Posted by: jkirkby8712 | July 10, 2011

Sunday 10th July 2011 – PM introduces Carbon Pricing Policy, and politics and sport dominate a Wintry Sunday.

This is a very cold Sunday morning, and the forecasters are telling us that it is going to become more ‘miserable’ as the day goes along. I have just ‘reneged’ on going for a walk – having already being outside today [my 6.30am visit to the radio station[], I do know how cold that wind is, no point tempting fate!! And I’ve just noticed that our Prime Minister is about to speak to the nation with her announcement about the Government’s dreaded Carbon Pricing policy!!!  So I guess as a patriotic Australia, I should tune in and see what the ‘great lady’ has to say!!!!

I actually ended up in front of the TV screen for two hours  -we had the Prime Minister [Julia Gillard], the Treasurer [Wayne Swan] & the Climate Change Minister [Greg Combet] all having something to say  In broad summary, described as a big economic reform for Australia, aimed at creating  a clean environment, leading to a clean emerging future. Basically, the top 500 polluting firms in Australia are going to pay for the pollution they emit into the atmosphere – at a carbon price of $23 per tonne from the 1st July next year, anticipated to have a 0.7% increase in inflation/CPI . No denial that this will not lead to prices and higher costs being passed onto the rest of the community, eg, some of the estimated costs being $3.30 per week electricity, $1.50 extra for gas, and 80cents per week average increase in costs. The latter tempered to some degree by the decision not to impose fuel tax credits on agriculture, fisheries and the forestry areas,  nor on fuel used by trucking firms – on the latter, would have been a pointless exercise as far as the climate change aims were concerned, would have been simply a revenue raising exercise, as such an imposition would not change the habits of truckies  – they still have to finish their journey!! In fact overall, the pricing scheme will be basically revenue neutral  – in order to compensate households and small businesses, as promised, there will be more money going ‘out’ than coming ‘in’ – the government argues that the aim is to impose the tax on the major polluters, not on the rest of Australia.

So the compensation –  only 10% of households will be worse off, those on household incomes of over $150,0000 [rightly so, in my view].  Of the other 90% of households, the estimate is that the average household compensation will be $10.10 per week, and some of the related provisions will be a 1.7% increase in pensions and family assistance payments, a single income family supplement for households earning up to $150,000 pa,  low income earners will be eligible for a $300 a year payment [not sure what that one was about], the tax free threshold to be increased three times to a level of $18,200, while households and small business will not be required to pay extra for fuel [how the devil will that work?]. On the tax aspect, the government suggests that one million extra people will have no taxation deducted from their salaries, and will therefore not have to submit a tax return annually – as Wayne Swan spelt out, this is major tax reform.  Of course all of these ‘benefits’ are in broad terms – how the individual person or business is actually affected in the long run, may not be as advantageous as this all sounds.

Interested to note that the whole proposal seems to suggest a massive in public sector employment and costs through the creation of ‘new’ authorities to manage all this – a $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation to set up the renewable sector [referred to by Tony Abbott later in the day as ‘Gillard’s Bank’];  an independent body to administer government renewable energy funding;  a new Bio Diversity Fund worth $946 million to be established; a new Climate Change Authority to recommend pollution caps;  and so on – all increasing the size of government.

From the government’s point of view, in summary – two in three households will be no worse off under the carbon pricing scheme [wonder what happened to the 10% figure?], and that those who are receiving compensation represents the targeting of the most disadvantaged groups from price increases. The impact of the policy is on the polluters who are paying.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement and response to questions, we saw  press conferences from Bob Brown & Christine Milne from the Greens  – I was a bit annoyed for the manner in which Brown [once again] gave the impression that all credit for this policy happening was due to the Greens, and their now powerful position in both houses of Parliament.  Bob Brown  – ‘a great day for Australia, wouldn’t have happened without the Greens and a Labor Government, and the support of the Independents. Christine Milne [his Deputy] noted that this ‘is the moment when Australia turns it’s back on the fossil fuel age’.  Adam Brandt, the Green House of Representative Member for Melbourne – thanked the people of inner Melbourne for electing him as the first Green member of the Lower House, and so enabling  us to help deliver a clean energy policy.  We even had the two Independents [Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott] who were responsible for Julia Gillard being able to form the minority Labor Government last August, expressing their support for the package.

Finally, a brief press conference from Opposition leader, Tony Abbott – yes this is a world first for Australia, that we don ‘t need~!  Despite all that has gone before, he will continue to insist that millions of Australians will be worse off, and, he said, on the PM’/s own admission, we are not actually going to cut our emissions! Yes 10% will get nothing – but he doesn’t actually mention that 10o% earn over $150,000 per annum!  Abbott was support by his Shadow Climate Minister, Greg Hunt, and Shadow Treasurer [Joe Hockey].  Joe’s comment – the policy relies on a ‘Trust me’ policy!!  Well, no-one expected any element of  support from the Opposition side, and  I don’t think I will even bother to listen to Abbott’s address to the nation tonight. Like the Carbon Pricing Policy or not, something is being done, and at the moment, negativity in the absence of some firm alternative approach is not really favourable to my way of thinking!!

By mid-afternoon, the weather was going down drastically – a visitor from the Church, called by briefly with some reading material for me. Helen likes a talk, but she was in a hurry to get back home and mow her lawn before it rained, but I fear she was already too late!! By now, my attention had turned from politics to sport, with my football team due to be on the field late this afternoon. At least they would have the benefit of playing under the roof!!  Meanwhile, quite a sporty night ahead of me, with a couple of Australian women’s sporting teams representing the country in major events. More on those later, let’s see how the Blues are progressing first  – I shall return  shortly!!

 

A slow start to the Blues, and not good kicking again, in the opening quarter, to hold a narrow lead!  Off to a great opening in the 2nd quarter, 4 goals in a row, than allowed the Bulldogs to kick 7 in a row!!! What is wrong with the team?  By three quarter time, I’d pretty well given up  – a chance to consolidate a position near the top, against a team that won’t make the finals, and they have stuffed it up!!!  Disappointing effort, second such performance in three weeks!!  Full time. Western Bulldogs 14.12.96 def Carlton 9.15.69. A tough day at the office. The Dogs dominated after half time, led by their hard running midfield. Walker struggled to find space to run into up front while our defenders were under enormous pressure at all times. Jarrad Waite came off with groin tightness and will be monitored during the week. We take on Collingwood next week at the MCG. Quarter by quarter scores.

Carlton Blues:         2.7.19     6. 9.45      8.11.59    Final:  9.15.69

Western Bulldogs:  2.4.16     6.7.43       11.9.75     FINAL: 14.12.96

Better news in the Netball World Championship Final  – after extra time, Australia got up to defeat New Zealand in the closing seconds of the match 58/57.  Not so promising for the Matildas in the Soccer Quarterfinal, down 2 goals against Sweden in the first 15 minutes, but by halftime had managed to pull back one goal, to be down 2/1 at the interval.

Didn’t realise Susie was returning to Bendigo tonight, until she was virtually walking out the door. Then her car wouldn’t start, battery problems, and a call to the RACV was necessary. They got her car going but I was now doubly unhappy about her driving up the highway tonight. Finally left shortly after 9pm, and I would  be watching most of the soccer, with my mind elsewhere!  It was near 11 pm by the time the football match had finished – Australia losing that one, against the more experienced Swedish team, eventually going down 3-1, and so their tournament came to an end. Interestingly, we had the German team & supporters barracking for us tonight – Germany was knocked out by Japan last night, and apparently, if Sweden defeated Australia, they would take Germany’s place in next year’s Olympic Games!  Well, that’s the way it eventuated!! Meanwhile,. No phone message from Susie tonight to tell me she had arrived safely! Had to assume no news was good news!

I suggested this was a blog of politics and sport!  Still have got the British F1 Grand Prix happening, but it looks as though the telecast been received here is a delayed one, with comments on Face Book from others suggesting the race is half over. While in France, today’s Tour de France stage has accidents everywhere at the moment, I’ve never seen so many crashers in this race in so few days of riding.  Chaos at the fear end of the peloton, injured riders sitting on the side of the road, others down the ditch and into the trees, and ambulances on the scene!!  The result of all this saw another of the favoured riders join Bradley Wiggins out of the race.  While speaking of that, my brother sent me a response about my queries on the scoring mechanisms used in the Tour de France. This is what he had to say.

‘On timing, the basic rule is that any group finishing as a bunch gets the same time, largely designed to ensure the yellow jersey in not disadvantaged in the massive bunch sprint finishes. There has to be a distinct gap between riders for a separate time to be recorded; like last night 1st and 2nd recorded a couple of seconds faster than Cadel finishing 3rd, but Cadel’s 3rd just edged out a group containing the yellow jersey – hence that group got the same time and no change in yellow jersey leader and time gap to Cadel. This was the same situation when Cadel won his stage a few days ago; he just edged out Contador and yellow jersey in a tight finishing group. Which is why the mountain stages are important as the gaps between finishing riders are more obvious. Also, if you crash within the last 3 km but are able to finish, you get the same time as the group were with when you crashed.

Think the number of crashes has been primarily down to strong cross winds over the past few days; yes they ride very close together and have enormous trust in each other, but given the speed they are going this can be brought unstuck by sudden wind gusts. Sad to see Bradley Wiggins go out as he was a real contender.

Good to see Cadel getting the better of Contador across the line again last night; is definitely riding with more aggression and finally has a good team (big George Hincapie is awesome rider – had a chat to him in Adelaide). Contador not looking as invincible as he was in recent Giro (maybe he’s stopped chewing that contaminated meat, or just foxing). Fingers crossed, as the real climbing in Pyrenees and Alps yet to come’. [Robert].

It certainly is an odd system, and another form of  ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ that we seem to get in professional cycling. But as I have just seen on the screen, the accidents continue to happen in this year’s race – this one on a relatively straight stretch of road, but obviously a bit slippery from some rain in the area. Ironically, not long afterwards, the sun was shining!! As for the ‘gentlemen’s agreements’, it seems that the peloton has called a temporary truce, i.e., they have slowed down to wait for all those riders who were delayed by the crashes, have joined back up with the main group.  An interesting sport!!!

 

 

 

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