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.

Jul 30, 2014

WA Potato Marketing Corporation bites the dust

Cartoon: By R May 
It looks like Western Australia is sliding off into anarchy with the removal of another regulator.  The Potato Marketing Corporation appears to be heading towards the chopping block on the recommendation of the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) apparently at the behest of the Labor opposition.
Fears of rogue potato growers doing whatever they want and street vendors selling illicit potato products to unwary addicts in dark alleys have been dismissed: 
Arguably an anachronism in today's capitalist world, WA's Potato Marketing Act of 1946 - and its subsequent regulator, the Potato Marketing Corporation of WA - trace their history back to the shortages of the Great Depression and post-war food security. 
The corporation not only controls what potato varieties can be grown and sold, but who grows them and how much they are paid. 
It has the power to search premises, confiscate equipment and crops, and prosecute farmers - as rebel southwest potato grower Tony Galati has found over the years after being threatened with legal action for overplanting and trying to sell excess spuds cheaply. … 
… ''The Potato Marketing Corporation and Western Australia's absurd laws have stifled competition and denied choice to growers and consumers,'' Mr McGowan said.  ''No other Australian state has a body that decides what varieties of potatoes can be grown, who can grow them and at what price they can be sold. 
''It should be left to the growers to decide if they will grow a particular variety of potato.''Mr McGowan said the restrictive laws were responsible for some of Australia's highest potato prices and, of the 66 commercial varieties grown around the nation; only 13 were permitted in WA. 
''It would be comical if it wasn't so damaging to WA's economy and consumer and grower choice,'' he said. ...
Marketing authorities and regulations became popular after World War 2, possibly as a reaction to the demise of wartime rationing, fears of a free market renaissance, and a need to find spots for all of those bureaucrats likely to be left with nothing to interfere with.
Both Labor and the Liberal and Country Party, (now National Party or LNP) were very keen on the idea; the difference being that while Labor aimed to control production, distribution, and marketing of products, the conservatives chose to regulate it.  There was little difference in the result.
During the 60s, and 70s, the most heinous crimes you could commit in Queensland on the basis of penalties, were breaches of national Party orderly marketing regulations. 

Jul 23, 2014

Newman government backtracks

"In retrospect it becomes clear that hindsight is definitely overrated!" Alfred E. Neuman. (No relation to Campbell)
Cartoon: By R May
In the wake of their second crushing by-election defeat, the Newman government has decided to reverse some of its more controversial, or at least idiotic decisions made in the last couple of years.
It’s sometimes said that the first step to recovery is to admit that you have a problem.  The government seems to be doing this, which is something we should give them credit for.
Their task is made more difficult though, in that they apparently have little idea what the problem really is: 
Mr Newman left the door open to wind back other controversial decisions. …
… “They want us to have a good relationship with the judiciary, they want those sort of arguments to cease and desist and they want the focus of everyone to working for Queenslanders.” 
The Courier-Mail had earlier revealed Cabinet would today discuss scrapping several of the most contentious elements of reforms to Queensland’s corruption watchdog and tough anti-bikie legislation. 
The Queensland Premier spent yesterday briefing senior LNP MPs on his plans after the Government suffered a massive 18.6 per cent swing against it in Stafford. 
It is understood the Government will reintroduce a bipartisan appointments process for the chair of the newly named Crime and Corruption Commission. 
The controversial decision by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie to remove the bipartisan parliamentary committee’s role in appointments was heavily condemned by former corruption inquiry head Tony Fitzgerald in one of his numerous salvos at the Newman Government. 
Cabinet will also discuss removing some of the harshest aspects of the criminal motorcycle gang legislation that Mr Newman has repeatedly insisted he does not like but were an important weapon in the war against rebel bikies. 
It is also understood Cabinet members have been assured there will be no reshuffle and each will fight on to the election and be tasked with better selling the Government’s achievements. 
A senior Government source last night said Mr Newman had briefed colleagues that the Stafford result showed the Government’s pace and extent of reform had worried Queenslanders and they must now act. …
The problem with the biker laws is not pink jumpsuits, nor isolation of these prisoners as the LNP seems to believe.  The entire act is draconian, from its aim of outlawing the act of associating through to huge penalties for being, or having been a member of an organization since declared criminal.  There were already sufficient laws to do with all aspects of criminality among these groups; making these laws unnecessary.
The idea of 15 – 25 year mandatory prison sentences for being, or having once been, a member of a currently declared organization is an anathema to fair minded Australians, and have no place in a free society.
Asset sales are going to have to be done and should be.  In a modern nation state there is really no reason for the government to run commercial enterprises.  On budgetary issues they have been respectable, although they have not yet produced a surplus.
Since taking office just over two years ago, the Queensland government has been something of a showpiece in how not to do it.  A massive majority seemed to convince the LNP that it was immortal and could act in any way it pleased, and it did.
The massive loss in the Redcliffe by-election earlier this year taught it nothing other than to pay lip service with “We’re listening.”
There is probably little likelihood of a Labor win in next year’s election; that would require a stunning turn-around in a state still suffering from buyer’s remorse from the Labor years. 
The real danger though, is where protest votes from the sizable chunk of voters who find the LNP no better will go. 
Palmer United is the elephant in the room here.  Well funded, widely publicized, under scrutinized, and led by a populist with a pathological hatred of Newman, it’s potential to hold the balance of power and render the state government unworkable should not be underestimated.
It is difficult to understand why a government that is not travelling well in the polls and by-elections would rule out a ministerial reshuffle. 
Newman needs to reconsider this, given that the issues he wants to change are all the products of one minister, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie. 
Bleijie had two years since his law degree in a provincial law firm doing ‘commercial law’, (read conveyencing work) when he was elected to state parliament.  With the training wheels barely off his work practice, he was made Shadow Attorney General.  It is hardly surprising that this guy’s screw-ups have overshadowed anything that the government has actually done.
Newman really needs to tramp him.

Jul 17, 2014

James McGrath; another ‘Libertarian’ senator?

On the basis of Senator James McGrath’s maiden speech he has a lot going for him among libertarians. Some of his views are straight from the Liberal Democrat’s playbook, while others are consistent with our aims:
Getting rid of compulsory student union fees isa step in the right direction.  The idea that an organisation be allowed to charge a compulsory fee on those it claims to represent because of their employment or other status is akin to granting ownership of those people or allowing a taxation power over them.
Having a senator with a strong commitment to freedom of speech is a welcome addition to a house that sadly lacks many members who have either an understanding, or real commitment to the concept.  It will be interesting to see how many qualifications he puts on it, given that the LNP tends to be rather PC whipped and timorous on the issue.

His support for the abolition of the federal departments of Health, and Education are basically the same as the LDP case and for the same reasons.  Neither of them actually run a school or hospital and merely intrude on what is a state responsibility.
There are though a number of other departments and bodies that need the axe, the Department of Climate Change, being one that immediately comes to mind, as well as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.  The first is designed to engage in histrionics on Global Warming, while the latter helps the new generation of carpetbaggers to invest in more expensive green energy that is compulsorily sold off to consumers under a government mandate.
There is no place in a free society for the government picking winners or engaging in social engineering.
This raises the issue of his call to increase the GST by 50% and extend it to cover all purchases including food ‘with compensation for low income earners’.  While the taxes he mentions need to be abolished or reduced, especially payroll tax, slimming down the federal government and passing some of the savings to the states would be a better idea than a tax increase.
The idea of a consumption tax replacing stupid and iniquitous ones like payroll tax is admirable however, these taxes were supposed to be abolished under the original GST proposal, but weren’t. This seems to be rewarding bad behaviour by the states. 
Low-income earners need just as much basic foodstuffs as the rich although perhaps at a lesser quality.  There seems little point in increasing the price by 15%, then compensating them for it.  This merely creates churn, which requires more public servants to administer the scheme.
GST funding is not distributed rationally among states but is rather sent out on the basis of ‘each according to his ability, to each according to his need’, which would have to be reformed for any sort of fairness to exist.
Another problem is the ABC.  While he correctly makes the case for it to be sold or abolished, he claims that it should be done as some sort of penalty for left wing bias.  In an age where there are numerous sources of commercial TV and radio entertainment there seems to be little reason to spend over a billion dollars per year providing a government network to compete with that.
It’s rather irrelevant that it’s left wing; that is merely the consequence of being a state media entity dedicated to providing ‘high brow’ stuff that the ‘common heard’ doesn’t require and is therefore not catered fo by commercial networks.  We don’t need it.
The senate will be better for having this guy in it depending on whether he follows through, or merely votes the party line, good or bad.  

Jul 12, 2014

Leyonhjelm inspires another cartoonist

Giving inspiration to cartoonists can be a mixed blessing, frequently a negative one, even a brutal experience.  Still, if it is a good likeness, your name is spelt right, and whatever it is highlighting is not a really bad, it can be as good as a big advertising budget for getting your name out there.
LDP Senator, David Leyonhjelm has come off very well, getting the cover of The Spectator Australia on his election.

It is understood that the original is proudly displayed in his office.

Recently he was seen commenting on how we have a government he likened to Godzilla, a reasonable assessment of the enormous burden of the state on the population with its attendant pernicious imposition of itself into every aspect of our daily lives as well as our wallets in order to fund its depredations.

This appears to have inspired well known cartoonist Stephen Zeg Gunnell (Zeg) to come up with his offering on the subject, which rather than Godzilla uses the theme of David and Goliath to illustrate this situation and David's role in opposing it.


Jul 10, 2014

First Australian senator elected on libertarian platform gives his maiden speech

All of Australia’s libertarians are feeling the joy today with the maiden speech of David Leyonhjelm in the senate this afternoon.  We have had to wait for nine months since his election last September, for this moment.
This is the first time in Australia’s history that a libertarian party has elected anyone into federal politics. Here is what he had to say:
This has been the culmination of a long haul for many of us.  From a personal standpoint I have pursued libertarian politics since the mid 70s with the formation of the Progress Party, and later with the Liberal Democratic Party.  A few others have been at it longer, as the Workers Party preceded the Progress Party.
Nonetheless, 40 years is a long wait.  Those years have flown by like a stack of papers caught in the breeze since I first walked into a meeting called by a group that inspired me with their message; that we should control the government, rather than have it control us.
Today might seem like a culmination, but as David says, “There is much to be done.”  And as Churchill said, “This is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.”
Lets all work to take control and hand that control back to where it belongs; in the hands of the individual. 

Jul 1, 2014

Viv Forbes gets some global warming; Al Gore gets duped

Ever since Viv Forbes of Carbon Sense moved out to Rosewood, he has been complaining every winter about needing a bit of that new fangled global warming.
Apparently the Bureau of Meteorology has listened to him and decided to do something about it by revising and adjusting the records to make it warmer.  He reports:
We live at Rosevale, just over the hills from the Amberley air base. We have just been subjected to retrospective global warming by the keepers of the Amberley temperature record - Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. 
Until 2012, our official temperature records showed we had been in a cooling trend since records started in 1941. In 2012, BOM “adjusted” the original records and, lo, now we are suffering a global warming trend. 
More here
I’ve been telling him for years that he needs to keep up the complaints; a squeaky wheel gets the most grease.  Now he can turn down that electric blanket.
Gore duped
Clive Palmer, founder of the Palmer United Party, caused a fair bit of consternation among the Liberals and the population at large by announcing that he would be releasing his policy on carbon tax repeal with Al Gore at a press conference. (Aussies love parties with someone’s name attached to them, something believed to have been imported from the Peronists in Argentina.)
PUP went into the election with a policy of repealing the carbon tax, but Palmer’s policies change pretty much on whim.  Clive turned up at parliament house for a week in his own Rolls Royce and other expensive cars claiming to be saving taxpayers money.  The following week, he was in a chauffeur driven commonwealth car, which he claimed, was because of his duty to keep Australians employed.
There was good reason to think that the presence of Gore during the announcement meant that Palmer had had another change of heart and would oppose abolition of the tax.
Instead we witnessed the bizarre spectacle of the world’s greatest climate frantic and advocate of punishing energy consumers, Al Gore standing beside a mining billionaire who was announcing that his party would be voting to abolish the carbon tax. 
The question on everybody’s lips is, did he sell out or was he rolled?
Gore charges quite substantial appearance fees and his presence may have cost Clive a pretty penny.  His Chinese partners should keep an eye on those accounts that he can access for $250,000 withdrawals.
The answer is probably neither, rather the two of them got together to do a dirty deal whereby Clive was given an indulgence on axing the carbon tax, which costs him $6 million per year on his nickel refinery alone, as well as blocking Abbott’s idiotic Alternative action plan, in exchange for retaining the renewable energy target and the Bob Brown Bank or Clean Energy Finance Corporation, both of which benefit Gore. 
The CEFC is there to help finance crony capitalists and rent seekers in the green energy field to milk the RET by building costly wind and solar farms which survive by selling expensive and unreliable energy at a higher price to consumers under a mandated arrangement from the government.
Gore is a co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, which manages and advises on green investments of the kind Gore’s climate scaremongering helps whip up. 
Among the businesses it “participates” in is Australia’s $1 trillion Investor Group on Climate Change, which comprises Goldman Sachs and many of our bigger super funds.  Those funds invest big in renewable energy and are scared the Government will soon slash or scrap the Renewable Energy Target, which forces electricity suppliers to use more expensive wind and solar power. 
IGCC has protested that “changes to the RET scheme could undermine the value returns on investments made to date” and “we do not favour any changes”.
This entire arrangement is an agreement between two carpet baggers, one selling green investments on the pretext of a scare campaign that he has championed, and another who is in the position to benefit from the repeal of a tax that if Gore was even moderately honest, he would do everything possible to retain.
The press conference says a lot about both parties, none of it complimentary.