2013 April Blogs
We have witnessed a worrying process of centralisation, which has resulted in the decline of regional cities, such as Whyalla and Newcastle. Now, we see a continuation of this process, threatening Geelong. The common factor in the decline of all three is that they use large amounts of energy to produce metal from ore. They are all faced with a carbon tax, which makes them uncompetitive, when compared to overseas manufacturers who pay no carbon tax.
There is a solution. In each of these coastal cities, permit the installation of safe, Generation IV nuclear power stations, co-generating distilled water from seawater using waste heat, with solid salt as a by-product. Have zero-carbon emissions, and produce cheap drinking water in large quantities with no pollution. Encourage the steel-makers to use electric furnaces to produce high-quality alloy steels, as we need for our shipbuilding and submarine construction industries. Provide power to Alcoa for aluminium production, at the same cost as hydro power in Tasmania.
With these basic changes and production economies the regional cities, which already have extensive civic facilities, will be able to encourage secondary industries and their workforces.
Support for the Car Industry
We can't afford to lose the car industry. But nor can we foster an uncompetitive industry. So what should we do?
Firstly, let's levy a carbon tax at entry, on every imported vehicle, proportional to its unladen weight. After all, that's what our local manfacturers have to pay. Give them a level playing field.
Secondly, let's consider a dumping tariff on those incredibly cheap imported vehicles, which are produced by low-cost labour in heavily subsidised factories.
Thirdly, make sure that every car which is purchased in Australia, by every level of Government, is manufactured in Australia. Unfair, yes of course, but charity should begin at home. Needless to say, we'll have to make further cuts in our overseas aid programmes if we have to increase welfare support to our own unemployed.
The Mouse That Nibbles
The British comedic movie, "The Mouse That Roared" was released in 1959. In the movie, a small bankrupt European republic declared war on the United States, confidently expecting a bloodless defeat, after which they would be granted many millions of dollars of economic aid.
Now we have Kim Jong Un, the President of the bankrupt Republic of North Korea, seeking to establish a similar outcome. He sank a South Korean patrol vessel, with no response. He shelled a South Korean island, with no response. He closed a joint venture economic project, with no response. He has torn up the Armistice agreement, and reminded us that the Korean peninsula war has never been ended, with no response. He has threatened to strike South Korea, Japan and the U.S.A. with missiles carrying nuclear devices, with no response.
But now he has committed the unforgiveable crime of broadcasting a film clip, which shows the total destruction of the White House by alien invaders, who he claims are actually North Korean forces. At last, we have him by the hip - he can be prosecuted in the International Court for Breach of the film makers' Copyright.
A Murder of Crows
In the U.K., a large bird which is a noisy pest, a destroyer of crops, is the target of every farmer with a "rook rifle." Crows often congregate in a large tree, and engage noisily in what appears to be a discussion of their next destructive action. The term a "murder" of crows is the collective noun for these groups.
Here in Australia, we have no crows, but instead we have the Wilderness Society.
I receive their monthly newsletter, in which they boast of their achievements. On one occasion, I applauded their actions - the demise of Gunn's - not because I believed that a rigidly controlled pulp mill would be a pollution hazard, but because Gunn's have destroyed many thousands of valuable, high grade trees to produce junk paper pulp for Japan. Those trees could have produced select joinery timber for the Australian market, to replace the dwindling supply of endangered Asian rain forest timbers. Now that Gunn's are being liquidated, their harvesting areas can be allocated to other millers, for the benefit of local workers, and for the benefit of craftsmen in the mainland States.
(By the way, why don't we help Tasmania to develop a container terminal, so that they can export their "green" products competitively? It would be more beneficial and less expensive than a high-speed inter-city rail network, or a new West Sydney expressway. But then "pie in the sky" has always been the favoured dish of our politicians.)
Today's Wilderness Society Newsletter "crows" about their success in obstructing the development of a natural gas terminal in West Australia.
The world's desperate need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by converting to natural gas for power generation, will now of course result in the establishment of an off-shore terminal, as has been done in many other places, with virtually nil employment prospects for local residents. Smart thinking, you have delayed global reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, and you have impoverished the locals.
The Wilderness Society now prevents the formerly easy submission of comments upon the Newsletter, so below, publicly, I am displaying what I would have liked to have said privately:-
"When did you ever make a worthwhile, positive, contribution to Australia?
CSIRO carried out a selective breeding programme, for rust-resistant cereals, NOT ARTIFICIAL GENETIC MODIFICATION, but you praised the criminal action of a group of morons who destroyed a year's achievements. Think about the many Africans who have died of starvation, because of another year of crop failure.
I'm inclined to go public with a vigorous campaign to expose the stupidity of your organisation of ill-informed cranks. You have no right to mindlessly oppose the outcome of the rigorous approval process which must be satisfied by any development project."
When an offender is repeatedly found to be drunk, or to have become addicted to drugs, it usually results in a prison sentence. How much more humane, and hopefully more effective, it is to order a 3 month rehabilitation treatment programme.
Hopefully, the next positive decision will ignore the selfish, self-serving opposition of the Australian Hotels Association, and will allow the Councils of remote communities to prevent the entry of alcohol.
The AHA members could probably make much more profit by selling the wide range of palatable, non-alcoholic beverages.
The Joke's On Us!
Did you miss April Fools' Day? This year, there wasn't much else to smile about.