed reports that the second officer is in a critical condition.  We wish him well and hope for a speedy recovery, and thank both of them for their effort on our behalf.
While it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the difference between random acts of drug, alcohol, insanity, or radical Islamic fueled acts of violence, this one appears to be the latter.
The passport cancellation is most likely the result of a reasonable suspicion that the person involved was attempting to leave the country in order to join foreign fighters in conflict zones.  Threats against the prime minister (or anyone else for that matter) are not to be tolerated and it is reasonable to suggest that the police officers were within their rights here.
While its possible that the suspect was playing with a couple of cards short of a full deck, or the odd fatwa short of a jihad, there are reasonable grounds to think that this is a terrorist incident.