Open Forum: April 14, 2018

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1,427 Responses to Open Forum: April 14, 2018

  1. Tel

    But most of that should be placed at the feet of Prussian militarism and the shadow it cast over the post-Napoleonic Deutscher Bund.

    Note the “post-Napoleonic” because Prussian militarism was largely a reaction to Napoleon’s army conquering all those isolated German Duchies and Burgs and the Prussians said, “Well, we’ll see about that!”

  2. Eyrie

    Mrs Eyrie and I went to the market in Queen’s park , Toowoomba, today. Nice day, warm SW wind, blue sky, a few cumulus clouds.
    Lots of hippy – dippy types, organic everything etc etc but things have come to a pretty pass when pirates are allowed to openly advertise. Sea Shepherd had a stand “manned” by several swampfilth characters.

  3. Infidel Tiger

    The world’s most cowardly people: Swedes or Irish?

  4. Eyrie

    “Petra Kelly, an 8 out of 10”
    Evil bitch.

  5. cohenite

    Not yesterday. He was here in Newcastle yowling against seismic testing for oil and gas off the coast.

    Many there BoN? I daresay the NMH will be salivating in its reporting on Monday.

  6. Rae

    Was that the election where the (unofficial) campaign slogan was “They Can’t Lick Our Dick?”

    Only in your dreams, Old Sot.

    calli needs to read some American history. Richard Nixon, Alger Hiss. Tricky Dicky was always a sleazebag, and proved it in spades while in office. His “I am not a crook” was laughable. Quaker, too. Dislike of him was never anything to do with the Kennedys.

  7. Eyrie

    “The world’s most cowardly people: Swedes or Irish?”

    The “Wild Geese” did OK for a while, IT. I guess that make it the Swedes.

  8. Entropy

    The Russians claim to have copies of analysis result reports produced for the OPCW which found that the military-grade nerve agents were not those of the Russian Novichok Program but were other agents- those designed by “Western” agencies.

    So the Syrians really did it then. I suspected it wasn’t actually chemical attack, but there you go. And btw, Western spy agencies would have used the Russian shit.

  9. JC

    Leo G
    #2687429, posted on April 15, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    The OPCW’s (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) report confirmed British findings that the Skripals were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent, but didn’t say who was responsible.

    The Russians claim to have copies of analysis result reports produced for the OPCW which found that the military-grade nerve agents were not those of the Russian Novichok Program but were other agents- those designed by “Western” agencies.

    You know Leo, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I really had a doubt in my mind watching a bunch of Syrians hosing themselves off. It really looked staged to me. But it’s only a hunch.
    https://globalnews.ca/video/4130961/victims-of-suspected-gas-attack-in-syria-hosed-down-as-damascus-denies

  10. egg_

    Kennedy’s later years have been shaped by chronic alcoholism, which had developed during her marriage.

    Apart from a brief relationship shortly after her divorce, she has neither remarried nor pursued another relationship.[3] She attended Ted’s funeral at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port.[17] As of 2005, she resides in Boston, Massachusetts, and Cape Cod.[2]

    Who’d be a Kennedy woman?
    Cheryl Hines recently made that potentially fatal mistake.

  11. Entropy

    You know Leo, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I really had a doubt in my mind watching a bunch of Syrians hosing themselves off. It really looked staged to me. But it’s only a hunch.
    https://globalnews.ca/video/4130961/victims-of-suspected-gas-attack-in-syria-hosed-down-as-damascus-denies

    Agreed JC. That is why I had doubts.

  12. Bruce of Newcastle

    This is the way the Greens end

    Here’s another way that Greens end.

    Green activist lawyer burns himself to death to protest global warming

    A green activist who was a pioneering lawyer for gay and transgender rights — including in the infamous “Boys Don’t Cry” murder case — committed suicide by setting himself on fire Saturday morning in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

    In a gruesome protest against the ecological destruction of the earth, David Buckel, 60, left behind a charred corpse and a typed suicide note that said he was burning himself to death using “fossil fuel” to reflect how mankind was likewise killing itself, police sources said.

    Last I looked there was still no global warming for the last 16 years, so it’s sad to see someone so religiously far off their tree to do something like this.

  13. JC

    cohenite
    #2687433, posted on April 15, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    NAZIS and greens:

    https://canadafreepress.com/article/nazi-dreams-were-green-dreams

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2011/07/the_green_nazi_deep_ecology_of_martin_heidegger.html

    http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2011/07/eco-fascism-the-greens/

    And who can forget the proposal by the greens in Australia to tattoo sceptics (deniers).

    Fair’s fair, Cohenite at his best, or rather least worst. This is when I like Cohenite’s comments.

    Cohenite, where are Durkin’s essays as I can’t find them on the site I Faved.

  14. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    Israeli journalist on the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia, Europe

  15. nemkat

    The World’s most cowardly people are pussywhipped Australian men
    Swedes and Irishmen are Alpha males in comparison.

  16. stackja

    John F. Kennedy Jr. plane crash
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Kennedy died when his airplane he was flying crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Kennedy’s wife, Carolyn Bessette, and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, were also on board and died.

  17. Bruce of Newcastle

    Many there BoN?

    Cohenite – I only saw the report on the local news.

    HUNDREDS RALLY AGAINST SEISMIC TESTING OFF NEWCASTLE

  18. Percy Porcelain

    A “Legislative Legend

    No, kiddies – that is not who you want be when you finally leave university, childless and with a state debt of $400,000 at age 37.

  19. calli

    Yes musfit one of my comments stick in moderation points out that most European countries do have a steak church.

    I love that software, None. Don’t give it away.

    A steak church sounds great. Meaty, savoury sermons. They just have to mind the sauce.

  20. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    A green activist who was a pioneering lawyer for gay and transgender rights — including in the infamous “Boys Don’t Cry” murder case — committed suicide by setting himself on fire Saturday morning in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

    That’s the ticket, I have been advocating this form of protests to leftoids for years, bring your kebab skewers folks.

  21. Percy Porcelain

    Green activist lawyer burns himself to death to protest global warming

    LOL.

  22. cohenite

    Cohenite, where are Durkin’s essays as I can’t find them on the site I Faved.

    I assume you mean Martin Durkin:

    https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/great-global-warming-swindle/

  23. cohenite

    Cohenite – I only saw the report on the local news.

    HUNDREDS RALLY AGAINST SEISMIC TESTING OFF NEWCASTLE

    I know some of those cretins.

  24. Percy Porcelain

    Turn, Turn, Turn

    Let those twelve strings chime.

  25. John Constantine

    If America’s Germans hadn’t been quicker at building atomic weapons than the Nazi Germans were, Europe would be different today.

  26. ‘actively seeking martyrdom’?

    I don’t know that refusing to worship Caesar could be interpreted as deliberate suicide.

    Unless you are a post modern.

  27. JC

    Yes conhenite, Martie.

    But he wrote some essays that are no longer at the site. I wasn’t talking about the vid, but the essays.

  28. 132andBush

    Cohenite, BoN and others.
    This bloke is worth a look.
    Went to his presentation the other night.
    Called the C02 driven climate scam a “load of crap” and the BOM “corrupt” then went on to explain why.
    Explained IOD, PDO, ADO, MJO, Antarctic influences, the Jetstream, solar cycles and more.
    He’s calling a late break this year (June).
    Excellent with no mincing of words.

  29. 132andBush

    Green activist lawyer burns himself to death to protest global warming

    Too stupid to survive.

  30. Tintarella di Luna

    Because I am prepared to spding a couple of hundred on seeing a movie with her in Perth, but not a couple of thousand on seeing it with her in Sinny, Tinta.

    Dr BeauGan, you are very sensible and I am sure Spiky appreciates you all the more for it.

  31. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    If America’s Germans hadn’t been quicker at building atomic weapons than the Nazi Germans were, Europe would be different today.

    If America’s Germans had been much quicker, would the first atomic weapons have been dropped on Berlin and Munich, rather then Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

  32. cohenite

    132andBush

    #2687465, posted on April 15, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks. I don’t know Anthony personally but some of the behind the scenes people have mentioned him. I’ll pass on his web page.

    For me, out of all the contradictions of alarmism is the fact infrared, the type of radiation CO2 is sensitive to under Earth conditions, cannot heat the ocean.

  33. Tintarella di Luna

    I’m not plotting with Dutton, says Tony Abbott

    That’s polliespeak for _ Dutton’s plotting with me.

  34. Leo G

    Green activist lawyer burns himself to death to protest global warming

    Demonstrating the degeneracy of green ideology?

  35. Rockdoctor

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #2687452, posted on April 15, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Know the picture is far from Panoramic but sigh, sure looks like hundreds to me…

  36. cohenite

    I vaguely remember some writing by Martin but there are no links to them at the Climate Sceptics site. In fact I don’t know what has happened to Martin since his film and he was eviscerated by that prick Tony Jones on [email protected]

  37. egg_

    Tannenbaum and Keough may have joined Kennedy in the launch back to the hotel, leaving Gargan to take care of things back at the cottage, as Esther Newberg repeatedly stated to the Press that there were only 3 girls in the cottage overnight.

    Gargan probably drove them to the launch in the white Valiant, rather than searching the murky creek waters that they likely had no knowledge of at the time. This may have been when Kennedy called his minders to report Mary Jo and the Oldsmobile missing (and the cop witness) and asked for advice.

  38. JC

    ….what has happened to Martin since his film and he was eviscerated by that prick Tony Jones on [email protected]

    Explain, what happened?

  39. egg_

    I’m not plotting with Dutton, says Tony Abbott

    The Prime Minister has my complete support.
    /Winx

  40. Nick

    That’s polliespeak for _ Dutton’s plotting with me.

    Lol

  41. cohenite

    Jones had a stacked deck as usual and controlled the questioning. Even Bob Carter who was supporting Durkin couldn’t get much of a word in edgewise.

  42. Entropy

    ndBush
    #2687465, posted on April 15, 2018 at 7:34 pm
    Cohenite, BoN and others.
    This bloke is worth a look.
    Went to his presentation the other night.
    Called the C02 driven climate scam a “load of crap” and the BOM “corrupt” then went on to explain why.
    Explained IOD, PDO, ADO, MJO, Antarctic influences, the Jetstream, solar cycles and more.
    He’s calling a late break this year (June).
    Excellent with no mincing of words

    Did this dude explain how he does his forecasts? Because I can’t see any explanation on his website.

  43. Farmer Gez

    Don’t get too excited about AV Weather 123.
    He’s on the right page with climate change but I wouldn’t pay money for an educated guess.

  44. Entropy

    cohenite
    #2687478, posted on April 15, 2018 at 7:57 pm
    Jones had a stacked deck as usual and controlled the questioning. Even Bob Carter who was supporting Durkin couldn’t get much of a word in edgewise

    Yes, it as clear from the get go that he was going to get a fair shake of the sauce bottle.

  45. stackja

    Q&A, unfair. I am shocked!

  46. OldOzzie

    GRAHAM RICHARDSON
    Another major disaster bedevils Coalition under Berejiklian

    The reasons that caused the implosion of the high-flying Mike Baird as premier of NSW are still being felt by his successors. The greyhound racing ban and council amalgamations had to be ditched, but not before the Nationals lost Orange to the Fishers and Shooters Party with a 20 per cent swing.

    Other by-elections followed, where the hapless new Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, became so accustomed to 20 per cent swings that she tried to spin 20 per cent as a “normal” swing against a government in a by-election. It may be normal in her time as Premier but the average swing is only 8.8 per cent in two-party-preferred and 5 per cent on first preferences.

    The Liberals have always prided themselves on being superior financial managers to Labor. Berejiklian may single-handedly be trashing that reputation. Way back in December 2014, it was all beer and skittles as Baird and Berejiklian announced construction of the Sydney light rail. It was to run from Randwick to Circular Quay and would alleviate traffic in the city and its inner suburbs. Before a sod of earth was turned, modelling showed the new light rail would not be able to handle peak-hour commuter numbers. That was the first problem to beset this doomed project.

    If you walk down George Street today, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in Beirut or Homs. While the project stalls, Spanish contractor Acciona and the NSW government are in the midst of name calling and bitter recriminations. A court battle looms that could leave the government in more than a $1 billion hole. The dog’s breakfast of contracts Berejiklian got NSW into means the government cannot remove Acciona from the project. The $2.1bn contract to build the light rail is with ALTRAC, a consortium of four contractors.

    Drive along the route of this line and you will see the promised completion date of capital works, this month (current estimates have passenger services starting next year), is not much more than a sick joke. The laying of track is in a similarly hopeless position.

    The Auditor-General’s report into the light rail in 2016 said: “The government presented a business case with an inadequate economic appraisal. The $517 million increase was caused by misprising and omissions in the business case. The economic appraisal with the final business case underestimated costs and over-estimated benefits”.

    To offset its awful failure, the government resorted to its traditional method — it lied.

    Nobody knows how many businesses have gone broke.

    This whole project is a debacle. The Premier’s fingerprints are all over it. She was there at the start and now wonders why her Transport Minister Andrew Constance won’t take ownership. Maybe he isn’t a total dill after all.

  47. stackja

    I thought Latham was a fruitcake. Turns out he’s a racist
    Claire Harvey
    Claire Harvey
    April 15, 2018 12:00am
    Subscriber only
    I TRY to ignore Mark Latham.

    I really do.

    I’ve encountered the bloke only a few times in person, thank God, and the last encounter — a panel show on Sky News — left me feeling he was unspeakably rude, and hoping I would never see or hear from him again.

    He laid into me live on air about some beef he had with one of my colleagues. I sputtered something inarticulate in reply for about the time it took me to realise I was being insulted about something I had nothing to do with by someone I’d previously spent zero time thinking about.

    That’s Latham’s style: drive-by abuse of people who have previously had little reason to be aware of his existence, and who therefore are entirely unprepared to respond to a spittle-spraying, vein-popping stranger.

    He thrives on attention — negative, preferably. It suits his victim worldview, as self-appointed spokesman for the oppressed white heterosexual Christian male, et cetera. He rails about the outrage industry while being perpetually outraged that people have the effrontery to be gay or female or, you now, considerate, on his planet.

    I certainly never intended to write about him. But then, this week, he racially insulted one of my colleagues, and I want the world to know.

    Here’s the backstory.

    Jamie Pandaram, one of Australia’s finest sports reporters and a Walkley Award winner, was on Twitter this week talking about rugby player Israel Folau, who has attracted controversy by saying he believes gay people will go to Hell unless they ‘repent’.

  48. OldOzzie

    The rise of Western civilisationism – Daniel Pipes
    The Australian

    12:00AM April 14, 2018

    Viktor Orban’s landslide electoral victory on Sunday, gaining 134 seats out of 199 in Hungary’s parliament, increases his governing supermajority and endorses his tough policy of excluding illegal immigrants, especially from the Middle East. His success dramatises a new reality across Europe and in Australia: a novel kind of party has emerged, disturbing the political scene and arousing impassioned debate.

    Examples of this phenomenon include the other three members of the Visegrad group (Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia) as well as Austria’s four-month-old government. Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom in The Netherlands, sees western Europe following the Visegrad group: “In the eastern part of Europe, anti-Islamification and anti-mass migration parties see a surge in popular support. Resistance is growing in the West as well.”

    In France, the National Front emerged as the second strongest party in last year’s presidential elections; in Italy, a muddled situation could lead to an Orban-like government; while Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation have made their mark on the Australian scene. Indeed, like-minded parties have quickly become a significant force in 20 countries.

    An initial problem is how correctly to name them in general. The media lazily lumps these parties together as far-right, ignoring their frequent leftist elements, especially in economic and social policy. Calling them nationalist is wrong, for they neither bellow calls to arms nor raise claims to neighbours’ lands. Populist misses the point because plenty of populist parties such as La France Insoumise (Rebellious France) pursue nearly opposite policies.

    Best is to focus on their key common elements: rejecting the vast influx of immigrants, especially Muslim immigrants, to Europe. Non-Muslim immigrants also cause strains, especially those from Africa, but only among Muslims does one find a program, the Islamist one, to replace Western civilisation with a radically different way of life.

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

    Turned around, these parties are traditionalists with a pro-Christendom, pro-European and pro-Western outlook; they are civilisationist. (This also has the benefit of excluding parties, such as the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Greece, that despise traditional Western civilisation.)

    Enlightened opinion generally reacts with horror to such parties, and not without reason, for they carry a lot of baggage. Some have dubious origins. Staffed mainly by angry political novices, civilisationist parties feature dismaying numbers of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim extremists, Nazi nostalgists, power-hungry cranks, econ­omic eccentrics, historical revis­ionists and conspiracy theorists. Some proffer anti-demo­cratic, anti-EU and anti-American outlooks. Far too many, especially Orban, have a soft spot for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

    But these parties also bring critical benefits to the political arena: realism, courage, tenacity and a civilisational critique neces­sary if the West is to survive in its historic form. Therefore, contrary to many friends and allies, I favour working with most of these parties, advocating critical co-operation rather than rejection and marginalisation.

    First, civilisationist parties pose a lesser danger than do Islamists. They are traditionalist and defensive. They are not violent, they do not seek to overthrow the constitutional order. Their errors are correctable. Arguably, they are less dangerous even than the establishment parties that permitted immigration and shirked Islamist challenges.

    Second, they respond to political realities. The lure of power already has inspired some of these parties to mature and moderate; for example, the founder of the National Front in France was expelled from his own party by his daughter because of his persistent anti-Semitism.

    This sort of evolution entails personnel fights, party divisions and other drama; however inelegant, these are part of the growing process and so they have a constructive role. As they gain governing experience, the parties will evolve further and mature.

    Third, parties focused on civilisationism cannot be dismissed as ephemeral. They emerged quickly and steadily are rising in popularity because they represent a sizeable and growing body of opinion. As they relentlessly approach power, it is better they be engaged with and moderated than be reviled and alienated.

    Finally, and most critically, these parties have a vital role in bringing their issues to the fore: without them, other parties usually ignore immigration and Islamist challenges. Conservative parties prefer to ignore these issues in part because their big business supporters benefit from cheap labour. Leftist parties too often promote immigration and turn a blind eye to Islamism.

    To appreciate the role of civilisationist parties, contrast Britain and Sweden, the two European countries most lax in dealing with culturally aggressive and criminally violent forms of Islamism. Lacking such a party, these issues are not addressed in Britain; immigration and Islamist inroads pro­gress almost unimpeded. Prime ministers may provide excellent analyses, but their words lack practical consequences and problems such as the sex-grooming gangs go unaddressed.

    In contrast, because Sweden’s civilisationist party, the Sweden Democrats, has doubled its votes every four years since 1998, it has fundamentally altered the country’s politics to the point that the country’s right and left blocs have allied against it. While this manoeuvre successfully excluded it from power, some policy changes already have occurred and more may lie ahead, especially as a conservative party, the Moderates, has raised the hitherto inconceivable notion of co-operating with the Sweden Democrats.

    This points to another implication: the presence of an expanding civilisationist party pressures legacy parties of both right and left. Conservative ones, fearing the loss of voters to civilisationist parties, adopt policies to keep their support. The Republican Party in France has moved sharply in this direction, first under Francois Fillon and now under his successor, Laurent Wauquiez. Germany’s Free Democratic Party withdrew from the “Jamaica” coalition negotiations for this same reason. Angela Merkel may still be Chancellor of Germany, but her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, is doing his best to apply civilisationist policies.

    Leftist parties also have begun to take note of the voters they have lost, especially those workers who tend to be economically and culturally on the frontlines. The Danish Social Democrats led the way when its leader, Mette Frederiksen, declared “We want to introduce a cap on the number of non-Western foreigners who can come to Denmark” and offered a detailed, if ungainly, plan. The party would set up reception centres outside Europe.

    I acknowledge their many faults, but parties focused on immigration and Islamism are essential for Europe not to become an extension of northern Africa but to remain part of the Western civilisation it created. Their raising the immigration and Islamist issues makes up for their shortcomings. This assessment leads me to urge co-operation with such parties, rather than a horrified shunning of them. In my experience, they are open to discussion and to learning; they also have something to teach. For example, Anne Marie Waters of For Britain focuses on Islamic law, or sharia, bringing new clarity to complex problems.

    Returning to Orban: despite his serious flaws as a democratic leader and alignment with Putin, his electoral success points to a real and legitimate anxiety in Hungary about immigration and Islamisation, especially in the aftermath of the 2015-16 surge in both. Orban leads but others are not far behind. In 20 years, I predict, civilisationist parties likely will be widely in government; no less important, their policies will have influenced their conservative and leftist rivals. It would be folly to try to ignore or ostracise this movement; far better to temper, educate and learn from it.

    Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum.

  49. stackja

    So my point is this. For the moment, having departed both his Telegraph column and his Sky News gig, Latham is largely without a mainstream platform, apart from the odd guest appearance on Sunrise.

  50. Leigh Lowe

    Infidel Tiger

    #2687317, posted on April 15, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    You’re lucky to barrack for a well-run club with one of the great coaches, your Doomlordship.

    Richmond have over 90,000 members and are once again the most powerful sporting club in the Southern hemisphere.

    Collingwood are refusing to release their membership figures because the Tigers have smashed them.

    Membership numbers are often illusory.
    Collingwood sell limited packages (eg 3 matches for $70) and count these as memberships.
    There are some super-clubs who survive through thick and thin (Richmond, Essendon, Collingwood and maybe Carlton) and other clubs who always have their nostrils under the waterline.
    Jesus, in 2016 Essendon had most of their players rubbed out, won three games and got smashed most weeks and they still drew support that North and St Kilda have wet dreams about.

  51. OldOzzie

    Turnbull needs shock, awe and Abbott to reunite party – Gerard Henderson

    Divisions within the Liberal Party and between the Liberals and the Nationals usually occur when the Coalition is in opposition. The last time the Liberal Party was openly divided in government occurred after Sir Robert Menzies’ retirement from office in January 1966 and the death of his successor Harold Holt in December 1967.

    John Gorton, Holt’s successor, led a divided party to a narrow victory over the Gough Whitlam-led Labor Party in October 1969.

    But he failed to prevail in a subsequent no-confidence motion and resigned as prime minister in March 1971.

    William McMahon, who replaced Gorton, is frequently claimed to be Australia’s worst prime minister. He certainly led a shambolic administration even though he presided over an economy in relatively good shape. McMahon’s defeat by Gough Whitlam in December 1972 set up the Liberal Party’s worst years. Like McMahon, his successor Billy Snedden was a poor performer who lacked the essential ingredient of successful leadership — namely, authority.

    Snedden lost the double-dissolution election in May 1974 and was replaced by Malcolm Fraser in March 1975. Despite his divisive role in bringing down Gorton and his unpopularity within sections of the parliamentary party, Fraser soon united the Liberals behind him. Moreover, he restored the Coalition, which had broken down in Snedden’s time.

    The Fraser-led Coalition comprehensively defeated Whitlam and Labor in the December 1975 double-dissolution election.

    Unlike Gorton, McMahon and Snedden, Fraser presided over the Coalition with authority. He won elections in 1977 and 1980 but was undermined by Andrew Peacock, who challenged unsuccessfully for the prime ministership in April 1982. The Peacock challenge deauthorised Fraser to some extent. He lost the 1983 election to the popular Bob Hawke.

    In opposition during the Hawke government, Liberal leaders Peacock, John Howard, Peacock (again), John Hewson and Alexander Downer lacked authority to a greater or lesser extent. This changed with Howard’s return to the Liberal Party leadership in 1995. Like Menzies, Howard learned from his earlier failure and won elections in 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2004. Downer went on to become a successful foreign minister and Howard benefited substantially by having his deputy, Peter Costello, as a reforming treasurer.

    In opposition after Labor’s victory in November 2007, the Liberals struggled under the ineffective leadership of Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull. Against the expectations of some, Tony Abbott united his party after succeeding Turnbull in December 2009 before narrowly losing the 2010 ­election. Abbott prevailed comprehensively over Kevin Rudd in 2013.

    Gorton’s dumping in the partyroom was followed by defeat under McMahon in 1972. Abbott’s dumping in the partyroom was followed by a narrow victory under Turnbull in 2016. The Liberal Party today is as divided as it was in the late 1960s and early 70s. Sure, the Coalition survives intact, but there is evident tension between the Liberals and the Nationals — particularly after the Prime Minister’s public criticism of the then deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, earlier this year.

    The decision not to go to an early election after the change of leadership in September 2015, along with policy uncertainty on a range of issues — but particularly with respect to taxation — saw the Coalition’s vote decline in the polls throughout the first half of 2016. Then there was the disastrous decision to run an eight-week election campaign when the Liberal Party did not have the funds to sustain such an effort.

    After Turnbull’s narrow election victory, the decision was made not to offer Abbott a senior cabinet post. This was no way to treat one of four Liberal leaders who have won government by defeating Labor from opposition — the others being Menzies, Fraser and Howard. After the 2010 election, Abbott appointed Turnbull to the senior position of spokesman for communications, a role he continued in as minister during the Abbott government’s two years.

    The public humiliation of Abbott, whereby a former leader resides on the backbench, has been counter-productive. The problem is that the former prime minister is by far the most popular Liberal among the party’s rank and file. After the 2016 election, Turnbull was advised by senior Liberals to give Abbott a real job. This was a missed opportunity to reunite the party in the wake of the 2015 leadership change.

    The Liberal Party’s recent successes in Tasmania and South Australia, under the leadership of Will Hodgman and Steven Marshall respectively, demonstrates the importance of unity within political parties.

    Despite a relatively strong economy in recent years, the Prime Minister has led the Coalition while trailing Labor in 30 Newspolls in a row — a scenario he once depicted as an embodiment of political failure.

    Even so, it seems that Turnbull will lead the government to the next election, which is likely to be held by May next year. However, it’s not impossible that (in alphabetical order) the likes of Abbott, Julie Bishop, Peter Dutton, Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison could have a chance of attaining Australia’s top political job before the next election.

    In terms of electoral victories, Howard is Australia’s second most successful prime minister, behind Menzies but ahead of Labor’s Hawke. As demonstrated in his 2010 book Lazarus Rising, when the political tide appeared to be running against him in the lead-up to the 1998, 2001 and 2004 elections, Howard took decisive actions — which demonstrated that voters favoured bold leaders.

    There are many options open to Turnbull to be brave. He could take decisive action to ensure that Australians have reliable energy supplies at reasonable prices. He could make some changes with respect to Australia’s immigration intake. He could reverse the decision on school funding for low-fee non-government schools, which has upset voters (Catholics and non-Catholics alike) who send their children to Catholic diocesan schools. He could even put Abbott in the cabinet.

    The task for Turnbull is to win back the Liberal Party base and make gains in Labor-held seats. A more-of-the-same-approach is unlikely to work. But political shock and awe may do the trick.

    Gerard Henderson is executive director of the Sydney Institute. His Media Watch Dog blog can be found at theaustralian.com.au.

  52. OldOzzie

    Business owners count the costs of light rail construction delays

    Business owners say they have been “financially and mentally gutted” by delays in Sydney’s multi-billion dollar light rail construction, with some calling on Malcolm Turnbull to intervene over the “growing debacle” and others describing it as “like a war”.

    Spanish light rail contractor Acciona Infrastructure Australia filed proceedings in the Supreme Court on Friday, accusing Transport for NSW of engaging in “misleading or deceptive conduct”.

    The company claims it is owed $1.1 billion in “losses” after the state government allegedly withheld documents that dramatically altered how it should manage more than 100 utility services during the light rail’s construction.

    But as work on the Surry Hills section of the NSW government’s new light rail system drags on at a glacial pace, businesses along the once-thriving thoroughfares of Crown Street and Devonshire Street have described the situation as “untenable”.

    Jaide Bryant owns the Last Strand hair salon on Devonshire Street and said the project had slashed her business since construction began in 2016.

    “Two years ago this street would have been buzzing with an incredible vibe on a Friday afternoon, but now the street is desolate and empty,” Ms Bryant said.

    The hairdresser, 32, bought the Last Strand seven years ago and said endless roadworks closing several streets around Surry Hills have meant small businesses are “hanging by a thread”.

    “When you work that hard for your business and another factor comes along and jeopardises it, you have no choice but to accept it,” Ms Bryant said. “But when there’s no end in sight, it becomes incredibly demoralising.”

    Shop owner Steve Kulak, who has run the book, film and music store TITLE for 15 years, likened the situation to a war.

    “Maybe none of us will survive and it’ll be like a war, where a whole city is wiped out and when everything eventually prospers, nobody will remember the hardship,’’ Mr Kulak said

    Mr Kulak, who has had to sack staff and apply for financial compensation to meet his “astronomical” rent, said that while he was a “very big advocate of the light rail,” small businesses was collateral damage in the project.

    He said the state government was not solely to blame for the hardship experienced by businesses, saying “landlords need to play ball too”.

    One business owner, who did not want to be named, said she could no longer keep her head above water. “Malcolm Turnbull is our member of parliament, where is he?”

  53. Confused Old Misfit

    They just have to mind the sauce.

    You’re not concerned over the marinade?

  54. stackja

    OldOzzie
    #2687498, posted on April 15, 2018 at 8:23 pm
    Business owners count the costs of light rail construction delays

    2GB Alan Jones has tried to get answers. Only empty promises so far.

  55. jupes

    I thought Latham was a fruitcake. Turns out he’s a racist

    Where’s the rest of it stackja? You never got to the racist bit.

  56. Entropy

    Light rail would have to be the most annoyingly stupid idea on the planet (well apart from communism, but probably the same people promoting both). If you can’t have a real subway, then how about a bus design that works just like light rail? Much more flexible, better looking and doesn’t destroy perfectly good roads.

  57. Entropy

    Just watching the agar closing ceremony. WTF!!!!
    This is just embarrassing.

  58. Not Uh oh

    Commonwealth Games closing ceremony. Cringe.

  59. zyconoclast

    Gladys Berejiklian
    Did she get the job because she was a w0ggy woman and it was any w0ggy womans turn?

  60. stackja

    jupes
    #2687503, posted on April 15, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    You want it?

    Here’s the backstory.

    Jamie Pandaram, one of Australia’s finest sports reporters and a Walkley Award winner, was on Twitter this week talking about rugby player Israel Folau, who has attracted controversy by saying he believes gay people will go to Hell unless they ‘repent’.

    Latham, of course, was on his usual Twitter patrol, looking for someone to offend so he can then claim to be oppressed and leap into Free Speech Warrior mode, as he did when predictable outrage ensued over his previous career highs, including accusing a random schoolboy of being gay on national TV, and maintaining a constant stream of abuse against Rosie Batty, who dared to suggest after her ex-husband murdered their son that Australia had a problem with domestic violence.

    The thing that really gets Latham riled up, though, is when someone refers to the fact he is still earning $80,000 a year in federal parliamentary superannuation, despite constantly moaning about the political class and claiming to be an “outsider” from the system that once propelled him dangerously close to the Lodge. He hates it.

    So anyway. Here’s the Twitter conversation. Latham had already been ranting about the Folau story, including gratuitous references to the sexuality of Qantas boss Alan Joyce, because the airline was considering withdrawing its sponsorship of the Wallabies. Pandaram tweeted a link to his own story revealing a Gosford Anglican Church had erected a sign condemning Folau’s homophobic comments. Latham tweeted a reply to Pandaram: “Qantas sponsored sign?”

    Pandaram: “Yes, and they’ve agreed to pay the priest $80,000 for life, even when he steps down and has nothing to do with the church. Fair deal right?”

    Latham: “This poor Papadums bastard has lost his marbles.”

    Pandaram: “Redneck joke book volume one: relate ethnic names to food, it’ll be hilarious and remind them they should stick to delivering takeaway.”

    Latham: “As a term of endearment, traditional Australian culture confers nicknames, especially in the world of sport. ‘Papadums’ a play on this guy’s name, not takeaway food (what a dick). Why can’t Papadums respect our culture? The bigotry of the identity elites.”

    Latham: “You write about sport, Papadums, and if you don’t like nicknames you must be a real dick (which clearly you are). Do you ever laugh, enjoy a joke? Is your skin so thin it’s held together by Glad Wrap? Grow up, mate.”

    Pandaram had given up responding but our fellow journalist Alex Brown, an old friend of Pandaram and a former Telegraph sports editor, was too furious to let it go.

    Brown: “You don’t speak for ‘our’ culture. You speak for your own, sad, bigoted, hateful, cowardly self.”

    Latham: “Grow up, Snowflake. You have no culture, just Soyboy wanking.”

    Brown: “Howsabout we get you from out behind that keyboard of yours? This Snowflake would very much like to continue this conversation in person. Happy to supply a time/venue. Up for it, tough guy?”

    Latham: “Make my day.”

    And that was it. Latham ignored Brown’s attempts to set up an in-person conversation.

    Jamie Pandaram, typically, is too dignified to bother getting worked up about this.

    “Latham’s remark hasn’t bothered me because I am proud of my heritage and very comfortable in my own skin,” Jamie told me. “Throughout my professional career the support and backing I’ve ­received has taught me the vast majority of Australians are open, accepting and more likely to judge you by your character rather than your cultural background.”

    But, like Alex Brown, I can’t let this go by unremarked. ­Racial abuse is a new low even for Latham, and he deserves to be condemned.

    It’s hard to think of any new adjectives for Latham, a man who’s been excoriated by almost every Australian already, including, of course, those who thumpingly rejected him in the 2004 federal election. The voters, back then, demonstrated their unfailing capacity to pick a fruitcake from a mile away, well before either the Canberra commentariat or the Labor Party had cottoned on.

    So my point is this. For the moment, having departed both his Telegraph column and his Sky News gig, Latham is largely without a mainstream platform, apart from the odd guest appearance on Sunrise.

    For the rest of the time he has to be happy shouting his abuse into the cold and nasty wind tunnel that is Twitter.

    Please, let’s keep him there. Latham’s welcome to his freedom of speech. The rest of us deserve freedom from Latham.

    Enough?

  61. Leigh Lowe

    I’m not plotting with Dutton, says Tony Abbott

    … but I am now playing with Trumble’s head.

  62. Entropy

    A 13 yo slam poet apparently. So as bad as you would expect.

  63. H B Bear

    The Sea Shephard loonies are occasional visitors to the farmers market where I get my bread on a Saturday morning. I always make a point of explaining to them that I am pro-whaling if they try and get any money out of me on the way in. It is always a short conversation.

  64. Some History

    Commonwealth Games closing ceremony. Cringe.

    It looks like amateur hour at the nursing home.

  65. old bloke

    Percy Porcelain
    #2687461, posted on April 15, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Turn, Turn, Turn …

    Let those twelve strings chime.

    Ecclesiastes 3 ►
    New American Standard Bible
    A Time for Everything

    1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

    2A time to give birth and a time to die;
    A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

    3A time to kill and a time to heal;
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.

    4A time to weep and a time to laugh;
    A time to mourn and a time to dance.

    5A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
    A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

    6A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.

    7A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
    A time to be silent and a time to speak.

    8A time to love and a time to hate;
    A time for war and a time for peace.

  66. stackja

    old bloke
    #2687515, posted on April 15, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Pete Seeger wanted Stalinism.

  67. H B Bear

    The Gold Coast, the Commonwealth Games and Peter Beattie really deserve each other.

  68. Some History

    Commonwealth Games closing ceremony. Cringe.
    It looks like amateur hour at the nursing home.

    Granny Bertha, you’re up next. You’ll be playing Nessun Dorma on the gum leaf? Righto.

  69. Pandarum to papadum is a sufficient to get someone throthing racist??

    Someone should call Tim Superpossummouth and lodge a formal complaint.

  70. Entropy

    I think what this closing ceremony really needs is a giant screen that slowly works its way through the names of every person that had anything to do with the commonwealth games, from the Premier right down to the lady that spent five minutes cleaning before quitting. And the dude supplying syringes and condoms. We need to be inclusive after all. Bugger the athletes.

  71. Confused Old Misfit

    Pete Seeger wanted Stalinism.

    Peete should have stuck with the music. That, at least, was something about which he knew something!

  72. Motelier

    I think I saw a dancing landwhale.

  73. Entropy

    Miss Entropy was going in this closing travesty before a family crisis intervened. No loss.

  74. Confused Old Misfit

    The hell with it! Just go there if you want to go back almost 60 years!

  75. Some History

    Commonwealth Games closing ceremony. Cringe.
    It looks like amateur hour at the nursing home.

    Granny Bertha, you’re up next. You’ll be playing Nessun Dorma on the gum leaf? Righto.

    Now give it up for Aunty Stella performing Saturday Night Fever on the spoons.

  76. Leigh Lowe

    OK.
    So taking the piss by dodging up someone’s name is waaaacism.
    Call Tim Soupercheapauto urgently.

  77. jupes

    Thanks stackja.

    Interesting that Claire Harvey didn’t post Papadum’s tweets about Folau yet was straight onto the homophobic and racist slurs. I suppose in her tiny mind that means she has won the argument.

    Good to see Latham owned those tag-teaming clowns.

  78. Pedro the Ignorant

    Can’t watch the closing ceremony and break a record of not having watched one second of the wankfest.

    I trust there will be whiteout painted dancers in red nappies, smoking ceremonies and didgeridoos.

    The whole world is watching and we must show off our cultural superiority

  79. stackja

    America’s Most Successful Communist FROM THE MAGAZINE
    Howard Husock

    It was no surprise last year when rock stars, led by Bruce Springsteen, barnstormed battleground states for John Kerry, and no surprise that, save for a handful of country singers, George W. Bush could count on no similar support from pop performers.

    Yet this “native tradition” is a myth. Until quite recently, popular music’s prevailing spirit was apolitical: “It has a good beat, you can dance to it, I give it a 95,” as fifties teens gushed about new records on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. The politicization of American pop dates from the 1960s, but it grew out of a patient leftist political strategy that began in the mid-1930s with the Communist Party’s “Popular Front” effort to use popular culture to advance its cause.

    One figure stands out in this enterprise: the now-86-year-old singer, songwriter, “folk music legend,” and onetime party stalwart, Pete Seeger. Given his decisive influence on the political direction of popular music, Seeger may have been the most effective American communist ever.

    Adopted at the Seventh Congress of the Communist International in 1935, the Popular Front tasked communists in the West with building “progressive” coalitions with various institutions—including political parties and labor unions—that the party had previously denounced as bourgeois and corrupt. The front reflected fears haunting Stalinist Russia at that time. “Hitler had shown a strength that made Communist predictions about his imminent collapse seem grotesque,” observed left-wing historians Irving Howe and Lewis Coser. “In the Far East, Japan kept growing bolder. The Kremlin leadership . . . now felt its sole hope lay in a military-political blockade with the Western powers.” Following this new strategy, the American Communist Party suddenly asserted that it wanted to build upon, not destroy, American institutions. “Communism is 20th century Americanism,” Earl Browder, the American party’s general secretary, enthused, while extolling Abraham Lincoln in speeches.

    The Popular Front sought to enlist Western artists and intellectuals, some of them not party members but “fellow travelers,” to use art, literature, and music to insinuate the Marxist worldview into the broader culture. The murals of Diego Rivera, the poetry of Langston Hughes, the novels of Howard Fast—all exemplified this approach. It’s an irony that communists should seek to change the culture, of course, since Marxism holds that culture is merely a reflection of underlying economic structures, whose transformation will bring about capitalism’s inevitable collapse.

  80. Some History

    And now it’s time to say “farewell”, says the presenter. Thank heavens!

    False alarm. Peter Beattie to speak.

  81. cohenite

    Closing ceremony: more aboriginal specialness.

  82. Entropy

    Has there been the ballet girls yet?

  83. stackja

    jupes
    #2687532, posted on April 15, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you. I didn’t bother reading it all. I believed only some was needed to show how silly.

  84. mem

    A green activist who was a pioneering lawyer for gay and transgender rights — including in the infamous “Boys Don’t Cry” murder case — committed suicide by setting himself on fire Saturday morning in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

    For a moment there I thought Turnbull had self immolated. Unfortunately not it seems. Turnbull will however raise the Liberal Party and Australia to to the ground with his green rat-baggery energy policies. And the Libs and Nats will do nothing but wring their hands as none has the gumption to challenge him.

  85. Motelier

    False alarm. Peter Beattie to speak.

    Lookout NRL.

  86. stackja

    I am David Buckel and I just killed myself by fire as a protest suicide,” read a hand-written suicide note left near the blackened circle of burned grass. “I apologize to you for the mess.”

    A second, longer note — left with the first inside an envelope marked “For the police” — said Buckel doused himself in “fossil fuel” before starting the fatal fire as a metaphor for the destruction of the planet.

    “My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves,” he wrote. “A lifetime of service may best be preserved by giving a life . . . Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purchase in death.

    “I hope it is an honorable death that might serve others.”

    He compared his macabre demise with the suicides of those who set themselves afire to protest China’s occupation of Tibet.

  87. Entropy

    Ahh the bit Miss Entropy gooda been in. Younger girls

  88. Some History

    There’s so much self-adulation. It’s like a Tobacco Control conference where there’s unbridled fawning and deep French-kissing of ear holes: You’re great. No you’re great. No, you’re great

    Amid the multi layers of self-praise, of “history-making”, of “dreams realized”, of “inclusion”, it’s easy to forget that they’re actually talking about an expensive sports meet/bonk-fest.

  89. jupes

    Closing ceremony: more aboriginal specialness.

    Genuine questions:

    Did Abos wear red undies prior to 1788,

    If so what where they made of?

  90. stackja

    Liberty Quote
    Conflicts throughout history become serial when an enemy is not utterly defeated and is not forced to submit to the political conditions of the victor.

    — Victor Hanson

  91. Leigh Lowe

    A green activist who was a pioneering lawyer for gay and transgender rights — including in the infamous “Boys Don’t Cry” murder case — committed suicide by setting himself on fire Saturday morning in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park

    If you pack the activists close together and get the wind right you can get eight to the gallon.

  92. Any word on how many of the issued condoms were used by athletes for their intended purpose?

  93. Motelier

    If you pack the activists close together and get the wind right you can get eight to the gallon.

    Use a compressor and that improves to 12 to the gallon.

  94. Some History

    Gold Coast….we were awesome!

    This is a very long, long, long farewell to these Condomwealth Games.

  95. Entropy

    Look how short this dude is!

  96. Some History

    Look how short this dude is!

    Someone left their hair-piece on the microphone.

  97. PalaceChook finally got her mug on the Commonwealth Games.

    She excelled at channelling her inner bogan. Her saving grace was being followed in speeches by an even bigger idiot.

  98. Some History

    Birmingham, represented by a woman pirate, is the idiot city to next host the Condomwealth Games.

  99. Entropy

    Someone left their hair-piece on the microphone.

    A bit small, are you sure it isn’t a merkin?

    Birmingham looks like it will be exciting given the lord mayor’s speech. Real exciting.

  100. Entropy

    Birmingham. The excitement! Can’t wait!

  101. Genuine questions:

    Did Abos wear red undies prior to 1788,

    If so what where they made of?

    Dunno. Ask Stephen Conroy.

  102. Some History

    There’s a woman, representing Birmingham, with a speech impediment…. or Tourettes…..

    Ah, OK. It’s a “rapper”.

  103. Infidel Tiger

    The sad thing is that people will blame Abos for the closing ceremony and the poor xunts had nothing to do with it.

    Real Abos are great people who have been completely dudded by lefty white xunts.

  104. Entropy

    Well then, Birmingham looks like it will be more embarrassing than the Gold Coast games.

  105. Some History

    By the looks of Birmingham, it may not be around in 4 years time.

  106. Arnost

    This hey there Mr Blue ELO piece was quite good! But wtf is Brum?

  107. Birmingham looks like it will be exciting given the lord mayor’s speech. Real exciting.

    Just wait until you see the marathon virtue signalling event. You will be so excited you will projectile vomit while rotating your head 360 degrees.

  108. Tintarella di Luna

    Can’t watch the closing ceremony and break a record of not having watched one second of the wankfest.

    I haven’t watched anything either, even avoided the news.

  109. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Closing ceremony: more aboriginal specialness.

    Anybody remember Eric Jolliffe, that drew the old “Witchetty’s Tribe” series – he depicted Aboriginal people in various coloured underpants, and the Anti Discrimination Board nearly had pups as a result?

  110. Who would’ve thought it possible that the Birmingham vomit could make the aboriginal suckholing look tasteful.

  111. Rebel with cause

    Never been to Birmingham but it looks like a real leftist shithole.

  112. Rebel with cause

    Has the audience left?

  113. Some History

    Sisters are doin’ it for themselves. The “farewell” continues.

    The “farewell” isn’t due to end until 10:30pm.

  114. Arnost

    I have to say – that was abysmal. No creativity, no story, not even advertising QLD. Simply an exercise to tick the politically correct boxes and ship it.

    We were here for the games and when we went to our last event yesterday, we really wanted to keep the spirit going… had an opportunity to buy four decent tickets to the ceremony. I am so glad I didn’t!

  115. Motelier

    Pity AC/DC no longer does live appearances. (Yes Yes Captain Oblivious I know)

  116. Arky

    What the fuck are hou people on about?
    What are these games?

  117. 132andBush

    Did this dude explain how he does his forecasts? Because I can’t see any explanation on his website.

    He looks at all the indices (Ocean temps, IOD, etc). He knows that when x does y climate in oz is effected in such and such a way. Looks hard at analog years and what all the systems were reading then versus now.
    I’m giving him a go for a year or two.

  118. Entropy

    Obviously couldn’t afford Kate Cebrano so have all these stand ins.

  119. Motelier

    Oh dear! Now we ha a slighly overweight diversity entertainer.

  120. Entropy

    Ok, a formal statistical approach, or just what he reckons?

  121. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    “My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves,” he wrote. “A lifetime of service may best be preserved by giving a life . . . Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purchase in death.

    “I hope it is an honorable death that might serveinspire others.”

    is fixit

  122. Entropy

    Oh, here is Kate, not singing her own songs. Guess it seemed a good idea on the butcher’s paper.

  123. Arnost

    I used to love ELO – brings back memories…

    Mr Blue Sky

  124. cohenite

    That’s it for me; I’m going to watch an old Stanwyck movie, The Lady Eve.

  125. Motelier

    Well at least the Gold Coast businesses can now get back to normal tomorrow.

  126. Get Me Out Of Here by Kate Ceberano.

    How fitting.

  127. Entropy

    I think I will go see how bad the new series of lost in space is. Diversity and you go girls! No doubt.

  128. Arnost

    And I noticed the Delotines piece made an appearance! (Should have been so much more of a surfer theme her at Surfers Paradise!

    Hanging Five

  129. Entropy

    I Anna see Samantha jade belt out Back in Black

  130. Some History

    Did you know that Kate Ceberano is a 3rd generation Scientologist? True.

  131. Arnost

    Erm. That would be the Deltones! And we could have had the Atlantics and old Midnight Oil wedding cake island and built a Brilliant closing ceremony around that!

  132. Oh, here is Kate, not singing her own songs. Guess it seemed a good idea on the butcher’s paper.

    They had some hack sing her song before. At least Kate sang well and the band rocked, unlike Birmingham, where art goes to die.

  133. 132andBush

    Draws his own conclusions based on historical records and relating them to current observations.
    He seems to be taking in a lot of variables.
    Make of that what you will but as I do know a bit about it all and I went in with a very sceptical mindset I’m giving him a go for now.

  134. twostix

    Jamie Pandaram, typically, is too dignified to bother getting worked up about this.

    “Latham’s remark hasn’t bothered me”

    But, like Alex Brown, I can’t let this go by unremarked. ­Racial abuse is a new low even for Latham, and he deserves to be condemned.

    lol, don’t let the person you’re writing about saying he doesn’t care stop you from raging on his behalf. He doesn’t understand the nuances of racism.

    How very british empire of these white wannabee courtiers.

  135. Rae

    Never been to Birmingham but it looks like a real leftist shithole.

    Nothing wrong with Birmingham in the Midlands. We’ve been there many times. Leftist? Don’t think so. A lot of Pakistanis live there.

  136. Arnost

    Now Kylie – without Kylie…

  137. Rae

    Did this dude explain how he does his forecasts? Because I can’t see any explanation on his website.

    Wets his finger, points it in the air, and says which way he thinks the wind is blowing.

  138. I think I will go see how bad the new series of lost in space is. Diversity and you go girls! No doubt.

    I saw the new Star Trek series. Horribly PC, but the plot was highly convoluted without leaving loose ends.

    Of course, the white guy (who wasn’t gay) was evil, but at least it was played by the deliciously evil Lucius Malfoy. But why the hell am I sounding like an art critic now? 🤔

  139. Rafe Champion

    The danger of climate alarmism. The ultimate sacrifice. Self-immolation for the cause.

  140. C.L.

    Flipped on to the Melbourne “Comedy” Festival a few times tonight.
    The “comedian” was making “jokes” supportive of environmentalism every time.

  141. Arnost

    Anthony Violi back is a name from the past! The old Weatherzone days. A good bloke. As a farmer he had to have the right forecast. And he usually didnt do any worse than BoM and better in a lot of cases!

  142. Some History

    Now Kylie – without Kylie…

    Kylie Jenkins backed out at the last minute.

  143. Motelier

    Wets his finger, points it in the air, and says which way he thinks the wind is blowing.

    Captain Oblivious this has more technology so it covers more weather.

    Enjoy.

  144. struth

    You silly silly optimists.
    See, you still watch the ceremony in the hope someone makes sure we as a nation don’t look like a bunch of wet SJW dumb arses.
    It wasn’t going to happen.

    What a shit hole.
    I too could not bring myself to watch a second.
    I had a sock drawer to organise.

  145. calli

    Surprising that the ELO song wasn’t The Birmingham Blues.

  146. Motelier

    Well are the cats suitably chastised by all the wymines on the teev tonight.

    I find it passing strange that the white male entertainer was MIA.

  147. Rae

    Lots of Brummies in Birmingham. Friendly people.

  148. jupes

    Never been to Birmingham but it looks like a real leftist shithole.

    Islamic shithole.

    The next Commonwealth games will be the last.

  149. Some History

    WOW. An admission by the 7 commentators that tonight’s closing ceremony has been a disappointment. Stands half empty half way through.

  150. struth

    The most embarrassing thing in the last 30 odd years are the laughable opening and closing ceremonies of major sporting events.( except for the drones at the last winter Olympics).
    National shame jobs and Australia embraces it with glee and Aussies that put this shit together, rabid entertainment industry lefties one and all are hired by other countries to keep this cringeworthy snot happening again and again.
    These ceremonies really are something Australia has inflicted on the world and I call for Donald Trump to immediately invade and make us the 51ST state.
    We can only hope.

  151. Some History

    7’s commentators explaining that they were not responsible for tonight’s content.

  152. Johanna Griggs on TV is absolutely ropeable, looking like she wants to rip out someone’s jugular.

    Not so much from having to sit through the garbage, but from the athletes being banned from it.

  153. jupes

    WOW. An admission by the 7 commentators that tonight’s closing ceremony has been a disappointment. Stands half empty half way through.

    I’m with struth. It never ceases to amaze me that people actually watch opening and closing ceremonies.

    Why FFS?

  154. Arnost

    LOL – someone finally realised “oops we forgot the athletes “. The self indulgent PC crap is noted!

  155. Infidel Tiger

    WOW. An admission by the 7 commentators that tonight’s closing ceremony has been a disappointment. Stands half empty half way through.

    Really? Bwahaha!

  156. Gasp.
    Channel 7 presenters rip into closing ceremony.
    “Organising committee got it wrong”.
    “Disappointing conclusion”
    “No athletes shown. No footage of athletes coming into stadium. Most athletes left during the way-too-long speeches”
    “Speeches were self serving”
    “I understand you are disappointed”
    “It’s unfortunate and it’s not right”.

    Peter Beattie take a bow.

  157. Some History

    That’s got to be the longest “farewell”…. evah! But the Condomwealth Games have now ended. Repeat: The Condomwealth Games are OFFICIALLY over.

  158. Motelier

    To Peter Beattie.

    The_Motelier
    The_Motelier
    @The_Motelier
    @SmartState1 Well that sucked. Where were the white male entertainers? This diversity sucks. Lookout NRL.

    Other comments are similar. The prick has thick skin.

  159. Arnost

    I watched the ceremony because I went to a lot of events, and wanted the buzz to keep going. I wonder if the organisers will take note or double down like they did after the opening ceremony was smashed!

  160. struth

    The next Commonwealth games will be a blast.

  161. twostix

    Republicans ruined the Commonwealth games.

    Surprise.

  162. Infidel Tiger

    I haven’t watched a single second of the CommGames. All I know is our poor and downtrodden Abos have been maligned and for the first time in history the marathon was interesting because the xunts were dying.

  163. Arnost

    IT – you go too far. That Scottish “xunt” showed exactly what the games are about.

    Wash your mouth out!

  164. struth

    You may have loved your country.
    I once did.
    You may have thought we could show our best to the Commonwealth.
    If you did…….
    Where have you been the last 20 Ferking years?

  165. I’ll be drinking lots of rum during Birmingham. Lots. And lots.

    How did they know?

  166. struth

    I am a patriot of the western world.
    Not of Australia.
    I take my solace in that.
    And I for years promoted Australia to the world in my professional life.
    I’d rather shit in my hands and clap.

  167. Opening and closing ceremonies are nothing more than weak, unreliable vehicles for the unsporting to hijack events that they secretly despise competed by people they despise, for people they despise, yet see an opportunity to push their crap.

    These scum make people hate these events. Scrap the ceremonies.

  168. I enjoyed many of the televised sporting events, several of which contained world-class athletes.
    However the stony-hearted Australian marathon runner who ran past his collapsed Scottish rival without a moment’s concern summed up much of what is wrong with professional sport today.

    To mollify myself I watched a few replays of John Landy stopping to help the fallen Ron Clarke in 1956.

  169. Arnost

    Hear hear Berry! It really looks like the Ceremony organisers just wanted to sabotage the athletes, take away their achievements and push their own agendas.

  170. Motelier

    We went to the CGames. The athletes made it. The organisers and all of the protesters can go and take a hike.

  171. struth

    Scrap the ceremonies?
    And do away with giant thongs and Hill’s Hoists, Lawnmowers and left wing roll on deodorants with Sorry written all over them having an epileptic fit in front of the world?

    ……..?

  172. jupes

    Peter Beattie take a bow.

    As an AFL supporter, it is good to know that the NRL is in good hands.

  173. jupes

    But seriously hasn’t the Commonwealth Games reached its used by date? What is the point of them?

    If the answer is that its good for Australian athletes to win gold, isn’t that just kidding ourselves? It’s like the adult version of the kindy sports event where everyone wins a participation medal.

    Delusional.

  174. struth

    Peter Beatie and Mal have exactly the same mental issues.
    Scientifically analysis is they both suffer from being fucking insane narcissists.

  175. jupes

    It really looks like the Ceremony organisers just wanted to sabotage the athletes, take away their achievements and push their own agendas.

    Any world records?

  176. struth

    Are we even part of the Commonwealth any more?

    IT seems to be yes only when it suits.

  177. struth

    Are politicians sitting in our parliament from pommie land foreigners or not.
    What does our constitution say?

    What a fucking mess.
    Or oh what problems one can weave when one first practices to …….sideline the constitution and do what they like.

  178. Leo G

    … Donald Trump to immediately invade and make us the 51ST state.

    Dontrulia USA sounds suitably libertarian.

  179. Arnost

    Couple of world records in the pool and cycling that I know of.

    And OSC – if the Aussie helped the Scott, the Scott (and possibly the Aussie) would have been disqualified.

  180. struth

    I would prefer Textralia to Ausfornia.

    Maybe Miniaboless….that has A NICE ring to it.

  181. Dave in Marybrook

    Telly on before bed- nearly turned it off after some hipster fauxboriginal was wanking on about “Mobile phaanes are modern message sticks”, but even my warmhearted wife was commenting that the kids on stage were sure wearing a lot of bronzer, and it’s not often she’s in such a good mood.
    Then Beattie summed it up, to paraphrase-
    “Ain’t it great that after so long apart, We have fully integrated the para people into the bosom of the Games?
    And ain’t it great that that after so long together, We have fully separated the Aboriginal culture from the bosom of the country?”

  182. Snoopy

    Peter Beattie can’t be a narcissist. He was age 37 when his autobiography was published.

  183. Leo G

    I would prefer Textralia to Ausfornia.

    Rootopia might become a marsupial paradise.

  184. Jupes – yes.
    “Sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon and Shayna Jack clocked a time of 3 minutes, 30.05 seconds to break the world record in the 4×100-meter women’s freestyle relay.”
    And
    “the highlight was undoubtedly the men’s 4km team pursuit world record with a breathtaking gold medal ride of 3mins 49.8secs on the Anna Meares Velodrome.
    The quartet of Alex Porter, Sam Welsford, Kelland O’Brien and Leigh Howard produced the first ever sub 3:50 ride to beat England in the final.”
    Plus the Welsh lady with a WR for javelin.

    Lowlights for me included seeing squash doubles being played, the multisex controversy in weightlifting and athletics, and stupid poolside interviewers.

  185. Arnost
    #2687645, posted on April 15, 2018 at 11:14 pm
    And OSC – if the Aussie helped the Scott, the Scott (and possibly the Aussie) would have been disqualified.

    Good point.
    Officials are guilty of perpetuating the primacy of outcomes over humanity.

  186. struth

    Bloody hell, you can be whatever sex you like.
    Narcissism can happen at any age.
    When it comes to Gender,
    You can be Mchappymealasexual if you wish so Petey Beatie has discovered he is McHandburglarasexual.
    He threw his hand on the bed and jumped on it, pounding it into submission back in his Uni Days and now only takes his mask and cape off for interviews.
    Malcom of course is McRonaldasexual looking for two buns to jam his party into.

  187. Snoopy

    Lowlights for me included seeing squash doubles being played,

    It’s a close call, but squash doubles could be more ridiculous than race walking.

  188. struth

    Dingowhere, Cockatoonicut, southern Florida, USS Endtheflies, who gives a shit?
    Will someone not save us from narcissistic leftism?

    Save us Trump…..ATTACK NOW

  189. amortiser

    Building higher railings on the West Gate Bridge hasn’t stopped the suicides from that bridge.

    Building higher guardrails on the Gateway Bridge brought suicides down from thirteen in the first 12 months to zero in the last 30 years.
    Doing the same on the Storey Bridge and blocking the gaps either side of the roadway has reduced jumpers to zero over the last few years.

    They just shifted the suicides to the train lines. Hardly a week goes by in Brisbane than an “incident” causes long delays in the suburban railway system and another train driver is left traumatised. If they are intent on killing themselves there is little the government can do to stop them.

  190. struth

    The only reason people were jumping off the Gateway bridge was to escape the traffic jam finally.

  191. struth

    Dear Mr Trump.
    Could you please invade us.
    We will surrender quicker than a Swedish politician.
    If you will not invade , could you please just send over one of your C17’S with those cool gun trucks and land near a place we call the ABC.
    Let me tell you what they have been saying about you………
    What is the American slang for Rabz the place?

  192. DrBeauGan

    More good stuff, Tom. Thanks again.

    I liked the Steve Kelley. And chip bok #2. Begging the government to save you from yourself is contemptible.

  193. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Can’t watch the closing ceremony and break a record of not having watched one second of the wankfest.
    I haven’t watched anything either, even avoided the news.

    Same for us, Tinta. Hairy is usually right into big sporting events, watches Olympics and Winter Olympics and other track and field stuff; but we saw absolutely nothing of these games and heard even less. He’s now reading Mantel’s second Cromwell book, ‘Bring Up the Bodies’, so that may explain some of it, although he’s the sort of reader who methodically reads a little each night. Never races through a book the way I do. He’s shaking his head over Cromwell now: it doesn’t auger well, Lizzie, he says, now he’s half way through.

    Of course it doesn’t, I reply with a wither. He was beheaded. You know that already.

    And here I am. Up early again.
    First dibs on Tom’s cartoons though. 🙂

  194. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Facechook getting a good battering in the ‘toons.
    Glad I took Hairy’s advice and never joined it.

    Zanetti draws Turnbull well as a saggy old grandpa out only for himself.
    The last of that leather-jacketed ABC boyish charm has long gone.
    It wasn’t much to start with, but now Turnbull’s got nothing.
    Not news on the Cat, but the electorate is fast waking up too.

  195. Herodotus

    I wish the electorate was waking up. They elected Rudd, then (almost) Gillard, plus numerous state Labor governments who are madly demolishing coal power stations.

  196. Herodotus

    Just to fill in some history for those upthread who seem unaware of the hit job Jones and the ABC did on the very timely film by Martin Durkin “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, here’s what happened, in brief.
    1. They showed the film first. What the audience didn’t know was that it had been edited and about 40 minutes were missing.
    2. Jones then playedna fairly hostile interview he had flown to UK to do with Durkin.
    3. A panel including David Karoly was then used to demolish the idea that global warming wasn’t happening.
    Durkin has also done a devastating program on the corrupt EU. I’ll find a link for that. And the full Swindle in a minute.

  197. Bruce of Newcastle

    Thanks Tom! I love the (black) humour in Ramirez #1. Sad that Delonas seems to be sinking into TDS, although his Bolton is marvellous. And Johannes Leak is doing very well – great expressions on the characters!

  198. Up The Workers!

    Labor(sic). The world’s only political Party too dumb to even spell their own Party name correctly for the last 100 years. (Even sandalista Jeremy Corbyn and his troupe of performing Leftard oafs, have demonstrably more intelligence in U.K.). I wonder how Federal Opposition shadow Minister for Education, Tanya Plibersek feels, putting her hand out for her massive Parliamentary pay-packet, knowing that she is Shadow Education MInister in a Party too dumb to correctly spell its own name?

    Labor(sic) – They have no place for “U”!

  199. struth

    Thanks Tom.
    I notice a few cartoonists getting quite old world war propaganda inspired there.
    Hmmmmm

  200. Herodotus

    Sorry, cannot link to specific You Tube items from iPad, but both Swindle and Brexit: The Movie (2016) are available on that site.
    The latter was as incisive about the EU as the former was about the big scam.

  201. Herodotus

    Labor and Greens = endless contractions.

  202. Farmer Gez

    Is it possible that our utterly stupid media will wake up to the fact that Putin relishes a Western attack, as it allowed the Ruskies to try out missile defence systems in real warfare?

  203. Herodotus

    Remainers are campaigning for a rerun of the Brexit vote. It’s the usual tactic. You’ll keep voting until you give the answer they want, and when it happens there’ll be no talk of how slim the margin is, and no further votes will be held.

  204. struth

    Have you been brainwashed by Socialists and Marxists?

    Answer these simple questions.
    Do you honestly believe an organisation that calls itself socialist can be right wing?

    Do you believe that socialists do not go to war with other socialists?

    Do you believe there are more than two sexes?

    Do you believe the west gained wealth by stealing it from people who were living in utter wretched poverty for thousands of years before any encounter with the west?

    Do you believe in Multiculturalism, open borders or that scientists can never be corrupted by government money?
    Do you believe that Fascism is right wing?

    If the answer to any of the above is yes, you have been brainwashed.

  205. OldOzzie

    Tom

    thanks – no winners today unfortunately

  206. OldOzzie

    Labor tax switch a ‘$1bn-a-year blow to states’ – dam Creighton

    Increasing tax on capital gains, including the sale of investment properties, a core Labor policy, would increase rents, reduce economic growth, and sap state government coffers by $1 billion a year — more than twice the extra tax raised at the federal level — an analysis has found.

    The economic analysis of the effect of halving the capital gains tax discount to 25 per cent — a policy Labor plans to take to the election — found this would also increase house prices because the supply of new homes would be lower than otherwise.

    Scott Morrison seized on the report last night to remind voters of Labor’s plans to increase taxes by more than $200bn over a decade, including winding back negative gearing and stopping cash refunds for franking credits.

    “Yet another independent report has found there will be damaging impacts,” the Treasurer said. “You can’t dump a truck full of taxes on Australians and just expect the economy to wear it.”

    The report, commissioned by the Housing Industry Association, found raising capital gains tax would increase federal tax revenues by just under $500 million a year but reduce revenue for state governments by more than $1bn a year, largely as a result of lower stamp duty receipts.

    The report, produced by the Centre for International Economics, a private consulting firm, modelled the impact on the economy of four different changes to CGT discount rate, including reducing the discount to 40 per cent, a recommendation of the Henry tax review. The scenario closest to Labor’s policy found GDP growth would be 0.2 percentage points lower permanently, while the number of homes built would be 1.6 per cent lower, equivalent to more than 3400. “The fall in dwelling services could be understood as marginal tenants leaving their own homes and moving back in with their parents,” the study said.

    “The CIE also concludes that increasing the tax on investment homes may initially benefit ‘first-home buyers’ but over time this gain will be lost as rental costs rise leading to higher home prices, that will once again force first-home buyers out of the market,” said HIA principal economist Tim Reardon. Real wage growth would fall 0.7 percentage points.

    “Increasing the tax on housing will result in less investment in housing, fewer houses being built and inevitably a worsening of the affordability challenge. We cannot tax our way out of the housing affordability problem,” he added.

    Labor Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said the modelling did not reflect Labor’s policy because Labor intended to “grandfather” existing investors from proposed CGT changes, and permit negative gearing only on investment in new properties. “The modelling also concludes that some tenants ‘will switch and become owner-occupiers’ — in other words, increasing home ownership,” he added.

    The CIE said grandfathering existing owners would do little to blunt the effects of changing the 50 per cent discount rate for capital gains “because … behavioural changes (would) begin as soon as these individuals understand how the policy change has changed their incentives”.

    Labor estimated its changes to capital gains and negative gearing would raise $32bn over a decade. The CIE study found federal tax receipts would rise by $483m while state governments would lose more than $1bn in revenue including $768m in stamp duty.

  207. stackja

    Spike Milligan – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spike_Milligan
    Terence Alan “Spike” Milligan KBE (16 April 1918 – 27 February 2002) was a British-Irish comedian, writer, poet, playwright and actor. The son of an Irish father and an English mother, Millligan spent his early life in India where he was born.

  208. OldOzzie

    EDITORIALS
    Shorten’s big property tax grab

    The Australian
    12:00AM April 16, 2018

    Bill Shorten’s capital gains tax grab would hurt many more Australians than the investors who would be forced to pay it. While Labor has pitched the plan as a housing affordability measure, any gains for first-home buyers would, over time, be negated by rising rents as fewer people, including mums and dads saving for their retirements, invested in property, the Housing Industry Association warned yesterday. Rising rents, in turn, the association concluded, would lead to higher home prices, again forcing first-time buyers from the market.

    Labor claims its changes to negative gearing and capital gains taxes would raise $32 billion over 10 years. But the figures produced for the HIA by the Centre for International Economics should set alarm bells ringing at state level. The figures suggest the $500 million a year gain for the federal budget from hiking the capital gains tax would be dwarfed by stamp duty tax losses to the states of more than $1bn a year.

    However much the opposition will contest the analysis, it was warned of similar problems two years ago. In March 2016, BIS Shrapnel noted that ownership of Australia’s rental housing stock was concentrated among smaller investors who relied on capital gains concessions, and sometimes on negative gearing, for acceptable returns. The current system provided a working solution to rental housing, BIS Shrapnel said. But if governments sought extra revenue by abolishing concessions on rental property, they might need to step in to fix the problems created.

    Such warnings reflect the experience of 30 years ago when the Hawke government abolished negative gearing for future rental property investments in 1985. It reinstated it in 1987 amid soaring rents, especially in Sydney and Perth.

    Affordability for first-home buyers is difficult, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, but less so in other parts of the nation, especially in regional areas. Tim Reardon, HIA’s principal economist, is correct when he says addressing affordability would require co-ordinated effort by all tiers of government to allow the industry to respond with the type and location of housing required to satisfy pent-up demand. Comprehensive policy solutions would need to involve state government policies on the release of cheaper housing land and local council policies on urban density.

    Like most of the Opposition Leader’s high-taxing policies, the Labor plan to abolish the capital gains concession on assets bought more than a year earlier is based on two flawed principles: the politics of envy and boosting government coffers to fund even more lavish social spending. Labor policies to lift the top marginal tax rate to almost 50 per cent, to tax franked dividends earned by self-funded retirees, curb negative gearing and lift capital gains tax are an attack on saving, investment, self-reliance and the 3 per cent of households that pay the top marginal tax rate and contribute 30 per cent of the total income tax take. Those who would feel the brunt of Labor’s capital gains hike would not be the richest rental property investors but workers such as teachers, police officers and nurses who are thrifty enough to save for retirement by investing in a rental property or two. The HIA is right when it says Australia “cannot tax our way out of the housing affordability problem’’.

  209. 132andBush

    Delonas is weird today.

  210. OldOzzie

    Solving power problems is a piece of yellowcake – Adam Creighton

    The Monash Forum, the ginger group of Coalition MPs pushing for a new coal-fired power plant, would have been more constructive and credible if it had come out in favour of nuclear power. Championing the diversification of Australia’s energy supply to include nuclear energy makes a great deal of environmental, economic and strategic sense, yet curiously few politicians say so.

    This is strange because less than half the public is “against” nuclear energy according to a survey of households conducted last year by the Australian ­National University. It showed more than 41 per cent of voters were in favour of nuclear power plants to generate electricity, only a quarter were “strongly opposed”.

    Having at least one nuclear power station, capable of providing to the grid emissions-free, reliable power, wouldn’t be a repudiation of solar, wind or even coal power. It would be a sensible outcome for a country with 30 per cent of the world’s uranium with vast tracts of uninhabited land that wants to lower its carbon emissions.

    A Monash Forum pushing for nuclear energy might have even attracted bipartisan support. Intelligent MPs in the Labor Party also see the advantages in nuclear ­energy. Energy policy needs to be above partisan politics. The Greens’ blanket opposition to ­nuclear power should be an ­embarrassment for a party that claims it supports “science”.

    “Modern designs of nuclear ­reactors are small, hyper-efficient, and radically safe. They can’t melt down (and) are often a tenth or less the size of conventional light-water reactors,” wrote US environmental expert Ted Nordhaus, of the Californian Breakthrough Institute, last year. A report for the Howard government in 2006 by former ­Telstra and NBN chairman Ziggy Switkowski envisaged 25 large ­nuclear reactors that would cut electricity generation emissions in half.

    The Australian Taxpayers ­Alliance lists lifting the ban on “clean and cheap” nuclear energy as the first of its six recommendations to make electricity less ­expensive.

    “Initial set-up costs can be high, but once a nuclear power station is online running costs are low, and the initial set-up costs can be spread over a power plant’s lifespan — nuclear power plants can produce energy for 50 to 70 years,” it says. “The closure of coal-fired power stations has …. Increased ­reliance on natural gas — an ­expensive fossil fuel, with much of its domestic reserves out of reach due to anti-fracking regulations,” it adds. The Australian reported last year the Victoria government had proposed to shut off exploration of gas reserves in the Gippsland and Otway basins, enough to supply the east coast of Australia’s gas needs for almost 40 years.

    The Monash Forum would need to draw attention to the fact Australia alone in the G20 has a legislative ban on nuclear power.

    Can you even imagine such ­behaviour in the Middle East: “We have much of the world’s oil but we are going to ban using it”. A kilogram of uranium can produce two million times the energy contained in a kilogram of coal. Olympic Dam in South Australia, the single largest deposit of uranium in the world could, on one estimate, power our planet emissions-free for 4000 years.

    Pro-coal advocates need to recognise it doesn’t matter what they think of climate change, or even whether the science of climate change is correct. Enough people do believe in it to ensure private ­investment to build coal-fired power stations won’t be forthcoming. Even if the forum succeeded in charging Coalition policy, a future Labor government could reverse it.

    Even the cleanest fossil fuel power stations generate greater carbon emissions than nuclear. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a nuclear power plant’s carbon footprint is barely 25 per cent of even a solar energy plant.

    Critics typically cite the cost or the length of time it takes to build. Certainly, building a single nuclear power station would costs billions. But taxpayers are already shovelling billions on implicit subsidies to solar and wind farms. Surely it makes sense to direct some of these to a totally reliable, emission-free technology.

    The biggest battery in the world, built by Tesla in South Australia, can supply power for 30,000 homes for an hour. Surely prudence dictates a state would need enough battery power to supply all its needs for days?

    As for the lead time, the Japanese and South Koreans have built nuclear power stations in fewer than four years. To assuage any hurt feelings from Australia awarding a $50 billion submarine contract to a French firm, the government could consider contracting a Japanese company to build our first nuclear power station.

    Snowy 2.0 is a great sound bite, but hardly a solution to what is ­becoming an energy price and ­reliability crisis. A nuclear power plant could be eligible to participate in a national energy guarantee, which is technology agnostic.

    These days safety fears are overblown. Even the most recent problem in Fukushima was ­because of a devastating tsunami hitting Japan, an unlikely event here. With among the highest desert-to-suburbia ratios in the world, disposal of nuclear waste wouldn’t be a long-term impediment either.

    The renewable energy brigade should drop its self-serving opposition to nuclear energy. How is it credible to switch off coal and gas power stations when battery technology isn’t remotely advanced enough to compensate for the ­vicissitudes of the wind and sun?

    Australia is well placed to make use of nuclear energy for peaceful electricity generation. Aboriginal leaders should also get behind the idea, as former ALP president Warren Mundine already has. The extraction and use of uranium could help create jobs in the ­regions where many indigenous Australians live.

  211. dopey

    Too risky involving athletes in the parade. They may have appeared cheerful and non-political.

  212. C.L.

    Trump has beaten up James Comey overnight in brutal fashion.

  213. OldOzzie

    How Taxpayers Money is Washed down the Drain in Australia

    No cure close for ailing $2.3bn Royal Adelaide hospital – Michael Owen SA Bureau Chief Adelaide

    It was supposed to be the hospital of the new millennium, once rated the world’s third-most expensive building at an eye-watering $2.3 billion.

    But seven months after it opened a year and a half late and $640 million over budget, the new Royal Adelaide Hospital is beset by chronic overcrowding, which has almost reached “disaster” levels, and inefficient patient flow — and that is before the winter flu season strikes.

    Relatives have told of loved ones being sent home a day after major surgery, and being urged to wait outside to be picked up on hot days; of corridors buzzing with privately contracted catering and cleaning staff but an apparent shortfall of medical workers capable of dealing with an actual medical emergency.

    The design of the hospital, kept strictly confidential during its planning phase under a contentious public-private partnership, has been criticised.

    Medical staff are struggling with “line of sight” issues and inadequate space, equipment and drugs. There are claims the hospital — all private rooms and no wards — is modelled more on a “glitzy hotel” than a practical medical facility.

    Then there is the poor-quality food, doors that do not work, surgeries and radiotherapy treatments ­disrupted in a blackout, and a battery explosion that caused a toxic acid leak.

    The new Liberal state government is so alarmed by pressure on beds at the RAH that it is considering setting up a “discharge lounge” to provide a safe place for those being discharged to wait to be picked up or transferred; sending less acute patients to regional hospitals; and reopening the former Repatriation General Hospital.

    Hospital woes

    South Australia is not alone in its problems with upgrading major ageing hospital infrastructure.

    The $2bn Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth has been plagued with clinical and structural problems since its staged opening in 2014, including a major water leak, sterilisation issues with vital medical equipment, the death of a patient who was given the wrong drug, and overworked medical staff.

    The new Perth Children’s Hospital also has been under pressure, plagued by issues ranging from asbestos in the roof to lead in the water.

    Queensland’s auditor-general has found the cost of building three new hospitals — the Gold Coast University Hospital, the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and the Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital — was underestimated by $2.2bn.

    All this is of little comfort to South Australians.

    One healthcare worker told of her experience when her elderly father was taken to the new RAH with breathing problems and a suspected heart attack.

    “He (my father) arrived by ambulance and was treated promptly by the professionals even though there were six ambulances ramping and (they) were treating patients inside the ambulances — much to my disgust as a healthcare worker that this was occurring,” said the woman, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions.

    “Doctors and nurses were completely rushed off their feet and patients were waiting in isolated cubicles waiting for results, or to be seen. During that time there appeared to be limited staff if you were in need of urgent medical attention.

    “The only visible people were the buzzing Spotless staff … who seemed to be engaging in their own private conversations in the corridors.”

    After her father was monitored overnight and his results came back negative, the woman received a phone call from a nurse advising her father was being discharged. As she could not pick him up for an hour, he would be put in the emergency waiting room “as they needed the beds”, she said.

    “Again, much to my disgust, I arrived at the emergency department to see my very elderly father — who is legally blind — standing outside holding his backpack unsupervised with no nurse, no frame or walking stick, waiting for me,” she said. “I asked what he was doing outside and I questioned the nurse at the front desk as to why he was standing there on a hot day on his own. She answered, ‘he was cold, so I asked him to get some warm air outside’.

    “This is only one story — things need to improve and quickly,” she said.

    In another case, former nurse Deborah McPartland, 57, went into the new hospital late last month for brain surgery and was told she had to leave the next day because there were not enough beds. She was given a bus ticket to get home as her son was unavailable at the time to collect her.

    Her son Bradley McGrath said the “shocking” experience showed the hospital, which has single rooms only to stop the spread of infection, was not designed to be practical. “It should be more practical, rather than like a glitzy, glamorous hotel,” he said.

    From the beginning, the RAH did not run to plan. What was conceived as a stunning announcement in the Rann Labor gov­ernment’s 2007 state budget was spoiled when word leaked weeks earlier. Some clinicians were upset about a lack of consultation.

    Little has changed in more than a decade.

    Emergency consultant David Pope, the immediate past president of the SA Salaried Medical Officers Association, said there had been many warnings over the years about the current problems.

    “Our members were quite flabbergasted that during the design phase of the new hospital they weren’t being consulted at all,” Dr Pope said. “The public-private partnership and commercial-in-confidence issues were the main problems. The design was actually all confidential, so there was quite literally only a handful of individuals that had actually seen the designs.

    “So it was all that secrecy around the commercial-in-confidence of that public-private partnership that I think largely prevented the consultation from occurring.”

    Under the terms of a 30-year contract with consortium Celsus (formerly SA Health Partnership), taxpayers are paying about $1m a day for the finance, construction, management and non-clinical services at the new hospital.

    When former premier Mike Rann locked in the deal in 2011, the construction cost was $2.095bn — $400m above the price promised at the 2010 state election.

    The blowout then was attributed to delays and an increase in the hospital’s size, along with an extra $22m for consultants and advisers. The price went up again in September 2015 when the government paid an extra $34.3m to settle a dispute with the builders over the cost of remediating the site for construction.

    The government also handed over $245m up front to improve gas, water and electricity supply to the site and for clinical equipment. As medical technology has advanced, so too have the costs.

    The new hospital features robots delivering food and medicine, in-bed scales and automated patient lifting machines.

    Yet basic equipment, such as duress alarms in the mental health area, does not work and the internet has crashed several times, for extended periods.

    New Health Minister Stephen Wade says he is considering establishing a “discharge lounge”.

    To be set up near the hospital’s main entrance, this would free inpatient beds as early as possible while providing a safe holding area for those awaiting transport home or to another hospital.

    “We are trying to improve patient flow,” Mr Wade said, referring also to other options such as sending less acute patients elsewhere.

    Urgent “fixes” are being applied across the 10ha site.

    The Royal Adelaide Hospital had been in one location at the eastern end of North Terrace in Adelaide’s CBD, adjacent to the Botanic Gardens, since 1841.

    The former Labor government’s decision to build a new hospital on a contaminated, disused city railyard at the opposite end of North Terrace, rather than rebuild on the existing site, was political. There was no community groundswell or public campaign for a new hospital; the plan took most residents by surprise.

    A Save the Royal Adelaide Hospital committee was formed and by February 2009, a year out from a state election, some doctors and other medical staff were lobbying to retain the current hospital rather than build a new one. A rival plan by the Liberal opposition to build a covered multipurpose sports stadium on the railyard site and rebuild the existing hospital forced the Rann government, facing the 2010 election, into redeveloping the Adelaide Oval for AFL.

    The controversy has endured over the years amid construction worker deaths, planning bungles, legal disputes, defects, and cost blowouts. Little wonder Prince William and wife Kate declined an invitation to open the hospital.

    The Liberal Party, which until last month’s state election victory had been in opposition since 2002, achieved great political mileage from the myriad problems. Now it is the Liberals’ mess to fix.

    The Marshall government has accepted an $8bn funding agreement offered by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, to begin in 2020 and last five years. The Weatherill government had resisted the offer amid claims it did not replace the billions cut by the commonwealth in previous deals.

    The RAH will need buckets of money to fix its many issues.

    Last week The Australian revealed a $240m blowout this financial year to the budget of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, which has the RAH as its centrepiece, amid reports that Spotless — the private firm responsible for delivering services such as food and cleaning — was losing up to $6m a month on its RAH operations.

    Mr Wade accused the former government of concealing the budget blowout before the March 17 election.

    However, opposition health spokesman Chris Picton, a former assistant health minister, blamed higher than expected demand for patient services.

    The former government’s budget update in December allocated $467.4m over four years for extra hospital expenses, including for the transition to the new hospital.

    The nurses’ union was not surprised by the budget blowout, saying the budgeted activity targets were well short of what they should have been.

    Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation chief executive Elizabeth Dabars told The Australian the union had always opposed a public-private partnership funding model because people were ­focused more on enforcing contracts than delivering the best and safest patient care. “Our concerns have been realised,” she said.

    On the frontline, tensions are running high.

    Doctors have raised concerns about a clogged emergency department, while patients are complaining about being sent home as early as a day after major surgery because of a lack of beds.

    Within a fortnight of the hospital opening, the nurses’ union threatened industrial action after raising 13 major concerns including patient “line-of-sight issues”; delays in receiving blood products, drugs and equipment; and inadequate space, equipment and drugs for emergency intubation.

    The College for Emergency Medicine has warned of a “disaster” if the government does not find a solution before winter, when flu cases surge.

    Premier Steven Marshall promised “lots of changes which are going to be needed to be made urgently” at the new hospital.

    “The No 1 thing is listening to the people on the frontline, the doctors and nurses, who were being ignored by the previous government,” he said.

    Among the first actions of the new government have been to plan a clinical audit this year and to halt the rollout of the electronic patient record system in the new hospital, pending the completion of an independent review into its functionality, performance and “long-term prospects”. The EPAS budget has ballooned from $200m to $471m despite it being operational in a just handful of hospitals.

    Mr Wade said the new government’s priority was resolving urgent and significant operational issues ahead of winter, when the hospital will face its greatest test.

    Some of the urgent issues are contained in an accreditation report released by the government after the election, which found 24 areas of concern at the RAH.

    Top of the list is addressing the lengthy waits many patients experience in the emergency department for an inpatient bed.

    Clinicians and other medical staff have warned of the potential for overcrowding for years.

    Doctors last month said overcrowding and patient management at the new hospital was so dire that a “disaster” category was almost declared.

    The new hospital has 700 overnight beds and 100 day beds, but not all were commissioned immediately, meaning the new hospital has at times been operating on fewer than at the old hospital. Lately the hospital has operated at near-full capacity, using all available beds.

    Doctors were told that when the hospital opened there would be an average of 609 staffed overnight beds — a decision Dr Pope had warned would mean patients “will be at a high risk of bad outcomes”.

    The emergency department, with 71 cubicles compared with 59 at the old RAH, is regularly at or close to capacity, sometimes with an average waiting time of two hours or more.

    Then there is “bed block”, where patients get stuck in the emergency department after treatment, taking up space that could be used for new arrivals.

    Dr Pope said there also was a major problem with a backlog of surgery as the new hospital experienced “great trouble bringing the number of surgeries back up to previous levels at the old RAH”.

    He said it was essential major problems were fixed before winter. “We have to be as proactive as possible before we hit the depths of the winter crises, with insufficient beds. It will be too late to fix it then,” Dr Pope said.

    Patients admitted now regularly face waiting times of 24 hours or more for a bed after being treated in the emergency department.

    Mr Wade acknowledged “acute pressures on beds”, saying there were a range of factors, including that duress alarms were not working in the mental health ward, meaning more acute patients could not be admitted there.

    Mr Wade said he was working to address the issues raised in an accreditation report, which found seven “core” critical safety and quality standards were not met at the new hospital.

    Meanwhile, winter looms. Flu numbers are already at a record high in South Australia, up 12 per cent on last year.

    Bracing for the worst, Mr Wade has started winter demand strategy meetings with his department two months early.

    Australian Medical Association state president William Tam, a gastroenterologist, said South Australia’s health system was at a “critical time of change”, with the state’s workforce “buffeted by successive changes and challenges”.

    “The new Royal Adelaide Hospital offers exciting possibilities, but it is still getting up to speed,” Associate Professor Tam said.

    The state’s new Liberal government will face its own challenge in planning for a new hospital, as it considers how to implement a longstanding promise for a co-­located Women’s and Children’s Hospital with the new RAH.

    “We will hold the incoming government to the 100-day promise of a taskforce with clinicians to drive this project, with a view to achieving co-location by 2024,” Associate Professor Tam said.

    Time will tell if any lessons have been learned.

  214. Peter Beattie even lies during his now frequent apologies.

    Mr Beattie appeared on Seven’s Sunrise this morning, apologising for the “stuff up” but adamant that the welfare of the exhausted athletes had been at the forefront of organiser’s minds.

    Many athletes had finished their exhausting endeavours days ago.
    If they were all so exhausted and couldn’t stand up, why supply them with so many free condoms?
    Even for the ones who competed on the last days, their superior endurance honed by countless hours of training would give them the ability to stand for the minuscule hour Beattie was worried about.

    Straight out of the Beattie playbook – organise something badly, watch it stuff up millions of people, then say sorry after the damage has been wrought.

    I don’t like the NRL so there may be a little ray of light in Beattie’s ongoing incompetence.

  215. OldOzzie

    Trump lashes out at ex-FBI chief James Comey – The Australian

    Donald Trump launched into another furious Twitter tirade against James Comey on Sunday, hours before the broadcast of an extended interview with the fired former FBI director and with a memoir detailing his interactions with the president soon to hit US bookstores.

    Excerpts of the interview with ABC News already have been aired, as have reviews of Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.” The book, which is due out Tuesday, likens Trump to a dishonest, ego-driven mob boss and says he demanded Comey’s personal pledge of loyalty — a damning account that has infuriated the president at a moment of intensifying legal pressure on other fronts.

    “I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His ‘memos’ are self serving and FAKE!” Trump said in one of his latest tweets.

    The president again called Comey, who has said he took detailed notes of his meetings with Trump, a “slime ball” and said he “stupidly” handled a probe into Trump’s 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton.

    In another tweet, the president undertook a mini-review of Comey’s memoir: “The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?” The jumble of references appeared to allude to unsubstantiated accusations Trump has previously made claiming Comey lied in Senate testimony last May in denying he had served as an anonymous news source.

    “Look, it’s been very clear that James Comey is a self-admitted leaker. He lied to Congress,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week.” A Justice Department inspector general’s report released this week took aim at former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe on similar grounds, finding that he improperly authorised release of information to a Wall Street Journal reporter in 2016 and misled investigators about it.

    But McCabe, who was fired last month, has charged his dismissal was an attempt to discredit a probe by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible Trump campaign collusion with a Russian effort to sway the 2016 elections.

    The escalating feud comes as the Mueller probe gathers momentum — and with the president under pressure on other legal fronts.

    In the latest twist, the Justice Department revealed this week that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has been under “criminal investigation” for months by the US attorney’s office in New York.

    On Monday, investigators took the unusual step of searching Cohen’s New York residence, office, hotel room, safety deposit boxes and cellphones. Materials seized could include evidence related to payoffs to keep two women – a porn star and a former Playboy playmate – from talking about their past sexual encounters with Trump.

    Trump and his aides have countered Comey’s media blitz by attacking his handling of an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.

    Comey, who was fired by Trump last year, acknowledged in the ABC interview that his belief that Clinton would be elected president “was a factor” in his decision to reopen the email probe 11 days before the US election, a development that Clinton blames for her surprise defeat.

    “I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been, that she’s going to be elected president and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out,” Comey said.

    His comments echoed a quote from his memoir, in which he said it was “entirely possible” his concern over Clinton’s legitimacy “bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls.” “Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe,” Trump tweeted.

    “In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!” he wrote.

  216. LNP insider

    There is some discussion about ex deputy PM John Anderson jumping back into parliament. Possibly challenging Joyce. Seems like wishful thinking to me by the anti Barnaby mob.

    Also discussion about Bucholz swapping Wright for a senaye seat for Matt Canavan to enter the lower house in Wright.

  217. struth

    Love how Beatie claims his personality failures as mistakes.

    We should call out this bullshit for what it is.
    Complete and utter bullshit.

    He did not make mistakes, he has just shown the world his self serving political narcissism, and allowed those with the same flaws to embarrass Australia.
    That is not a “mistake”
    This is the wilful actions of a person who puts himself and his politics first, and believes he and his like minded mentally ill travellers are more important and popular, and necessary than they are.
    Fuckwit nobodies hijacking the spotlight when the spotlight should have never been allowed on them, is no “mistake.”
    It’s pure self indulgent Narcissism at the expense of their own country and it’s reputation, such is the desperation of these types to be in the spotlight.
    I didn’t watch a second of it except for a news report this morning.
    I see that Lord Waffleworth didn’t have much to do with it.
    If this is the case, I must say I’m a little surprised, but it wouldn’t have been through him not trying, just that the left had it all sown up.

    Such is the antics of the socialist mindset.

  218. stackja

    AS THE dawn of a new day approached over the horizon on April 16, 2009 and patrol boats HMA Ships Albany (Assail Two) and Childers (Ardent Four) rendezvoused on a quiet, calm sea near Ashmore Island, nobody could have imagined the drama that would soon unfold aboard the suspected illegal entry vessel known as SIEV 36, which had been intercepted one day earlier by Albany.

    With the completion of the Northern Territory Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of five Afghan men who died after petrol was deliberately poured and set alight, causing a horrific explosion on board SIEV 36, the incredible stories of those directly involved can now be told.

    In that pre-dawn darkness, Ardent Four’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Brett Westcott, took control of SIEV 36 from his Assail Two counterpart LCDR Barry Learoyd. Nine months later during evidence to the Coroner, both men gave insights to the heavy burden upon their shoulders as they reflected upon decisions they made that morning regarding the handover but, for reasons relating to crew fatigue and other operational imperatives, they had little choice but to do things as they did.

    There was no indication at all that could have caused them to foresee the events that were to unfold.

    As the sun rose and Albany steamed off, the atmosphere on board the SIEV changed.

    The Afghans believed they were being returned to Indonesia, something that the Northern Territory Coroner accepts the ADF never intended.

    First the SIEV’s engines were sabotaged, then passengers became restless and non-compliant as the unmistakable odour of petrol could be smelt 60m away on the bridge wing of Childers.

    From his vantage point atop the SIEV 36 coach house, the fumes were strong enough to burn the eyes of Steaming Party Leader Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Dean Faunt, who declared a ‘High Threat’ as he sent Petty Officer (PO) Thomas Dawe and Army Corporal (CPL) Bradley Bendeich forward to the bow of the vessel to wrestle a cigarette lighter from an Afghan man observed behaving suspiciously.

    Those witnessing the explosion from the bridge of Childers describe feeling a thump in their chests, such was its force.

    They saw their crew mates blown into the water and ADF members and civilians alike jumping and swimming for their lives.

    There was debris all over the water and screams of people yelling in pain and trying to attract attention.

    Everyone on board feared the worst.

  219. OldOzzie

    ROBERT GOTTLIEBSEN
    Changes in society undermine the financial pillars

    The financial community pillars, which have dominated Australia for the past decade, are under extreme threat. A very different Australia will emerge to the one where these pillars underwrote booms in building, retail, education and banking. Other areas of the community will need to replace them.

    Unless there is a dramatic and unlikely change in the threats, we are entering an era where dwelling prices will fall, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne; property investors using interest-only loans face bigger repayments; where the rents in many areas of the retail industry will decline; where the boom in many building trades will subside; where banking will become much more the province of lawyers and bank regulators; where the Australian Taxation Office takes a greater interest in the detail of loan applications for dwelling loans; and where Chinese investment in dwellings and support of Australian tertiary education is greatly reduced and finally migration subsides.

    What leads me to those conclusions?

    First, a dramatic, out-of-left-field change of direction at the royal commission into banking. That is followed by revelations by Sydney apartment developer Meriton that Chinese investment has slumped; indications from universities that the government attacks in China are having an impact, albeit small at the moment; the increased regulation of banks by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority; the links between one or two banks and the Australian Taxation Office; the fall in migration from the latest statistics; and finally, but importantly, research by UBS (on the banking sector) and Macquarie (on the retail space).

    It’s only when you look at these events in totality that you realise the scale of the threats to our ­pillars.

    So let’s start with the royal commission. I remember last year talking separately with two bank CEOs who reckoned there was nothing a royal commission would discover that was not known. It shows how completely unprepared the banks were for what would come out of the royal commission.

    Before the royal commission, they had before them the research by UBS, which showed that many bank customers were fudging their income levels to gain home loans — the so-called “liar loans”.

    Each bank had devised a way of explaining or denying these loans but underlying their explanations was the fact that they were comfortable with the vast bulk of the borrower income levels.

    Given it is not until dwelling prices fall that these problems will come to the fore, that remains an unresolved matter.

    But it has been overtaken by a challenge to the banks that came completely from left field. The royal commission discovered that when it came to living expenses, a vast number of loan applications had been approved without a detailed examination of each borrower’s actual costs.

    Instead, a formula was used that had living expenses at a hopelessly inadequate level.

    We don’t know what the royal commission will conclude, but from remarks being made it looks like by failing to check those borrower expense levels the banks were undertaking irresponsible lending and therefore breaking the law.

    If the people lose money they may be able to sue the banks! The legal firms that specialise in these areas are jubilant. But for people to lose money dwelling prices must fall and, for many, prices in Sydney and Melbourne have risen 20 per cent to 30 per cent over the past few years.

    Westpac is the first bank to realise that the royal commission looks like changing the business of banking in Australia. Westpac has instigated a detailed set of questions, which enables it to determine the real living expenditures of borrowers. All the other banks will follow in some form or other. Not to follow would be very dangerous.

    And just to really alarm many homebuyers, particularly investors, some banks plan to check the income levels that homebuyers claim with the tax office. Just between you and I, that’s the building industry equivalent of an exocet missile. (As long as the potential borrowers know that is what is going to happen, then I have no problem with the ATO here. It’s all about truth.)

    The global investment house UBS has been leading the research on the looming bank problem and they point out that while over the longer term demand and supply plays a key role, on a week-to-week basis, the amount a person or couple is prepared to pay is the sum of the deposit they have available and what the banks are prepared to lend them. If the banks cut the amount they are prepared to lend then prices will fall because buyers’ available cash is reduced. And that has already started, as a result, in the restrictions and higher interest rates on investor loans and a general tightening including a more careful lookout for “liar loans”.

    But, according to UBS, that’s nothing compared to what will happen when all the banks follow Westpac in responding to the sentiments being expressed at the royal commission.

    The ANZ told the royal commission that in about three-quarters of its loan applications it used what is called the HEM benchmark. The base level of that benchmark calculates the so-called “basic” living expenses at about $32,400 for a couple with two children. It’s clearly a totally unrealistic amount especially as, adjusted for inflation, it stays at that level for the length of the loan.

    It is highly likely that banks will move from the unrealistic “basic” expense level to the so-called “lavish HEM” of around $58,000. UBS say that is still too low and UBS assumes that if a couple earning $125,000 is put through a Westpac-style wringer their real living expenses will come out at around $68,000, taking into account that half of mortgage borrowers have private school fees. Under the old scenario, a couple earning $125,000 could borrow $644,000 or 5.2 times their income. Accordingly, with a $100,000 deposit they would pay up to $744,000 for an outer suburban house in Melbourne or Sydney. Under the new expenses scenario the bank will only lend them $466,000. So, again on the basis of a $100,000 deposit, they can only pay $566,000 for that same house — a fall of $178,000, or 23 per cent. Sellers will refuse to sell at those levels, so there will be supply constraints. Nevertheless, if the living expense clamps are strict there will still be a big dwelling price fall — and much more than the 5 per cent fall AMP is forecasting.

    I have always believed that if we started to see a widespread dwelling price fall approaching 10 per cent, the banks and the bank regulators would lift the clamps and hose the market with money. But the idea of “responsible” lending brings in the lawyers.

    Because Sydney and Melbourne prices have already gone up substantially and people will try very hard to maintain payments in residential houses, while investors often have used their residential house as security, banks will not suffer huge losses but they will stop growing.

    Building activity will fall sharply until land prices come down to make new houses affordable. And that causes big losses in smaller enterprises and developers and it’s in that area where banks will suffer the biggest losses.

    As the market falls and the Chinese students are curtailed there will be screams for better relations with China. None of this is good news for Malcolm Turnbull.

    In retail, Macquarie has calculated the amount of retail space that is going to come on to the market because about 22 retailers have gone into liquidation or announced store closures this year. Macquarie says 227,000sq m of lease space in malls and other centres is being vacated. In addition, Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us are letting go some 117,000sq m — a total of 344,000 sq m in vacancies in malls and shopping centres. Yet just as people are pushing up values of outer suburban real estate they are also buying retail properties. Both sets of buyers are taking risks unless they are buying unique properties.

  220. Anyone who uses Facebook (for free!) and didn’t think their data wasn’t being used and sold is a dill.

    I warned my children from the get go to be careful about what they put on there, as employers or potential employers might have a squiz.

    It is is a useful medium, all the same.

    As if Google doesn’t do similar, if you are on the internet, someone is getting analytics.

  221. OldOzzie

    Andrew Bolt: Let’s not forget the elite parrots who flocked to summit of shame

    MARK Thursday well. It is the 10th anniversary of our elite’s shame, when they showed how easily they could be flattered into parroting Labor’s lines.

    On April 19, 2008, 1000 of our “best and brightest”, hand-picked by new prime minister Kevin Rudd, took over our Parliament House despite being selected, not elected.

    Rudd asked them to “help us shape a long-term strategy for the nation’s future”, even though voters had only just had an election to decide exactly that.

    This was, in fact, a fascist vision, of a Big Leader gathering tame “representatives” to endorse precisely what he intended.

    But there wasn’t much criticism because among those “best and brightest” were media bosses and senior journalists only too proud to get Rudd’s pat.

    They joined the usual Labor luvvies Cate Blanchett, Tim Flannery, Robert Manne, Julian Burnside, Phillip Adams, Maxine McKew, Hugh Jackman, and the woman who best represented them all, Elena Jeffreys of the Scarlett Alliance collective of prostitutes. No fewer than 188 of these 1000 were from the Labor-promoting GetUp! group. More past and present ABC staff were invited than were serving Liberals.

    Naturally, the ABC fed their fantasies of being the elite, giving them two days of uninterrupted television coverage, intercut with footage of Rudd, sometimes sitting in mock humility on the floor, noting their thoughts on his to-do list.

    That coverage turned out to be a big mistake. It let us see, for instance, singer Robyn Archer telling us to be more like Cuba, whose dictators apparently “valued citizens who maintained their voice”.

    We could see oinking artists vote to have every government department spend 1 per cent of their budgets on art.

    There was even a unanimous vote for a republic, even though the nation’s voters when last asked, in 1999, had voted “no” in every state.

    As for big, new and good ideas, there was not one which Rudd ever enacted nor which anyone remembers. In fact, when asked to name the best new idea at his summit, Rudd named a bionic eye — only to find it had been invented already.

    Worse, in the 405 pages of summit declarations, there was not one mention of the word “recession” — which Rudd’s government just months later found itself desperately fighting.

    That was just 10 years ago. Remember never to tolerate such foolishness again.

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