Saturday, 31 August 2013

Pot holes to development

Things are not the same around Wandoan. With rampant resource sector development in recent years the police district covered from Wandoan has experienced a 200% increase in heavy traffic movements. This is more than any other area in the Surat basin. The Wandoan police station has had a doubling of staff from 2 to 4 officers to cover the extra traffic and policing issues brought on by coal seam gas projects. Resource company dual cabs as a lighter vehicle would not be covered in the heavy traffic movement statistic significantly outnumber any other traffic on Wandoan community roads. It has become a common sight to witness a one of these vehicles worst for wear from an accident on the back of a tilt tray truck. Some Wandoan district back roads now have more vehicles use them in one day than what would once travel their length in one year.

With all this activity the inevitable occurred, the ruination of roads, pot holes, slower driving times, worries about livestock transport, dust and great inconvenience to the Wandoan and district community.

On a Friday afternoon 30th August community members came in good numbers to a forum at the Wandoan cultural centre to voice their frustrations to their not so local council, the Western Downs Regional Council. (WDRC)

It was almost a perfect storm for WDRC. It was formed out of what Professor Scott Prasser recently described in a recent ABC radio interview as the “surreptitious manner in which former Qld Premier Peter Beattie brought in council amalgamations.” A mammoth task of tacking together the former shires of Dalby, Wambo, Tara, Chinchilla, Murilla and the crude hacking in half of the Taroom shire. The latter is the Wandoan community.

 Then there were the consecutive flood years of 2010 and 2011. There were many roads damaged in this time by flood waters not helped by coal seam gas exploration vehicles who insisted on using non all weather roads in the wet. At the beginning of WDRC existence Xstrata caused a lot of vehicles movements with exploration & pre-development work on the proposed largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere. In buying out farmers and graziers in the mine area this proposed super hole in the ground ripped a large hole in the fabric of the Wandoan community which is replaced by zilch since Glencore/ Xstrata have now announced the policy of no new “greenfield” coal mines. Xstrata are now conspicuous by their absence as also missing in action is those vehicles running around in the bid to develop the “missing link” railway. However these were replaced in increased numbers by the invading hordes working on gas pipeline projects and the development of new coal seam gas fields.

But it wasn’t the perfect storm as the meeting at Wandoan did not allow the WDRC engineers, councillors and the mayor, Ray Brown to avoid all responsibility. Damage to roads by flood is being funded from State and Federal governments administrated in what appears to be a ponderous convoluted fashion by the Qld Recovery Authority. The emphasis is on restoration not reconstruction; restoration to the pre-existing level. It may be unfair but there is the appearance that WDRC councillors have allowed themselves to become consumed by the weight of the system, the process, the red tape that they have lost the capacity to take control. The meeting was assured that just as much money as previously was spent in the Wandoan area on roads was met with scepticism after taking in account of CPI, mandatory budget allocation of depreciation and most emphasised by the meeting ever increasing WDRC red tape. All of which isn’t helped by the autocratic management style of Mayor Ray Brown.

At the start of the current ongoing coal seam gas activity there was no arrangements in place for the repairs of roads. Narrow 4 metre bitumen road proved to be completely unsuitable for the amount of traffic experienced. Because when passing vehicles have to move at least in part off the bitumen, the sides got worn away, a drop down developed off the bitumen and then the edges of the bitumen would break away, narrowing the road further. On gravel and dirt roads the resource companies started to maintain the roads. For example the principle contractor for the QGC gas pipeline project, MCJV, would send a grader, water truck and roller up a road every fortnight. Some of these roads were maintained in a better condition than they ever had been before. Then without explanation to their ratepayers WDRC stopped resource projects maintaining roads. The meeting was told that the roads weren’t being graded in the correct manner. This received the very good reply of that council have specifications for their own staff to meet; why can’t these specifications be provided and overseen for work done by resource companies?

There are now agreements in place for resource companies to pay for damage to roads. The Qld Co-ordinator general has made directions to a process. The original traffic predications proved to be of little worth and WDRC now work on calculating actual damage to the road. There are problems with different resource companies using the same road pointing the finger at the other for being the culprit of inflicting damage. WDRC has received funds from QGC, Origin and Sunwater, having spent to date $28 million on repairs with an estimated $42 million required. Typical of how they operate, Powerlink are conspicuous by their absence with any dialog with WDRC to meet any repair bill.  

Apparently the aim is require any resource company when a project is completed to repair the road to a standard it was before they began operations. But is this adequate? Should not roads that can’t handle the expected traffic such as narrow bitumen be upgraded before commencement of a project? Should a community suffer this much inconvenience with the only expectation of no improvement when it is all over?  

Thursday, 29 August 2013

State Corporation, Powerlink vs Woodduck Landholder Group

This is an excellent article about the Woodduck Landholder Group from page 20 in the Surat Basin News insert, 29th August edition of the Chinchilla News.  The journalist for the Surat Basin News has combined the breaking story about the Wodducks group's plight in Roma's Western Star newspaper, Wallumbilla north residents' unequal battle with Powerlink ,  with points raised by Rebecca Beissel in a letter to the editor. 

Residents say high voltage power network is ‘too close to homes

Rebecca Beissel with son Beau Beissel and daughter Maggie Beissel and Jenny York are concerned Powerlinks' transmission project will affect their health and safety.
Photo sourced Western Star
Rebecca Beissel with son Beau Beissel and daughter Maggie Beissel and Jenny York are concerned Powerlinks' transmission project will affect their health and safety.
It was back in March when this site first brought attention to the Powerlink  proposal the construct multiple high voltage transmission lines in the north west of the Surat Basin in a web over the land of farming families to supply electricity to coal seam gas infrastructure. This first article focused on landowners north of the town of Yuleba. The Woodduck group are nearby, north of the town of Wallumbilla. They have been reluctant to go to the media. The August 14th article in the Western star the first time that the Woodduck group have gone to the press. They have bent over backwards in trying to be reasonable, to accommodate Powerlink, and to offer viable alternatives; all to no avail. A stalemate has been reach. This is no NIMBY group but they are also determined that Powerlink are not going to go through at just any cost
In the above article SANTOS tried to wash their hands of any responsibility for Powerlink impacts upon farming families. The Woodduck Group have responded with this letter below. They also point out that further undisclosed activity by SANTOS will result in more Powerlink high voltage transmission lines impacting on yet more landowners.

Further reading:

Related articles:



Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life


Crossed post under Smithsonian Terms of Use

 Modern archaeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artefacts: pots of honey, thousands of years old, and yet still preserved. Through millennia, the archaeologists discover, the food remains unspoiled, an unmistakable testament to the eternal shelf-life of honey.
 There are a few other examples of foods that keep–indefinitely–in their raw state: salt, sugar, dried rice are a few. But there’s something about honey; it can remain preserved in a completely edible form, and while you wouldn’t want to chow down on raw rice or straight salt, one could ostensibly dip into a thousand year old jar of honey and enjoy it, without preparation, as if it were a day old. Moreover, honey’s longevity lends it other properties–mainly medicinal–that other resilient foods don’t have. Which raises the question–what exactly makes honey such a special food?

The answer is as complex as honey’s flavour–you don’t get a food source with no expiration date without a whole slew of factors working in perfect harmony. The first comes from the chemical make-up of honey itself. Honey is, first and foremost, a sugar. Sugars are hygroscopic, a term that means they contain very little water in their natural state but can readily suck in moisture if left unsealed. As Amina Harris, executive director of the Honey and Pollination Centre at the Robert Mondavi Institute at Univeristy of California, Davis explains, “Honey in its natural form is very low moisture. Very few bacteria or microorganisms can survive in an environment like that, they just die. They’re smothered by it, essentially.” What Harris points out represents an important feature of honey’s longevity: for honey to spoil, there needs to be something inside of it that can spoil. With such an inhospitable environment, organisms can’t survive long enough within the jar of honey to have the chance to spoil.

Honey is also naturally extremely acidic. “It has a pH that falls between 3 and 4.5, approximately, and that acid will kill off almost anything that wants to grow there,” Harris explains. So bacteria and spoil-ready organisms must look elsewhere for a home–the life expectancy inside of honey is just too low.

But honey isn’t the only hygroscopic food source out there. Molasses, for example, which comes from the by-product of cane sugar, is extremely hygroscopic, and is acidic, though less so than honey (molasses has a pH of around 5.5). And yet–although it may take a long time, as the sugar cane product has a longer shelf-life than fresh produce, eventually molasses will spoil.

So why does one sugar solution spoil, while another lasts indefinitely? Enter bees.
“Bees are magical,” Harris jokes. But there is certainly a special alchemy that goes into honey. Nectar, the first material collected by bees to make honey, is naturally very high in water–anywhere from 60-80 percent, by Harris’ estimate. But through the process of making honey, the bees play a large part in removing much of this moisture by flapping their wings to literally dry out the nectar. On top of behaviour, the chemical makeup of a bees stomach also plays a large part in honey’s resilience. Bees have an enzyme in their stomachs called glucose oxidase (PDF). When the bees regurgitate the nectar from their mouths into the combs to make honey, this enzyme mixes with the nectar, breaking it down into two by-products: gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. “Then,” Harris explains, “hydrogen peroxide is the next thing that goes into work against all these other bad things that could possibly grow.”

For this reason, honey has been used for centuries as a medicinal remedy. Because it’s so thick, rejects any kind of growth and contains hydrogen peroxide, it creates the perfect barrier against infection for wounds. The earliest recorded use of honey for medicinal purposes comes from Sumerian clay tablets, which state that honey was used in 30 percent of prescriptions. The ancient Egyptians used medicinal honey regularly, making ointments to treat skin and eye diseases. “Honey was used to cover a wound or a burn or a slash, or something like that, because nothing could grow on it – so it was a natural bandage,” Harris explains.

What’s more, when honey isn’t sealed in a jar, it sucks in moisture. “While it’s drawing water out of the wound, which is how it might get infected, it’s letting off this very minute amount of hydrogen peroxide. The amount of hydrogen peroxide comes off of honey is exactly what we need–it’s so small and so minute that it actually promotes healing.” And honey for healing open gashes is no longer just folk medicinein the past decade, Derma Sciences, a medical device company, has been marketing and selling MEDIHONEY, bandages covered in honey used in hospitals around the world.
If you buy your honey from the supermarket, that little plastic bottle of golden nectar has been heated, strained and processed so that it contains zero particulates, meaning that there’s nothing in the liquid for molecules to crystallize on, and your supermarket honey will look the same for almost forever. If you buy your honey from a small-scale vendor, however, certain particulates might remain, from pollen to enzymes. With these particulates, the honey might crystallize, but don’t worry–if it’s sealed, it’s not spoiled and won’t be for quite some time.

A jar of honey’s seal, it turns out, is the final factor that’s key to honey’s long shelf life, as exemplified by the storied millennia-old Egyptian specimens. While honey is certainly a super-food, it isn’t supernatural–if you leave it out, unsealed in a humid environment, it will spoil. As Harris explains, ” As long as the lid stays on it and no water is added to it, honey will not go bad. As soon as you add water to it, it may go bad. Or if you open the lid, it may get more water in it and it may go bad.”
So if you’re interested in keeping honey for hundreds of years, do what the bees do and keep it sealed–a hard thing to do with this delicious treat!

Read more:

Friday, 23 August 2013

GetUp gets down and dirty!

Who's a misogynist?
GetUp is a misinformation body which evolved from the US (Partly George Soros Funded) MoveOn.

Although GetUp claims to be an independent grass roots organisation...
GetUp is an independent, grass-roots community advocacy organisation which aims to build a more progressive Australia by giving everyday Australians the opportunity to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues.
...everyday Australia's who are not of an extreme left bent cannot express their views.
GetUp does not back any particular party
Is your bulltish meter going wild in the background? Better throw a blanket over it! It will be going beserk and I progress!
GetUp does not accept donations from political parties or the Government. 
However it DOES accept wads of cash from the union movement. Do the union members know what happens to their contributions? (link)
In 2010 it became public that GetUp received more than $1m in donations from six unions in the course of three weeks during that year's federal election campaign, equal to about two thirds of its advertising campaign expenditure and over half of their total donations.
GetUp is run by a small office of staff, interns and volunteers in Sydney. Since July 2012, Sam McLean has acted as GetUp's National Director, replacing previous National Director Simon Sheikh.  
And Simon Sheikh's political affiliations?
Simon Sheikh was appointed national director of GetUp! in September 2008; four years later journalist Troy Bramston revealed that he had been a financial member of the Australian Labor Party for four years at the time of his appointment. He remained a member for another three months before resigning his membership. This was initially refuted by Sheikh but the General Secretary of theALP (NSW Branch), declared that party records show Sheikh was a financial member from 2 April, 2004, until the 26 November, 2008. 
GetUp's latter day National Director Sam McLean has sent out a begging letter wanting me to "chip in again." Sorry, Sam, since I didn't "chip in" last time, your again makes that impossible.

SO what does succor-seeking Sam say?
My family friend Kathy has voted Liberal all her life. Kathy's right. If we don't stand up for our progressive values....
Kathy's right? Progressive values from a fictitious person who has voted "Liberal all her life?"  No Kathy's not right! She's definitely left.

She was talking about Tony Abbott's views on women....
Tony Abbott's views on women? Remember,  former PM Gillard's  "Abbott's a misogynist" tirade was made when defending Peter Slipper and his relating womens' genitalia to mussels. (LINK)
Defending a misogynist by branding another a misogynist? Strange.

Does Abbott dislike women? He likes them, not like the lies spread about him that actually apply to his misogynist opponent. Ask the make-up artists, air crew and others. (link)

Ask all the Labor people who resigned on his return. (link)

Back to Sam's Fictional Friend:
And on refugees.
On Refugees? The coalition had a successful suite of policies that stopped the boats and stopped deaths at sea. Rudd opened the door and, as Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said, put "sugar on the table." This lead to billions extra out of our borrowed dollars budget and tragically led to more than 1,300 deaths at sea. Shame, Rudd, Shame.

If we don't hold Rudd to account for his outlandish inappropriate waste spending it will be our Grandchildren, nay our great Grandchildren, who will be paying off this. What about the $5.4 million in $900 cheques including some that that went offshore this week to backpackers. (link)
In a major dent to Labor's economic credibility, the costly government bungle means taxpayers will fork out more than $5 million in "tax bonus" payments in 2013. 
A News Corp investigation can reveal hordes of backpackers on "working holiday" visas received the one-off cash bonus even though 5 million Australian workers missed out.
What about the lies spread by Rudd?

Abbott's $70 billion black hole? Exposed as a lie by the SMH. (Link)
The claim"The Coalition, to return the federal budget to as a good a position as the government's, at minimum, would have to make $70 billion worth of cuts."  
Politifact rates the statement "false". (Details at

As health minister Tony Abbott "took $1 billion out of hospital funding for the states".

Kevin Rudd on Sunday, August 11, 2013 in the leaders' debate, National Press Club.

How did politfact rate this whopper?
The charge is serious and personal.
We rate it False. (link)
Abbott is a volunteer fire-fighter, a volunteer surf life saver and spends his holidays raising funds by his PolliePedal (link), often for women's causes; previously breast cancer and this year for Manly Women's Shelter (Misogynist?)
Since it began, Pollie Pedal has raised $2.5 million for organisations such as the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health within the Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Ronald McDonald House, Youth Insearch, and the Paralympic Games, as well as medical research into childhood leukaemia, diabetes, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Compare the two and really examine them, not relaying on left leaning media filters (crickey, ABC, SMH)  there is only one decent man and one rat.

Mind you, they are both bowing to the falsified man-made global warming hypothesis. Shame on them both.

In the Senate, why not vote for truth in Science, why not vote against paying billion to prop up the falsified man-made global warming hypothesis......Vote 1 -the NO CARBON TAX Climate Sceptics.

+  +  +  +  +  +  +  

Sam McLean and GetUp's latest lies:

To: xxxxxx
Subject: Tony wants to speak for us. Here's what he says

Dear X

My family friend Kathy has voted Liberal all her life. This weekend, over Sunday lunch, she asked me "how are we letting him get away with this?" 

She was talking about Tony Abbott's views on women. And on refugees. And on same sex couples, and "on, well, equality and compassion - full stop." 

Kathy's right. If we don't stand up for our progressive values, no one else will. If we don't hold Tony Abbott to account for his views, they'll go unchallenged right through to election day -- when, according to today's polls, he will become our next Prime Minister. Click here to see our latest ad, featuring his views and spoken by GetUp members: 

Every week Tony Abbott makes another comment that reveals very concerning social views. Commentators blow them off as "gaffes", but this isn't about gaffes. It's about values. 

It's about our national character if our Prime Minister labels refugees who seek our help as "illegal", even as they exercise their legal, human right to flee danger. 

It's about the message we send to young gay and lesbian Australians, if our Prime Minister talks about their equality as a "passing fashion," and what that does to their self-esteem. 

It's about our values if a Prime Minister talks to "the housewives of Australia as they're doing their ironing," says his colleagues are "not just a pretty face" and have "sex appeal" and calls on his opponent to "make an honest woman of herself". 

Prime Ministers reflect our national values, and have the power to change them radically. Does what Tony Abbott says matter? Well, in 17 days he wants to be speaking for all of us. Click here to watch the new ad featuring GetUp members: 

Together last election, we raised over $300,000 to put a similar version of this ad on air. It was called "the most effective ad of the election." Let's chip in again, and take this updated ad even further. 

Let's not let Tony Abbott's views on social values, and issues affecting women go unexamined and unchallenged. We've had too many people like Kathy asking "how are we letting him get away with this?" And too many men like me wondering what we can do, because we're fed up with people thinking Tony Abbott speaks for Australian men. Whatever your story, let's make sure he knows that he doesn't speak for us. 

Let's speak up, 

Sam for the GetUp team.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Best Chance to Remove the Greens from the South Australian Senate

“Leon Ashby is the best chance to remove the Greens from the SA Senate” 
Leon Ashby
2002 Centenary Medal recipient for services to
Conservation and the Environment

In support of NCTCS Senate Candidate
 Leon Ashby

Hello Supporters and Readers,

"Leon Ashby needs your help to secure a seat in the Senate."

This email is an unashamed request for a few funds to assist electing NO CARBON TAX Climate Sceptics Candidate Leon Ashby to the Senate in SA. 

We believe his chances are remarkably good as explained below.

The funds are to print as many Posters as possible to spread around SA during the two weeks prior to the election. Posters cost around $15 each. We would like to print over 100 if possible. (e.g. Raise $1500 or more)

First a big thank you to everyone who has given funds to get our 12 candidates nominated. It cost us $24,000.

Secondly a huge thank you to the other parties who have preferenced NCTCS high in SA - We are humbled by your confidence in us.

There are 12 parties who have preferenced Leon either first or virtual first in SA.

The media has missed this point so far, so do not be surprised if you have not read about it - YET

There are three "humps" for Leon to get over to get elected.

The first hump is to poll highly enough to start accumulating the votes of the other micro parties. 

We believe he needs 5,000 votes to do this. Last election he received 4,600 votes.
Publicity is the crucial thing here - Posters - interviews and people passing on information with emails

 “Leon Ashby is the best chance to remove the Greens from the SA Senate” is the message to get out.

The second hump is the toughest - when preference distribution reaches around the 4% mark.

There's a significant number of small groups going to the Sex party and we believe their total will be around 4%.

Family First gets a very strong primary and has two early preferences so they will have around 4%. 

The Greens might have about 8%  and the Liberals will have over half a third quota.

If the accumulated "Leon" vote is above the accumulated "Sex" vote OR the accumulated "Family First" vote he gets the majority of both of them (some of the Sex party feeders split off to the Greens, but Sex party themselves come to Leon along with the LDP and smokers rights party.

The third hump is not much of a hump, when it is down to three - the Greens, the Liberals, and Leon.

The Greens are preferencing Leon above the Liberals and the Liberals are preferencing Leon above the Greens. This means that as long as he is above one of them, he gets elected.

We think the odds of this are really good, as it's a little bit of a zero sum game between the Liberals and the Greens - The higher the Liberal vote is, the lower the ALP surplus going to the Greens and vice versa. And remember that mathematically the number of votes left in this last distribution must be 2 quotas minus one vote - so 28.6%.

Provided Leon has 9% of the vote or more, then one of the other two must be below him. 

So if you can spare $20 or $100 to help maximise the primary vote for Leon, please donate by cheque to 9 Britton Place, McKellar ACT 2617 

or direct deposit into

Westpac Climate Sceptics Account
BSB 035612
acc no 239469  

Donations to NCTCS - an AEC Registered Political Party - are Tax Deductible.

Please call or text 0435423636 or email us to let us know how much you have donated so we know how many posters we can order by noon Thursday.

Many Thanks,

The NO CARBON TAX Climate Sceptics Team.

Authorised by Bill Koutalianos 1C Marshall St, Petersham, Sydney

Saturday, 17 August 2013


Greens Senator facing re-election battle after losing Xenophon preferences

Updated Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:18pm AEST
South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young admits she faces a tough battle for re-election after Independent Senator Nick Xenophon confirmed he would not direct preferences her way.
Senator Xenophon says he has been swamped with calls in the past week from supporters urging him not to give first preference to the Greens above the line on ballot papers.
Senator Hanson-Young relied heavily on preferences when she was elected in 2007.
She says she will have to work hard to boost her primary vote.
Senator Hanson-Young says after six months of negotiations she had hoped to reach a deal with Senator Xenophon and is disappointed he will now preference the major parties.
"Nick made it very clear a week or so ago to us, particularly to Bob Brown, that's what he was going to do," she said.
"If he wants to preference the big parties over the Greens and other minor parties that's his choice.
"We've been worried about this for some time. I've been saying up front and clearly that Tony Abbott is coming to South Australia to get my seat.
"He wants it because he wants to get total control of the Parliament. He can only do that if he knocks me off and Nick has given him a help in that regard, he's given him an absolute leg up."

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


I had to e-mail Bob Katter's office three times to get an answer to my query and even then, it did not answer where Bob Katter intended for his personal preferences to go.

He should remember that when he was first elected to the Federal parliament in 1989, he was only elected after the EIGHTH count and he beat the Labor candidate through the preferences of a Liberal candidate. (from Wikipedia on Robert Katter). 

I find it rather annoying of him not to be upfront this time because if he does not say, that means he will have candidates who support various things that go against the voter's wishes. 

If only he would be honest for once. In his answer to me today, he denigrated LNP in most everything and then went on to say he would not be supporting either of the main parties!!!!!  
Because of his reply to me, I felt that this following story of yesterday's date should be spread around so people have some idea of what could be going on.


What does a Katter/Rudd preference deal mean for Australia?

Posted by: Bernard Gaynor 12th August, 2013

Forget all the analysis you have read about the election being decided in Western Sydney.

The big play is on in Queensland and it is happening this week.

A Katter/Rudd preference deal will be a game changer. And the mail I’ve received from sources across the political spectrum is that it’s on.

This is the scenario: Labor will send their senate preferences to Katter before the Greens. This will almost certainly ensure that James Blundell, Katter’s pro-gay marriage Queensland senate candidate, takes a seat in the red chamber.

In return, Katter will direct preferences to Labor in all lower house seats.

It’s a no-brainer for Kevin Rudd. The Greens might get a little miffed, but they are still going to preference Labor anyway – they’ve nowhere else to go.

Securing Katter’s vote will be a huge boost for a Prime Minister desperate to offset losses in other states. It could deliver Rudd seats in Queensland that were never in play before. In short, with opinion polls once more turning against Labor, the only way Kevin from Queensland will remain in power is if he secures this deal.

It’s also an attractive option for Bob Katter but it does contain risks for him. While almost guaranteeing a foothold in the senate, a deal could also alienate his conservative base and upset candidates who overwhelmingly want to see the back of Rudd.

But as parties must lodge candidate nominations tomorrow and senate preferences are not finalised until Saturday, jumpy Katter candidates will be locked in before they have a chance to protest.

So, what exactly would a deal with Katter mean for Rudd’s chances and the outcome for Australia on September 7?

A lot, is the answer.

Katter’s impact at the Queensland Election last year is not well understood and has been largely underestimated.

The fact is that Katter took votes from both sides of politics. But because it was not a ‘normal’ election and there was such a massive swing against Labor, Katter’s ability to play ‘Kingmaker’ has not been recognised.

It did not help him either that Queensland has optional preferential voting because it reduced his influence to decide the outcome.

Come September 7, these two factors will be gone. The swing against Labor will not be as strong and Katter’s preferences won’t exhaust – they will decide outcomes in key seats.

A lot of key seats.

In fact, if Katter preferences Rudd over Abbott, many safe LNP seats will come into play. That’s because the LNP’s primary vote actually went backwards in one in five seats at the Queensland Election. All of them were in regional areas, where traditional LNP voters turned to Katter and his big hat.

For instance, Herbert is a safe LNP seat centred over Townsville – Katter country.

At the Queensland Election, Katter received 27 per cent at the booths in this electorate. Many of those voters were previously LNP supporters but under a deal with Rudd, Katter would direct them to preference Labor.

It’s enough to change the outcome.

The same goes for Leichhardt, the electorate covering Far North Queensland. Katter picked up just over 19 per cent there. If his vote holds up and his how-to-vote cards put Labor above the LNP, Leichardt could fall too.

It’s the same story in other seats. In Dawson, Katter scored 22 per cent. It could also be an unexpected gain for Rudd.

And it would provide a huge boost to Labor’s chances in seats it needs to hold. Katter picked up 16 per cent in Blair and 17 per cent in Capricornia. Under a deal, these seats would stay in Labor hands.

Even in the seats closer to the capital, Katter would still have a say. In Forde, where Peter Beattie is now running, Katter picked up 10 per cent. If this goes to Labor, it is a sure gain for the Rudd campaign.

The mere possibility of this deal would send shivers through the Abbott camp.

It would mean that resources and time would need to be diverted from key battleground seats in other states to save electorates previously pencilled in as certain LNP victories.

That would give Rudd a chance to save a little more of the furniture across Australia. Especially if Katter’s vote went Labor’s way in other states too. Even though Katter’s vote outside Queensland is likely to be very low, it still has the potential to pull a per cent away from the Coalition’s primary vote and then direct a chunk of it to Labor via preferences. It could be crucial.

That is why this deal will make or break the election. If it’s on, Rudd still has a chance. If it’s not, it’s goodbye Kevin.

However, there remain two big uncertainties.

Firstly, despite Katter’s close connection and friendship with Rudd, nothing has been confirmed publicly.

Secondly, it’s by no means certain that Katter’s vote at the Queensland election will hold strong, or that voters will follow his how-to-vote cards.

The first question will be partially answered this Saturday. If Labor’s senate group voting ticket in Queensland puts Katter before the Greens, it’s a pretty sure sign Katter’s how-to-vote cards on election day will favour Rudd.

The second question won’t be answered until ballots are cast and counting starts.

Saturday, 10 August 2013


John Passant has a page which appears to be quite interesting - I only discovered it today while searching for items online.

This one about Peter Beattie is relevant now that he has come back into the political spotlight thinking he is going to save Labor from oblivion. 

I hope you may find it interesting.


Just searching various items online,  and came across this interesting item about Carbon Tax

The carbon tax - an irrelevant discourse
This is a draft of a paper I wrote in 2011 on the then prospective carbon tax. It has since been published by IBFD. I argued that the compensation package for workers to ameliorate the impact of the carbon tax would prove illusory over time and would make the working class pay for the environmental degradation unleashed by the polluters in their pursuit of profit. Further, the pricing was too low then and into the foreseeable future to encourage a switch to renewables. It would instead lock in gas fired power stations for decades to come. I think the subsequent events have proved me correct. To download hit the download button in the middle of the abstract page which this link takes you too. Here is the link. Or here (0)

You can download the report that John Passant wrote at the link above.

I found it at this link:

Friday, 9 August 2013

Dogs have a sixth sense - here's proof

I received this email the other day and thought I'd share it here, but unfortunately it's already out of date. ('and Beattie' should be added to the sign).

Have you ever heard that a dog 'knows' when an earthquake is about to hit?
Have you ever heard that a dog can 'sense' when a tornado is stirring up, even 20 miles away? 

Do you remember hearing that before the December tsunami struck Southeast Asia , dogs started  running frantically away from the seashore, at breakneck speed?

Do you know that dogs can detect cancer and other serious illnesses and danger of fire?

Somehow they always know when they can 'go for a ride' before you even ask and
how do those dogs and cats get home from hundreds of miles away? 

I'm a firm believer that animals - and especially dogs - have keen insights into the Truth.

And you can't tell me that dogs can't sense a potentially terrible disaster well in advance.  

Simply said, a dog just KNOWS when something isn't right.....

When impending doom is upon us.   They'll always try to warn us!!

Update - Leaders debate 11th August
cartoon by Warren Brown

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Scrutiny needed for Powerlink projects

Powerlink is proposing the construction multiple high voltage transmission lines in the north west of the Surat Basin in a web over the land of farming families to supply electricity to coal seam gas infrastructure. This site first covered this issue back in March with the post, Petition against abuse of power by Powerlink.

Congratulations to Kerry Ladbrook who in the 8th August edition of the Queensland Country Life was awarded issue of the week on the letters to the editor page. In the first sentence Kerry refers to Premier Campbell Newman's office asking the question about greater scrutiny for government owned corporations. To read this in full [click here]


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Northern Australia should have a say in its own future

By Allan Dale, James Cook University
Cross post under The Conversation republishing guidelines  The Conversation


Northern futures, northern voices: It seems everyone has ideas about how Australia’s north could be better, but most of those ideas come from the south. In this six-part weekly series, developed by the Northern Research Futures Collaborative Research Network and The Conversation, northern researchers lay out their own plans for a feasible, sustainable future.

Recently, Australia’s north has featured front-and-centre in national debates about the country’s future; the election campaign will likely see more claims about what the north can do for the country.
Some cast it as the frontier saviour, a source of bold new resource and agricultural developments both real and imagined. Others dream of securing the north’s expansive landscapes as iconic wilderness.
Northern policy has long been a source of conflict. Debates have raged about the success or otherwise of government interventions in indigenous communities. Quick-draw policy responses on complex issues like the live cattle trade have devastated many communities. Additionally, media images of coast-bound refugees keep the north’s strategic importance centre-stage, raising unresolved tensions about our Asian-Pacific relationships.
Those debates are often crafted by, and for, a southern audience. In my view, we will continue to repeat the mistakes of the past until we rethink governance of northern Australia. Governance is not sexy, but it’s fundamental to making things happen. As a regional water official at a Mekong Basin workshop in northern Thailand recently stated, governance is “how society shares power, benefit and risk”.

The north needs a say too

In the 1930s, Australian treasurer Ted Theodore was calling for northern separatism; few suggest that now. But many in the north would argue there are major flaws in the south’s contribution to our governance and that major policy decisions are often made in the interest of a southern electorate.
The north is different to the south in many ways. It has a low population and institutional capacity. Land tenure is largely public rather than private. It is primarily an indigenous domain. It has enormous mineral and soil wealth, but resource limitations and a vastly different climate. Much of it is closer to populous Asia-Pacific capitals than to Perth, Brisbane or Canberra.
Northerners don’t want separatism, but they do want a genuine dialogue between northern and southern Australia; one focused on how the nation as a whole might secure better northern governance. Australian and state and territory governments should negotiate big policy decisions in the north and  manage government policy and programs in radically different ways.
This could emerge through a stronger northern Australian policy and delivery architecture integrated into COAG.
But to work, this kind of architecture must be powerfully engaged with a cohesive and strong pan-tropical alliance of northern Australia’s sectoral interests. It would have to include traditional owners, local government, industry, human service and conservation. Such an approach must also be independently informed by the north’s research institutions.

Problems that need attention

There are land use and tenure conflicts across the north (the dispute over what to do with Cape York is just one example), and we need innovation to solve them. This requires a long-term, cohesive and regionally driven approach to land use and infrastructure planning.
We also need a more consistent approach to negotiating major project development, to build the long-term foundations for regional community development.
Alongside this, we have an opportunity to create a northern-specific ecosystems services economy
– an economy that benefits from conservation. We could deliver land owners real economic benefit for managing extensive landscapes better.
Despite the Intervention, the fundamental (top down) model of both local government and indigenous community development has not changed much in 30 years. These approaches disempower and deliver stop-start progress. Fragmented, welfare-oriented, inflexible and annualised government programs simply do not build lasting human capacity.
Finally, to shift the whole economy from an historically boom-bust cycle, the nation must build a tropical knowledge economy. This could underpin productivity in existing industries (minerals, energy, agriculture, fishing, tourism) and help us think about export opportunities right across the globe’s tropical latitudes. This will rely on Australia investing in tropical knowledge development (such as tropical health, agriculture, environmental and disaster management, design and energy) within the north, brokered into the wider tropical region through long term partnerships, trade and innovation clusters and foreign investment.

A smart north is good for all Australians

A progressive and productive northern Australia, with a strong identity and great lifestyle, tightly integrated with its Asia-Pacific neighbours, should attract a diversity of people (with a wide skills base) interested in playing a strategic role in the Asian Century.
We can transform our reputation from the wild frontier on the northern margin of a vast empty continent, to a naturally blessed region providing high-value knowledge-based services in the south of a dynamic, rapidly growing region of 500 million people.
This is indeed about how society shares power, benefit and risk.
If we don’t get the governance right, we run big risks: we’ll entrench a boom/bust economy, whole regions of multi-generational disadvantage and degradation of the nation’s cultural and environmental jewels.
If we can more equitably share power and benefit across the north, we can capture opportunities that may hold the keys to the whole nation’s future.

Allan Dale receives funding for a day a week under the Northern Futures Collaborative Research Network. He is Chair of Regional Development Australia Far North Queensland and Torres Strait.
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation