Posted by: jkirkby8712 | July 16, 2011

Wednesday to Friday, July 13th to 15th 2011 – a trio of week days.

I seem to have been busy with ‘other things’ these three days, but life goes onwards, the news keeps happening [good and bad] – phone tapping scandals with the Murdoch newspapers in the UK, and no doubt elsewhere gathers media and public outrage, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott on their own separate campaign travels around the country to either sell the carbon tax, or discredit it, and the Tour de France races through three more stages of it’s cruelling agenda since I was here last!!

Wednesday night saw this writer at another Family History Society committee meeting – it was a very cold and miserable night, and one would have gladly remained at home after the last two nights out, but it was nice and warm in Peter’s home, and the meeting as congenial & useful as per normal.  There are a couple of special functions coming up in the next few weeks connected with this year’s recognition of Sunbury’s 175th anniversary, part of which I must try and be a participant in.  Speaking of celebrations, my old Church in Ballarat – Neil Street Uniting [or Methodist as it was in those days] is having it’s150 years celebrations late in August to which I also hope to get to. Received an email during the week from the organiser of that event [in response to a query of mine about the occasion] –   

“Thank you for your email. Winston has been working very hard – especially for a 90 year old – obtaining addresses and I know that you and all of your siblings are on our list. Invitations are being sent out over this weekend and included with that is an RSVP slip. You will each receive an individual invitation. When you receive this would you mind completing the slip with names attending. In the mean time I will note, with excitement, your attendance. I know the Kirk name has been linked to Neil Street and my mum often talks about your family and how your mum coped in the small cottage.  I was Laurenne McKenzie – my brother being David McKenzie and my mum Elvie.  You may remember them – I am a bit younger than you”

 I must be honest,  and admit that I don’t recall that family, but then that is no reflection on them, rather than upon  my memory. But it was gratifying to have my ‘family’ remembered. Probably hard to forget us. In those early days, we lived in a small house/cottage in between the main church and one of the original church buildings, and by the time we left for the Humffray Street home, there were eight of us in that small residence –  Mum, Dad, and the six children!!! I am looking forward to that event – wonder how many people I will remember?

As readers will no doubt be aware from my scribblings, last Sunday Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the Government was putting a price on pollution by introducing a $23 per tonne carbon tax. Whilst the carbon tax is directed at 500 companies who pollute the heaviest, there will be flow-on effects to the rest of Australia. The topic is divisive: some say Australia must get tough on climate change to protect our future; others say climate change is just a scam and gives the Government another reason to drain hard-working Australians’ taxes. Hence the reason for our two leaders running around the nation at present trying to convince that ‘divided’ public that ‘their’ way is the right way. The National Seniors ‘E-news’ this week had the following to say on some points which are probably going to affect me over the next year or so, depending on how my ‘financial’ situation falls.
‘Australians aged over 65 who don’t receive the age pension or hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will miss out on the carbon tax household payments announced on Sunday. National Seniors Australia chief executive, Michael O’Neill, said: “The government has been generous in compensating pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders with a Clean Energy Supplement projected to be over and above the cost-of-living impact of the carbon tax”. “We are concerned, however, that while they may benefit from tax cuts a single self funded retiree on an income of $51,000 or a couple on $81,000 a year will not receive cost-of-living assistance”. “The extent to which this impacts on these retirees will depend on the arrangement of their financial affairs.” “As debate rages around whether $150,000 a year constitutes a middle-income Australian family, a single self-funded retiree on $51,000 is deemed wealthy enough to resist the price impacts of a carbon tax,” O’Neill said. Retirees below age pension age (65) also miss out. “Retirees on fixed incomes have very little capacity to adjust to unforeseen price increases. Many are already struggling with basic living costs,” he said. The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card entitles low income retirees to cheaper medicines and help with utilities. However, despite rising living costs the card’s income limits of $50,000 for singles and $80,000 for couples have not increased since 2001. Pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders will receive a Clean Energy Supplement of $338 (singles) and $510 (couples) annually, starting March 2013; and a tax free lump sum advance payment of $250 in May 2012’. [National Seniors, 14 July].

That organisation has prompted a debate on the issue of the carbon tax, and it seems, that as with the community in general, opinions are widely divergent, as the couple of following indicate. Readers are welcome to form their own opinion on the relevance or otherwise of these comments.

  1. For those who think the planet has been “raped”, please consider that Planet Earth is a fully self-contained unit. The various elements it contains cannot increase or decrease, only appear in different forms in different places.
     At funerals, we often hear: “Ashes to ashes …. dust to dust. From the earth we came, and to the earth, we shall return ….” The same concept applies to trees, vegetation, clothing, furniture, household goods, bricks and mortar etc. Planet Earth spews forth anything it chooses, at any time. This puts far more carbon into the atmosphere than any human civilisation could manage. “Carbon Pollution”, on which the new Green Pagan Climate Change Religion is based, is nothing more than a contradiction in terms, designed to send people on a fear/guilt trip. Carbon is a naturally occurring element, one of the principal buildings blocks of all forms of life, and not a pollutant at all.
  2. I believe that we must support a carbon tax. Global warming is real and whilst we have seen previous earth temperatures fluctuating, by previous coolings and warmings, the impact of industrialisation is hastening the warming process. We need to act for our children and future generations. That is not to say we are not anxious. The combined income limit of $80,000.00 unchanged since 2001 is unrealistic. The tax free threshold is great, but the tax brackets have been shortened so that by $80,000.00 there is no tax break either. Tax reform in the true sense of the word also needs attention.
  3. Please don’t be fooled by scaremongering about Peak Oil and Peak Gas. This is just an excuse to charge us all high prices, while the Chinese government is “given” a 50 year supply of natural gas from the Gorgon Project for 6 cents a litre. This is not a misprint. The staff cuts described by Tony Abbott would not take effect in hospitals, schools, public transport or workers in other infrastructure services. They would be applied to Green bureaucrats employed to collect the Carbon Tax. Some of the states of the USA have now rejected Carbon Trading, due to serious damage done to their economies. About 1/3 of the 27 countries in the European Economic Union have gone (or are going) broke as the result of Carbon Trading and the rise of the corporates. Most political parties already have moderate environmental policies in place. Carbon Taxation is not about the environment at all. Many local councils are already extracting methane from landfill and using it as a fuel. Green waste is being converted into Biochar to naturally increase crop yields for farmers.
  4. I again strongly recommend that everyone reads the Lima Declaration and Plan of Action on Industrial Development and Co-operation (1975) signed by 178 countries under Gough Whitlam. This has been both the “green light” and the forerunner of enabling the rise of the third world at the expense of the developed nations.
    I think the fact that self-funded retirees cannot gain access to compensation, and the thresholds that have not been raised since 2001, are further proof that the government places little value on the older generations. I am highly doubtful that the compensation package will keep pace with actual costs for anyone. I am expecting double digit unemployment and the imminent loss of the remaining 6% of our manufacturing industries.
    A vote for Greens, Sex Party, Socialist Alliance, Labor and other communists from the far Left will send our nation further down the tube.  At the next election, when emotions are sure to be running high, please don’t swing like pendulums across to the other side and make the mistake of voting for Liberals. They also support corporatisation of the people’s income producing assets and utilities, the ongoing sellout to the third world and are not pro-worker.
  5. Unless humans take action to reduce their use of the Earth’s natural resources, the planet is doomed. I cannot imagine the Earth in 150 years time. In just under 200 years humans have raped this wonderful planet of nearly everything. In well less than 100 years, all the oil and gas will have been used up but still some people believe we should do nothing to change our ways.
  6. There is a lot Australia can do to reduce damage to the environment without destroying our future and the wealth of our children and grandchildren. There is too much political expediency in the current government position.
     Julia changed her promise as part of the deal to hold onto government at all cost with the support of the Greens.
    Most of Australia’s coal exports are coking coal. This is used in steel making and is a necessary ingredient in raising standards of living in Countries such as China and India. Our thermal coal exports can easily be replaced by overseas coals that produce higher levels of nasty chemicals such nitrous oxide or sulphur dioxide.
    Our focus should be domestic not destroying our exports and wealth. There is no reason why Australia domestically can’t do more to reduce all forms of pollution not just the least nasty Carbon Dioxide which occurs naturally. We should increase renewable power generation options in Australia and if we are “fair dinkum” we should also encourage greater pubic transport usage and less reliance on oil. Don’t forget we have a liquid fuel crisis on the horizon as demand escalates and supply is close to its peak, the price will continue to rise. Our society is currently built on suburban sprawl and high private car usage.
    House and building designs can reduce energy consumption as well and we can plant more trees.
    Lets not have a silver bullet approach to carbon tax and destroy our children’s future.

Some valuable input there, but it’s obvious the public’s perception, though much of it may not be as in depth as revealed by some of the above remarks, is much influenced by the idea of the affect of climate change on our children’s future. Interestingly different points of view about the carbon tax equally suggest the  potential ‘destruction’ of those futures!!! Personally, while I may not like the ‘government’ we have,  I’d prefer to see them get on with the program now created, though ensuring that the outcomes are not detrimental to those who can least afford additional cost of living changes, and generally, let’s see if all the ‘political’ rhetoric actually has some climatically advantageous basis to it. The majority of scientists and economists, as just two of the professional groups involved in advising all sides, seem to be of the view that action is needed,. And now!!  We have action proposed. Let’s give it a go!!!

Back to important things!!!!!  The Tour de France!!  Since I was last here, we have seen Stages 11 – 13 completed, and by earlier Saturday morning, our time, the situation remained as follows.  After losing the yellow jersey over the weekend in the medium mountain stages, Thor Hushovd of Norway,  took Stage 13 in an impressive showing. He finished the course in 3:47:36, ten seconds better than David Moncoutie, whom he passed on the descent to the finish line. Jeremy Roy finished 26 seconds behind for third place. It took over four minutes for the next riders to come in at the finish line. Thomas Voeckler retained the yellow jersey with his finish in the peloton, and he leads Frank Schleck by 1:49 after the stage, with Australia’s Cadel Evans retaining 3rd position overall.  Mark Cavendish will still wear the green jersey with his 264 points, but Rojas is right there with 251 points. Roy and his 45 points captured the King of the Mountains red polka dot jersey as he took the climb at Belair and the tougher Aubis. As can be seen there are various separate ‘winner’ categories within the overall title of the Tour de France.

The other day, I posed a couple of questions to my brother, Robert. I wrote:-

 I  continue to be bemused by the Cadel Evans saga – obviously, I don’t understand cycling and/or the Tour de France enough – last night’s commentators had us convinced that by the end of Thursday’s stage, Cadel Evans would be wearing the yellow jersey!!! In fact it seems to be a foregone conclusion that he will be wearing it at the end!  Is this all just a beat up [Gillard/Abbott style spin] to keep us all tuned in to see it happen. As the mountain climbs approached – Cadel’s turn is coming, we are told!!!!!  – I hope it is, but to be honest,I wish they would take that kinds of pressure off [if not on him], on us hopeful spectators!!!
I don’t know where he ended up overnight – Radio National didn’t even mention his name in respect to ‘how’ he finished – as for the commercial channels, they have stopped even mentioning the Tour  – too many stage wins by Cavendish and the Europeans!!  –  they don’t seem to think Australians are interested unless we are in front!! 
Apart from all that ‘the man himself’ seems to be enjoying the Tour  – that ‘is’ great to see – and I will keep hoping, and watching, even if the rest of Australia is losing interest!   Same old story –  if he comes anywhere below first, the media & public won’t want to know, if he wins, we will give him a ‘ticker tape’ parade!!   Like our ‘Matilda’  – played a tough quarterfinal World Cup Soccer match the other night, eventually lost to the tournament runnersup [World Cup won by the Japanese girls], but who would know  – if not winners we are not interested!!
 
Enough from my soapbox – enjoy your weekend [on the bike],  [Bill]

A very speedy response from Robert.

Forget the commentators; there’s always an element of beat up and optimism in what they say. I’m sure Cadel Evans is more than happy with where he sits today (only day 1 in the Pyrenees)………………………………………… Agree with what you say about the Australian press only liking winners. Always remember Ron Clarke back in the “60s” (I think) – held every world record for middle distance running, but when he failed to get a place in the Olympics the headline in the Melbourne Herald was “gutless wonder”!   Sometimes think the press and public generally forget how amazing these athletes are. These TDF guys are just so mentally tough; like Jonny Hoogerland who spiralled through the air landing in a barbwire fence after being hit by that press car a few nights ago; back on a replacement bike with the doctor leaning out of a car putting bandages around his legs as he speed along and requiring 33 stitches that night; can hardly walk when not on the bike but is still leading the polka-dot jersey competition (for best climber). These guys seem to operate on the principle; if nothing’s actually broken then keep going! [Robert]

I think that might be enough for this trio of days!! 

Ohh, and daughter Susie was back home some time this afternoon – has a problem with her car, which requires an expensive fix, was not the battery as suggested last week, but something to do with the immobiliser, a part which can’t be easily replaced because the vehicle manufacturers have gone out of business – talking about a Daewoo Lanos Sedan. Also discovered tonight, though not from Susie, that the latest ‘relationship’ was no longer!  She seemed okay tonight. We ate ‘noodle haven’ food, not my first preference, but well, won’t hurt once in a while. Will it??  Stir fry, sweet & sour!

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Responses

  1. I used to live next door to Winston Loveland., who I regard highly. I am going to RSVP to Neil Street Celebrations soon. I would like to know what time they start. Am enjoying your blog, which I came to via “Neil Street celebrations” on Google. cheers, Trevor James

    • Hello Trevor, thanks for your comments, in teresting coincidence, your living next to Winston. I was a groomsman at his daughter, Beth’s wedding, many years ago. As for the starting time, that wasn’t stated on the invitation, so I am chasing that up myself. I have a radio show scheduled that morning, need to know the time to determine how long I can stay on air!!
      Currently having trouble entering new blogs on this site, hope to back writing soon!! Bill Kirk

    • Trevor, the celebrations at Neil Street, commence at 10am, on the morning in question,
      regards


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