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Sandpit

September 18th, 2013

A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on.

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  1. Fran Barlow
    September 18th, 2013 at 09:40 | #1

    Those interested in the case being put for a contribution by nuclear power to the energy mix …

    Pandora’s Promise will be on at Moore Park on 13 October

    https://www.eventbrite.com.au/event/8161504279?ref=ebtnebtckt

  2. September 18th, 2013 at 10:54 | #2

    Here’s a little article on how a US energy company is building wind and solar capacity because it’s cheaper than gas:

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/us-utility-chooses-wind-and-solar-cheaper-and-more-reliable-79876

  3. Will
    September 18th, 2013 at 12:17 | #3

    My grovelling apology to Herr Schäuble

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble writes an article proclaiming the economic success of the Eurozone. He is taken to task by Evans-Pritchard. It really gets into stride a third of the way down:

    I apologise for mentioning that unemployment is 27.8pc in Greece, 26.3pc in Spain, 17.3pc in Cyprus, and 16.5pc in Portugal, or for pointing that it would be far worse had it not been for a mass exodus of EMU refugees. Nor was is proper to mention that Greek youth unemployment in 62.9pc. These are trivial details.

    I apologise for pointing out that the EU-IMF Troika originally said the Greek economy would contract by 2.6pc in 2010 and then recover briskly, when in fact it contracted by roughly 23pc from peak-to-trough, and will shrink another 5pc this year according to the think-tank IOBE. This slippage is well within the normal margin of error.

    I apologise for mentioning that the debt trajectories of Spain, Greece, Italy, and Ireland have accelerated upwards under the austerity plans, and therefore that the policy has been self-defeating.

    It was quite uncalled for to point out that Italy’s debt ratio has jumped to 130pc of GDP, or to so suggest that debt cannot keep rising on a contracting nominal GDP bas, and I will wash my mouth soap if I ever utter the words “denominator effect” again. It is shabby to use such cheap language.

    I apologise for mentioning IMF studies showing that the fiscal multiplier is three times higher than first thought by EU officials in EMU crisis states, and therefore that the contractionary effects of belt-tightening are far greater than first calculated.

    et cetera et catera

    This has the makings to be a classic rebuttal article.

  4. Hermit
    September 18th, 2013 at 13:42 | #4

    @Ronald Brak
    For practical purposes I expect gas will be too expensive to burn in power stations within a decade. We’ll need it to fuel trucks and make fertiliser. That still leaves the problem of how to generate or retrieve solar power at night and in overcast weather.

  5. Ikonoclast
    September 18th, 2013 at 14:47 | #5

    @Will

    I had to laugh when I read an article lauding a country’s policies for getting it a big tick from the IMF. A tick from the IMF is the Kiss of Death for any economy.

  6. Ikonoclast
    September 18th, 2013 at 15:02 | #6

    @Fran Barlow

    Truly, Fran? You haven’t learned anything or drawn any lessons from Fukishima?

  7. Michael
    September 18th, 2013 at 15:03 | #7

    @Will
    Marvellous indeed, Will.

  8. Ikonoclast
    September 18th, 2013 at 15:10 | #8

    Beyond Nuclear says;

    “Pandora’s Promise, is a new pro-nuclear propaganda documentary released theatrically in the US in July 2013. It is funded in part by individuals with a vested interest in seeing the development of new reactors and is seemingly a vehicle by which to raise the profile of the anti-environmental Oakland think tank, The Breakthrough Institute, whose personnel feature prominently in the film. Despite the film’s premise and early claim that it features “a growing number of leading former anti-nuclear activists” who now support nuclear energy, no one in the film ever led the anti-nuclear movement. Nor was any credible, independent scientific or medical professional with expertise in the areas covered in the film consulted or featured. Beyond Nuclear has bird-dogged the film from the beginning, and has produced numerous critiques. We have also published a definitive report – Pandora’s False Promises: Busting the pro-nuclear propaganda – and a two-page synopsis. These documents address virtually all of the myths, lies and omissions typically found in pro-nuclear rhetoric and are intended to address these long after Pandora’s Promise fades into deserved oblivion.”

  9. Fran Barlow
    September 18th, 2013 at 15:50 | #9

    @Ikonoclast

    Truly, Fran? You haven’t learned anything or drawn any lessons from Fukishima?

    I again concluded that plants slated for closure because they are at the end of their useful life ought to be closed. I also concluded that corrupt and venal governments ought not to be in charge of running the safety regimes attending critical infrastructure (but that was clear from Chernobyl too). Building a nuclear plant in a place at risk of tsunami without secure back up generators to run the emergency SCRAM and cooling units was incredibly reckless. Having an insufficient bulwark against damage to the site from a tsunami was also ill-advised. Clearly, excavating the site back in the 1960s to bring it to sea-level was simply mad.

    I also note though that during the life of the plant since 1964, its footprint was a mere fraction of the likely footprint of all the other energy technologies that would have served in its place had nuclear been unavailable/not chosen.

    As to nuclear power more broadly, I remain open-minded about the contribution it can play in a decarbonised energy system. Speaking for myself, if nuclear power remains economically uncompetitive even with a suitable carbon price and/or for any reason is not likely to be deliverable on the timelines needed in any important energy market, whereas other technologies can, then I’m for those. Indeed, if even for reasons that really don’t go to its utility but rather to their cultural concerns, people prefer to exclude nuclear power and prefer to bear the costs of some other more expensive suite of low carbon technologies or other arrangements, then I will accede to the majority happily enough. If our energy mix is fairly benign in its impacts on the ecosystem I don’t much care what it costs. I would be troubled though if rejection of nuclear meant in practice an extended life for coal or gas — if not here, then in the much larger energy markets.

    I’m relaxed about people seeing documentaries and criticising their flaws if indeed they have them. This is the first I’ve heard of Pandora’s Promise and if it is indeed no better than a dishonest propaganda piece then let it be panned. Personally, I will find it interesting to see how (or whether) they deal with contemporary objections to nuclear power in the mix.

  10. rog
    September 18th, 2013 at 16:05 | #10

    Its quite possibly inappropriate for a State to give priority to a AAA rating but that’s politics. Following on from the WA loss of their AAA rating I expect a Costello commission of audit to identify waste etc etc, particularly in light of the windfall royalties flowing into their coffers.

  11. September 18th, 2013 at 16:13 | #11

    Yeah, if Pandora’s Promise isn’t going to go into the high cost of modern nuclear reactors, the prohibitively high cost of insuring even modern ones, and the low and decreasing cost of the renewable competition I don’t think it can really be called a documentary. Sure, it’s documenting something, but not reality.

    I could say that it should also mention the history of cover ups and down playing of accidents and how nuclear safety culture always seems to deteriorate in favour of keeping costs low, but then documentaries are rarely more than two hours long.

  12. John Quiggin
    September 18th, 2013 at 16:40 | #12

    I have written a response to Pandora’s Promise which I hope will appear closer to the time it is shown.

  13. rog
    September 18th, 2013 at 18:07 | #13

    It looks as if Abbott will stand true to his claim that it’s all crap.

  14. quokka
    September 18th, 2013 at 19:37 | #14

    @Fran Barlow

    Clearly, excavating the site back in the 1960s to bring it to sea-level was simply mad

    I believe it was done to cut down to bedrock. This is important for seismic protection which actually worked pretty much as designed (ie quite well) even though some measurements showed ground acceleration in excess of design basis during the great earthquake. Not really mad at all.

  15. Ikonoclast
    September 18th, 2013 at 19:44 | #15

    @Fran Barlow

    What about corrupt and venal capitalist corporations? That’s where the real problem is.

  16. Ernestine Gross
    September 19th, 2013 at 08:32 | #16

    Would a corrupt an venal capitalist corporation be a fascist corporation?

  17. Fran Barlow
    September 19th, 2013 at 08:36 | #17

    @Ernestine Gross

    Not in my opinion, though a [email protected] corporation would almost certainly be corrupt and venal.

  18. Crispin Bennett
    September 19th, 2013 at 09:00 | #18

    Isn’t ‘corrupt and venal corporation’ tautologous?

  19. September 19th, 2013 at 10:19 | #19

    Corrupt and venal don’t have quite the same in meaning. I think corrupt implies dishonesty for monetary or personal gain while venal means one is mercenary without necessarily being dishonest, although it does imply that one is not acting morally in some way by being mercency. It typically suggests that one has no principles.

  20. Crispin Bennett
    September 19th, 2013 at 10:35 | #20

    @Ronald Brak I was being slightly facetious, and conceived of the redundancy as being between ‘corrupt/venal’ and ‘corporation’. Corporations are venal by legal design, I suppose, and inevitably corrupt in practice.

  21. Ernestine Gross
    September 19th, 2013 at 11:22 | #21

    Would this make the word ‘capitalist’ superfluous in Inkonclast’s phrase?

  22. September 19th, 2013 at 12:21 | #22

    Hmm, if corporations are inevitably corrupt, Crispin, then my suspicions about my local cricket association may have been right all along!

  23. Crispin Bennett
    September 19th, 2013 at 12:44 | #23

    @Ronald Brak They’re among the worst.

  24. September 19th, 2013 at 13:02 | #24

    @Crispin Bennett
    I can believe it. Around here they make children stand in the hot sun wearing white clown clothes and throw hard wooden balls at each other. They make them wear big clown gloves and clown feet as well, except the clown feet are strapped to their shins instead of their shoes.

  25. kevin1
    September 19th, 2013 at 13:44 | #25

    @Fran Barlow
    Also being shown in Melb on 8 October. http://pandoraspromisemelbourne-es2.eventbrite.com.au/?rank=1
    I will also read the Beyond Nuclear rebuttal as well as seeing the film. I find that improves my knowledge.

  26. Michael
    September 19th, 2013 at 13:55 | #26

    Hi J-D (and apologies for pushiness in other forums)

    J-D … I don’t mind repeating myself in more detail.

    I think it’s misleading to refer to scientific laws as ‘operating’. That could create the impression that, for example, the laws of quantum electrodynamics are things that exist independently of matter and electromagnetic fields and that cause matter and electromagnetic fields to behave the way they do, which is not the case. I think it can sometimes be misleading to use the word ‘laws’, for that matter, and I think you’ll find that scientists often don’t.

    [They are formulations of regular behaviour. Some scientists (Newton, Gauss, Kepler are referred to as concocting “laws”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_science

    It seems a useful term for expressing the fact that matter acts in a regular way, and can be expected to act in a regular way, even at a time before we had any expectations – our point of debate.]

    … the only thing it can mean to say that the laws of quantum electrodynamics ‘operate’ is that matter and electromagnetic fields interact in the patterns stated by those laws (and not otherwise), and they ‘operated’ before humans existed in just the same way they do now.

    [OK, so we agree that matter and electromagnetic fields interacted in the patterns stated by human scientific laws, even before humans existed to conceive of and write down those laws.]

    On to your second post, and its first point:

    Being a collection of atoms is not enough by itself to make something capable of reasoning, just as it is not enough by itself to make something capable of photosynthesis. But that doesn’t mean that no collection of atoms is capable of reasoning. I think you have committed the fallacy of illicit process of the minor term.

    [Quite possibly. But then reason can also be self-referential. Unlike photosynthesis, human reason purports to (and largely does) explain how humans came to exist so as to have or engage in reason in the first place. Photosynthesis does not purport to give an account of how it itself came to occur. That capacity to stand outside of itself, and to reflect on its particularly human manifestation of itself marks human reason as different from other organic processes such as photosynthesis, IMHO.

    As you can see, I’m circling back to the question of how reason can give an independent account of itself. And if you don’t consider such independence necessary, then may I again ask “In what form did scientific laws (such as gravity) occur, even before humans showed up, conceived them, and wrote them down?”]

    Second point:

    For an act of measurement to take place, there must be interaction between the instrument of measurement and whatever is being measured. Therefore it is not possible for something to function as an instrument of measurement and yet remain completely independent of whatever is being measured.

    [Probably. But I posit Reason as a pre-existing, independent thing that then interacts with our process of reasoning by founding it, once we exist. I don’t suggest that Reason remains independent of humans when we reason.]

    Third point:

    Words mean what people use them to mean. To say that the word ‘wrong’ means the same to you and me, or very nearly the same, is to say that you and I use it in the same way, or very nearly the same way. I have never observed or had reported to me any instances of the universe as a whole using the word ‘wrong’, so I see no basis for drawing any conclusion that the word has any meaning to the universe as a whole. But I don’t see how that interferes with our communications using that word, so long as we keep using it in the same way, or nearly enough so.

    [So, consequently, you would then infer that human scientific laws are not right or wrong, but more approximations of how natural phenomena occurs? Fine and dandy, but then we discover reason to be something that is not just a feature of human reason (even before scientists invented robots that can reason).

    Einstein for example discovered that Newton’s law of gravity for example described the universe well up to a point, but that reason required the articulation of a broader principle.

    So far as Newton’s law did not describe special relativity or general relativity, wasn’t Newton “wrong”? In an absolute sense?

    I freely acknowledge the brilliance of human reason.

    I just find it annoying that certain forms of atheism limit human reason, by insisting that it is a peculiarly human thing, or just a local thing (when they are forced to admit that other things such as robots can also reason).

    Instead, why not acknowledge that there is an independent standard of reasoning, which must be postulated as pre-existing, independent, transcendent Reason? Only thus can we escape from subjectivism, as if reason is really just an accident in our heads.

    Or have I missed something?

  27. Hermit
    September 19th, 2013 at 16:53 | #27

    I may not get to see Pandora’s Promise in full until it comes out in DVD. However those who have already prejudged it would do well to study the promised German nuclear phase-out. Bottom line; most of their nukes are still operating, coal fired power stations are being built, emissions increased in 2012 and are expected to increase in 2013 and the green energy levy may have to be increased. Google it on English language Der Spiegel or this article in thenergycollective Trash, Trees, and Taxes: The Cost of Germany’s Energiewende. If their facts are wrong please supply new and better facts.

  28. Donald Oats
    September 20th, 2013 at 09:53 | #28

    Oh, look, a Liberal who can’t keep a budget. The solution? Break federal election promises and increase a toxic tax—the GST—to 12.5% or whatever. Well, that should be an interesting discussion to come…

    Actually, I’m curious as to just how Premier Barnett has resided over a three- to four-fold increase in the debt.

  29. Mark
    September 20th, 2013 at 10:11 | #29

    @Donald Oats
    How has Premier Barnett resided over a three to four-fold debt increase? With sheer and pure honesty – the same way he became associated extremely closely with extractive industry interests without IN ANY WAY becoming dodgy himself.

  30. J-D
    September 20th, 2013 at 11:26 | #30

    @Michael
    All the evidence available to humans now about events that occurred before humans existed supports the conclusion that there are regular patterns over time independent of the existence of humans. Human scientists have attempted to express these regularities using mathematics. At the time of Newton’s work, and for some time afterwards, it appeared that the mathematical systems he had developed were accurate descriptions of some of these regularities. More recent scientific investigation has shown that in fact the Newtonian model does not fit all the evidence with complete accuracy. For a wide range of situations, including those with which human beings naturally have most direct experience, the Newtonian model approximates almost exactly to the evidence, but outside that range it doesn’t. This is of some practical importance: for example, in order to be used effectively, the Global Positioning System requires the use of corrections calculated according to the mathematics of special and general relativity, and Newtonian calculations would give incorrect results. Newton, and later scientists working on the basis of Newton’s system, thought that he, and they, had expressed the regularities of nature, but it turns out that they hadn’t, although they had critical insights which produced highly useful models that also paved the way for the later work that corrected what they’d done.

    If you want to talk in terms of ‘scientific laws’, then I would say that Newton thought he had stated scientific laws, but in fact it turns out that he hadn’t, not quite.

    So what about the formulations produced by later scientists, working with relativistic and quantum models? Have they stated ‘scientific laws’? That depends. If their statements do in fact match exactly with the regular patterns of real events, then they could be called ‘scientific laws’ (if you like that expression), but if not, then not. That is, unless you want to use ‘scientific law’ to mean ‘a statement with matches the regular patterns of real events as closely as any we have been able to produce, and which has not been shown by the evidence to fail to match’. It is because of complexities like this that I often prefer to avoid the term.

    Newton had excellent reason to have a high level of confidence in the accuracy of his formulations, and the Newtonians who followed may have had even greater justification. However, modern scientists have even better grounds for even greater confidence in the latest replacements for Newton’s work. Does this mean that they’ve arrived at a final answer which matches the evidence as well as it’s possible to do and can never be improved on? By the nature of things, that’s something you can never know at the time, only with hindsight. If you ask scientists now for the best answer possible to questions about how things work, then, by definition, they can only give you the best answer possible now, and nobody can know that it’s the best answer possible ever.

    Other points:

    Yes, I agree that it’s possible that the capacity to reason isn’t restricted to humans, or at least may not remain restricted to humans. I don’t see that as problematic, and I don’t see how it’s relevant to the discussion we’re having. My position is not that the concept of ‘reason’ is restricted to human beings, but only that the concept of reasoning is restricted to reasoners: no reasoners, no reasoning. The only kind of thing that could justification for supposing that reasoning was going on before human beings existed would be if there was justification for supposing that there were reasoning beings before human beings existed.

    You admit that you may have committed the fallacy of illicit process of the minor term. If that’s so, then your argument was faulty and your conclusion did not follow from your premises. Does making an error not bother you? When I am detected in error I want to correct myself. Don’t you?

    You ask ‘In what form did scientific laws (such as gravity) occur, even before humans showed up, conceived them, and wrote them down?’ I thought I’d already answered this, but I don’t mind repeating. If it is in fact the case that there is a regularity in real events which is accurately described by something you want to call a ‘law’ of gravity, then the description is accurate for events before humans showed up in exactly the same way it’s accurate for events since.

    You ask ‘why not acknowledge that there is an independent standard of reasoning, which must be postulated as pre-existing, independent, transcendent Reason?’ You ask why not; I ask why. I see no justification for adopting such a postulate, and I am inclined to suspect that it’s meaningless (what Pauli described as ‘not even wrong’).

  31. TerjeP
    September 20th, 2013 at 11:40 | #31

    I’m sure that some of you will be less than pleased about the arrival of the Liberal Democrats. However I’m thrilled.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/australia/australia-features/9029251/in-praise-of-the-liberal-democrats/

  32. John Quiggin
    September 20th, 2013 at 13:25 | #32

    @TerjeP

    I’ll be fascinated to see how the LDP reconciles doctrinal purity with the desire to cut deals with Abbott – for example, whether they will vote to support budget bills that leave the size of government pretty much unchanged.

  33. Michael
    September 20th, 2013 at 13:43 | #33

    @J-D

    Hi J-D

    To your lengthy reply I can respond briefly by again asking “In what form did scientific laws occur before humans arrived to conceive of them, and write them down?”

    You say that you had already answered this, and state:

    “If it is in fact the case that there is a regularity in real events which is accurately described by something you want to call a ‘law’ of gravity, then the description is accurate for events before humans showed up in exactly the same way it’s accurate for events since..”

    But you don’t actually name the form. (I reckon the rest of our debate is secondary.)

  34. J-D
    September 20th, 2013 at 14:24 | #34

    @Michael
    I have striven to state my position as clearly as I can. You seem to be insisting that I conform to a particular mode of expression which I have been trying to avoid because I consider that using it will reduce clarity. However, I comply at your insistence: the form in which scientific laws occurred before humans arrived is the same form in which they continue to occur, namely, the form of patterns in events. I still think that my compliance is only going to make the discussion less clear, but you did insist.

  35. Michael
    September 20th, 2013 at 14:34 | #35

    @J-D

    Thanks J-D. But if I can push the point even further: A microsecond before those events began to occur, just before there were observable events, in what form did those laws exist?

    Or didn’t those laws exist until there were events, and hence patterns that could be observed?

  36. Michael
    September 20th, 2013 at 14:38 | #36

    @TerjeP

    Hi Terje

    The (Australian) Liberal Democrats have the same name as a British political party, yet their policies seem much libertarian.

    If it’s not the same party, they happen to have chosen a name that was likely to lead at least some voters to mistakenly conclude that they resemble the British Lib Dems (who greatly resemble and have friends in the Australian Dems).

    Was that honest?

  37. Fran Barlow
    September 20th, 2013 at 15:48 | #37

    @kevin1

    To be highly encouraged. As noted above, I’m for what works best to remove fossil hydrocarbons from the energy cycle as soon as possible. I’m not so much in favour of nuclear power as not opposed to it in principle. At worst, the case is plausible. It’s not a carbon-intensive energy source. Properly managed, its ecological footprint is tiny compared with coal and gas, but there are some other perfectly valid considerations that make resort to it problematic — cost and schedule feasibility, the issue of civil rights and plant security (which is much too little discussed, IMO). There are some settings where the technical expertise and the management required would not in practice be adequate. People are entitled to think the nuclear game isn’t worth the candle, so I wouldn’t say the case for the inclusion of nuclear power is compelling or even persuasive in all settings.

    If Pandora’s Promise simply retails a series of half-truths, or fails to deal seriously with reasonable objections, then I will be amongst those who are annoyed.

  38. J-D
    September 20th, 2013 at 15:54 | #38

    @Michael
    By definition, there is no such thing as a time before any events occurred. The expression is meaningless.

  39. Sad Sam
    September 20th, 2013 at 16:12 | #39

    @J-D
    Hi J-D

    … and yet you’re saying

    “… the form in which scientific laws occurred before humans arrived is the same form in which they continue to occur, namely, the form of patterns in events”.

    No?

  40. Michael
    September 20th, 2013 at 16:13 | #40

    That “Sad Sam” fella! Jumping in on my posts again! But he’s spot on.

  41. J-D
    September 20th, 2013 at 16:23 | #41

    @Michael
    The expression ‘a time before any human beings existed’ is meaningful. The expression ‘a time before any events occurred’ is not. The two expressions are not equivalent.

  42. TerjeP
    September 20th, 2013 at 17:32 | #42

    Michael – the name was chosen circa 2001. I became involved with the party circa 2006. The name is based on the fact that the party advocates a shift to liberal democracy.

    In terms of friends in the Australian Democrats one of our candidates was recently elected to the Campbelltown council and now is in fact the mayor (Cr Clinton Mead). He used to be in the Australian Democrats. He didn’t find them liberal enough for his liking so he joined us.

    To answer the question directly “yes it was honest”. Voters have had plenty of opportunity to research our the policies and over time our popularity has grown. On a national basis we won nearly 4% of the vote this election.

    If the media or others feel there is some confusion between us and the Democrats, the Liberal Party or the Liberal Democrats in Britian then they are free to promote and highlight the differences. In fact I hope they do.

    There are lots is party names that share words:-

    Australian Democrats
    Liberal Democrats
    Christian Democrats
    Democratic Labour Party
    Liberal Party
    Labor Party
    Progressive Labour Party
    Social Equity
    Socialist Alliance

    And on it goes.

  43. TerjeP
    September 21st, 2013 at 06:27 | #43

    @John Quiggin

    John – the devil is always in the detail. I doubt the LDP have many or even any deals to cut with Tony Abbott. Maybe a few suggestions if he will listen. Perhaps Tony Abbott has something to offer but there is nothing that I know of on the table. Time will tell but David Leyonhjelm has stated the party position pretty clearly. He is not there to stop the government governing. He will vote against any tax increase. He will vote for any reduction in civil liberties. No doubt he will be judged by LDP constituents and opponents on every decision. That is as it should be.

  44. TerjeP
    September 21st, 2013 at 06:28 | #44

    Will NOT vote for any reduction in civil liberties.

  45. Ernestine Gross
    September 21st, 2013 at 08:01 | #45

    @Hermit

    “..promised German nuclear phase-out. Bottom line; most of their nukes are still operating, “ Not true

    4 closed down in the 1970s
    5 closed down in the 1980s
    4 closed down in the 1990s
    2 closed between 2000 and 2005
    8 closed in 2011

    19 closed down in total

    Only 9 are still operating.

    Source:

    http://www.euronuclear.org/info/encyclopedia/n/nuclear-power-plant-germany.htm

    “…coal fired power stations are being built,” True.

    How many, Hermit?

    “…emissions increased in 2012” True

    By how much, Hermit?

    Below is a U.K. summary report on the relationship between economic crises, coal power station investment and their expected future.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/poyry-report-to-decc-outlook-for-new-coal-fired-power-stations-in-germany-the-netherlands-and-spain

  46. Michael
    September 21st, 2013 at 09:00 | #46

    @TerjeP
    That’s great Terje P.

    Why don’t you also say that you won’t vote for fascism, totalitarian versions of socialism, or communist dictatorships?

    That would add about as much to the conversation.

  47. TerjeP
    September 21st, 2013 at 10:43 | #47

    Well we didn’t preference the Greens so it should be clear that we won’t vote for those thing.

  48. Michael
    September 21st, 2013 at 10:48 | #48

    So the Greens are fascists as well as socialists and communist dictators?

    Perhaps Clive Palmer was on the money when he said the CIA funds Greenpeace!

  49. TerjeP
    September 21st, 2013 at 10:55 | #49

    I’m not sure which of those the Greens would be if they were ever in government but they are close to all of them in outlook. The common thread in thinking being the notion that state power must be mobilised to make a nation great.

  50. Fran Barlow
    September 21st, 2013 at 10:57 | #50

    @TerjeP

    Though you did preference One Nation … who aren’t totalitarian/[email protected] or c0mmun|st, but certainly were anti-libertarian, pro-protectionist etc …

    I regard your implication that The Greens fit one out of the descriptors:

    fascism, totalitarian versions of socialism, or communist dictatorships

    as ludicrous on the face of it. No part of our usages or policy has a totalitarian or even an authoritarian component. We have a more liberal policy towards free speech and civil rights than does the Coalition whom your party also preferenced ahead of us.

  51. Will
    September 21st, 2013 at 12:00 | #51

    Would dearly love to have an honest exchange of views with a thoughtful conservative but apparently reeling off a list of fifty year old trite soundbites is an acceptable debate substitute.

  52. September 21st, 2013 at 18:45 | #52

    @TerjeP
    Your health policy appears to have been written by someone who has rote learned free market ideology, and knows nothing about health.
    Roll on Senate reform.

  53. TerjeP
    September 21st, 2013 at 18:51 | #53

    Fran – I agree with you regarding One Nation preferences. Although the preference system kind of makes it inevitable that minor parties will preference swap before the majors. Assuming of course they actually care to win. But the following statement is just ludicrous:-

    We have a more liberal policy towards free speech and civil rights than does the Coalition whom your party also preferenced ahead of us.

    The Greens want a licensing scheme for newspapers which the Liberals opposed. The Greens and the Liberals both opposed the Internet filter although Greens were admittedly quicker off the mark. The Liberals want to remove restrictions on speech that “offends” whilst the Greens are committed to keeping it. So on free speech the Liberals get 3/3 whilst the Greens get 1/3.

  54. September 21st, 2013 at 18:52 | #54

    @TerjeP
    One part that most struck me was the bit about how poor people should look for support from the community to cover their health costs (once you’ve opened everything up to the ‘free’ market). I can just imagine the scene, unemployed person begging in the street with sign “having heart attack – please give generously”.

  55. TerjeP
    September 21st, 2013 at 18:58 | #55

    Val – In senate voting 25% of Australians gave there first preference to a political party not currently in parliament. In short a quarter of Australians don’t want Labor, Greens or Coalition. I don’t mind senate reform but everything I have hear suggested in the media would ensure that 100% of the senate went to Labor, Greens or Coalition. The 4% threshold test would close the door on newcomers. Above the line optional preferential would do the same. The LDP would probably survive above the line compulsory preferential but other minor parties would be out of contention. Most of the calls for reform are self serving suggestions from the major parties. So whilst I agree the existing setup is far from ideal the alternatives suggested would be far less representative. Be careful what you wish for.

  56. September 21st, 2013 at 20:25 | #56

    @TerjeP
    And have you got a defence of your health policy? Because if you send me the first year economics undergraduate who wrote it, I can explain to that person why handing over your health care system to organisations that stand to make money out of it, isn’t actually going to save money for anyone.

    Re the senate I need to check your figures so will get back later.

  57. Jim Rose
    September 21st, 2013 at 21:58 | #57

    isn’t great that almost anyone can get into the senate. the only parties rejected were the socialist left.

  58. TerjeP
    September 21st, 2013 at 23:11 | #58

    What are you talking about Jim? The Greens won 4 senate spots this time around.

  59. J-D
    September 22nd, 2013 at 07:29 | #59

    @TerjeP
    The notion that state power must be mobilised to make a nation great is obviously accurate. It may even be tautologous. The mistake you’re making (not that you’re along in making it) is thinking in terms of making a nation great. That’s an extremely poor choice of objective (not that people refrain from making it just the same). There is no relationship between the greatness of a nation and the welfare of its people.

  60. BilB
    September 22nd, 2013 at 09:07 | #60

    The ABC just can’t help themselves from being the compromised politcally biased defunct organisation that they are. I’ve banned anything ABC from my household along with everything Murdoch (Foxtel is going soon). But this morning I found myself briefly watching an ABC news item while flicking stations.

    Apparently 457 visa exploiters are unhappy at having to pay for their kids education while they are in Australia. “We pay taxes” they exclaim. So apart from pinning the whole issue on Julia Gillard with a clip of her expressing the view that 457 visas are being exploited, the total substance of the “reporting” was that most states now apply a varying level of fee to such people. And that is it.

    One bunch are unhappy, Gillard is to blame, states profit. That is now the depth to which Australian journalism has sunk.

    No attempt to point out that any person’s tax is insufficient on a day by day basis to cover the education and health needs of families. The ABC judges that Australians are too thick to absorb any explanatory detail. These costs are amortised over the life time of a tax payer extending well before and well after a family’s education drawdown occurs. So for cheap imported labour to swing in, with families in tow requiring educating, to serve the convenient needs of a mining mogul this IS an imposition on the Australian taxpayer, and a cost that the employer should include in the wages to such people. 457 visa labour not so cheap when all of the costs are included.

  61. September 24th, 2013 at 19:53 | #61

    I’ve just read how France is introducing a carbon price and a levy on nuclear energy to pay for the transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency:

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/france-to-tax-nuclear-fossil-fuels-to-boost-shift-to-renewables-42651

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