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Speaker in driver's seat as battle of wills leaves 'irrelevant' Gillard speechless
IT WAS tempting to rush out and scan the sky for a blue moon or flying pork.
The Speaker had ordered Prime Minister Julia Gillard to clam up and sit down.
His reason? She was being irrelevant
No one could remember the like of it.
Prime ministers and their ministers have traditionally spent large portions of every question time avoiding what most people would recognise as a semblance of relevance in responding to questions.
The Speaker, Peter Slipper, has the quaint view that questions should be answered.
Resplendent in black robe, white bow tie and barrister's tabs, fresh from his latest ceremonial procession to the House, Mr Slipper decided to enforce his edict at the first opportunity yesterday.
His mood was possibly sharpened by the appearance of the fellow he replaced as Speaker, Harry Jenkins, sporting his own silvery bow tie. The view around Parliament was that Mr Jenkins was gently taking the mickey.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott opened combat with his favourite subject: reminding Ms Gillard that she had promised during the last election campaign that there would be no carbon tax. Now she was introducing just such a tax and had admitted she had made mistakes she regretted, would she ''rescind her deception'' and put aside the tax until she took it to the next election?
Mr Slipper ordered Mr Abbott to withdraw the word ''deception''. But when Ms Gillard launched into her answer the full might of the Speaker was exerted.
''Putting a price on carbon was the right thing to do and I stand by it,'' Ms Gillard began, her eyes turning flinty in the style she has assumed following the Great Unpleasantness of the past week.
And then, in her well-practised manner, Ms Gillard turned the question on its head and got stuck into the opposition, declaring that Coalition MPs might like to explain why they had promised to introduce a price on carbon during the 2007 election campaign. As she reached full throttle, Mr Slipper called for her to be ''directly relevant'' to the question.
Ms Gillard sailed on, and the Speaker hollered again for her to get back to the subject at hand.
The Prime Minister, who appeared to have been studying Meryl Streep's Oscar-winning depiction of Maggie Thatcher in The Iron Lady, wasn't for turning. It was a battle of wills.
Mr Slipper triumphed. He simply turned off the Prime Minister's microphone, told her she would no longer be heard and sat her down.
Ms Gillard appeared thunderstruck.
Speakers in the past have found themselves defrocked for lesser slights to a prime minister's dignity.
But Mr Slipper pretty clearly knows Ms Gillard can't afford to have him back on the benches voting with the Coalition.
She needs him exactly where he is, and he is free to behave as independently as he likes. Which, it appears, is quite a lot.
It will be great to, once again, have responsible adults back in power and the country redirected away from its current insane onto-the-rocks-and-into-ruin course.
Coalition plan to change laws on vilification
THE federal opposition has unveiled a plan to wind back the restrictions on free speech in the Racial Discrimination Act that were used to prosecute Herald Sun journalist Andrew Bolt over his columns about light-skinned Aborigines.
The plan, which has been unveiled by Tony Abbott, promises that a Coalition government would repeal the key provisions that led a Federal Court judge to order a correction to what he said were Bolt's unlawful articles.
oh, and Carr can only be made foreign minister if the ALP is allowed to get away with p!ssing all over the Oz constitution.
If you ever wanted proof of the collective insanity caused by climate alarmism, just look out the window.
We were told to expect endless drought. Instead, it’s been raining buckets all summer, and the dams are now full to overflowing.
Good thing we built that desalination plant.
If we’d built a new dam during the last drought instead, we wouldn’t be wasting millions of dollars worth of fresh water draining out to sea.
The electricity-guzzling desalination plant at Kurnell cost taxpayers $1.8 billion to build and has been pumping out 90 million litres of water every day, at a daily cost of $50,000. That’s the price of 45 hospital beds.
Sydney was meant to have a new dam already. Our far-sighted forebears bought up land for 40 years for the Welcome Reef dam on the Shoalhaven River near Braidwood.
But in 2002 the dam was killed off by none other than Bob Carr, the deep green former NSW premier identified last week as our next foreign minister.
It was a rich irony that - a few hours after Carr’s appointment was announced - the gates of Warragamba Dam were opened and the dam overflowed for the first time in 14 years.
When Carr declared Welcome Reef would not be built, it seems he tried to make sure no future government could reverse his decision. He locked up 6000ha of the land that had been set aside for the dam and declared it a national park.
One of the arguments used against Welcome Reef was that it was in a rain shadow and would take too long to fill. Well, so is Warragamba, and it overflowed on Friday night.
“It’s safe to say Welcome Reef would be filling up very nicely now,” says civil engineer and hydrology specialist John Brown, who carried out the original environmental impact study on Welcome Reef dam in 1980 for the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board.
“I think the government should look at it again. There is insufficient storage on the Shoalhaven to carry us through severe droughts.
“Even though water consumption per capita has decreased, the population has increased.”
Brown found no fauna, flora or Aboriginal sites would be endangered by Welcome Reef and there was only a 10 per cent chance it would not fill to its minimum operating level in four months.
At Braidwood last week, near where the dam would have been built, rainfall recorded was 142mm, and at nearby Hillview it was 111mm. It’s been flooding in Goulburn, Cooma, Queanbeyan and other districts around the dam site. Welcome Reef would have been overflowing now if dams hadn’t been demonised by deluded greenies.
Plenty of people would like to hear our highly paid Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery explain how he got it so wrong.
He reportedly has skipped the rain and gone to Europe. But in 2007 he warned that rain would become increasingly rare, and “isn’t actually going to fill our dams and river systems”, so we would need desalination plants instead.
Those kinds of airy predictions, issued with the stamp of authority, sucked in a lot of gullible people.
The last time I wrote about the need to build more dams, for instance, I was bombarded with angry emails like this:
“Hey Einstein, “And what exactly do you think the new dam is going to store? “Dirt? Air?”
No, mate. Water. Fresh H20 dropping free from the heavens into our dams, where it would stay until the next drought.
This is what humans have been doing since the dawn of civilisation. But under the yoke of those who want to turn the clock back on civilisation, we now view dams as Satan’s work, and no politician dares risk the wrath of the Greens.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s critics like to accuse him of being rooted in the 1950s, but Greens leader Bob Brown and his acolytes are stuck in pre-history.
We were so busy bowing to the voodoo of mathematical models purporting to predict drastic climate change that our craven political leaders didn’t even contemplate the thought that droughts always break.
One of the last jobs John Brown did before retiring was a water master plan for Botswana, including dams and a 400km pipeline from north to south. All have been or are being built. Botswana managed it. Why can’t we?
That’s a question for Premier Barry O’Farrell. What use is his massive mandate if he isn’t bold about something?
It’s no good complaining about the “stupid” contract his Labor predecessors locked the state into, requiring the plant run continuously for two years. Pressuring the desal plant to halve its output of fresh water, as it announced last week, or leasing it out to private owners is not enough, either.
We need a new dam for a growing population. The government could easily pass an act of parliament reclaiming the national park and start work on the Welcome Reef dam immediately.
But don’t hold your breath.
Finally, it’s worth noting another of Bob Carr’s achievements as premier.
It was Carr, aka “Dubai Bob”, who saddled Sydney with the desalination plant. He made the announcement in 2005, after a $120,000 trip to Dubai, via London.
Let’s hope when he becomes foreign minister he doesn’t bring home any more bright ideas.
To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine — despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide.
If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now
Even in a boom, wind farms would have been unaffordable — with their economic and ecological rationale blown away. In an era of austerity, the policy is doomed, though so many contracts have been signed that the expansion of wind farms may continue, for a while. But the scam has ended. And as we survey the economic and environmental damage, the obvious question is how the delusion was maintained for so long. There has been no mystery about wind’s futility as a source of affordable and abundant electricity — so how did the wind-farm scam fool so many policymakers?
Let’s Compare Power Generation Costs
Here are the statistics on the cost of power generation in 2010 from the Australian Government’s own Productivity Commission:
Coal fired power station $79 per mw/h (megawatt/hour)
Gas fired power station $97 per mw/h – or 1.2 times the cost of coal power
Wind farm power $1502 per mw/h – or 19 (nineteen) times the cost of coal power
Solar power $4004 per mw/h – or 50 (fifty) times the cost of coal power
I wonder why these stats are not in the recent Carbon Tax Government brochure; they are certain to warm the hearts of those who pay the electricity bills.
You have to admit it was a pretty dumbass thing to say. Didn't she engage her brain before she opened her mouth?There is such controversy of Yumi Stynes and Gearge Negus's HUGE gaffe re the Vic Cross winner.
Now THEY are being vilified all over the net.
Stop it, ALL of you.