Posted by: jkirkby8712 | February 24, 2012

Thursday, 23 February 2012 – [Entry Two] – the heat is on!

It will be up in Canberra for the next few days, and especially from tomorrow morning, when Kevin Rudd arrives back in Brisbane in the early hours of the morning, no doubt a sleepy press gallery will be waiting at the terminal for him.  The heat was on here also –  tried to do some work out in the garden again today, but I decided it was simply too hot – if I was a labourer, I would have been sacked after the first hour!!! The next 3 days are going to see the temperature up into the middle 30s!!  But hopefully, this might be the last heatwave spell this summer – Autumn ‘officially’ with us next week, although March can get pretty hot in Melbourne!

One of my normal gripes is about Australia selling out it’s assets and businesses to overseas investors, or our companies going offshore because the labour and other costs are cheaper in Asian and countries. In many ways, that’s easy to understand with any kind of business. I was reading an article today about a farmer here in Victoria, who despite not been a fan of foreign investment, has still sold his property to international buyers. By doing so, he ensured his sale took place at a premium price, which understandably is what he wanted. The farmer concerned claimed he would have preferred to have sold to a local family operation, but he believes that tighter lending restrictions by banks, and the provision of little assistance to young farmers made that kind of sale difficult. He felt that closer scrutiny of farm sales to foreign buyers would be an important assistance to the future of agriculture in Australia. Many of these kind of sales are going to Chinese interests in particular, and foreign investors are looking more and more to Australia during the world period of tough trading conditions in the search for property, mining and other business interests. It is the sale of our land and agricultural resources that I particularly find disturbing. Speaking to a reporter in this week’s Weekly Times, the farmer concerned said that “We are working in a world market, we have to accept this sort of thing is happening, but the Australian Government should keep a close eye on it. There needs to be a limit on it, its bad enough now that our food industry is not getting support or encouragement to grow and provide support for our own home grown food”.

I don’t know off hand what the current situation is but a couple of years ago in Federal politics, Labor  was demanding that  the Coalition back foreign investment in the farm sector after it said he would be prepared to limit foreign purchases.   Speaking on the 30 July, 2010, the then Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said the Coalition must embrace the longstanding bipartisan support for foreign investment, insisting it drove jobs growth and warning that the Opposition Leader’s position would smash business confidence and damage trade links. The demand came after Tony Abbott declared he wanted to monitor foreign ownership of farm land and was prepared to take the appropriate action if the scale of investment threatened the national interest.  “We must be in charge of what happens in our own country, and obviously if we are going to be genuinely sovereign in our own country we’ve got to know what’s going on,” Mr Abbott said while campaigning in Adelaide.  My view is that I agree with Tony Abbott, without completely restricting it. At the time [in 2010], while Mr Abbott insisted he was not an opponent of foreign investment, Labor sources said the opposition was dog-whistling to appeal to xenophobic voters. And the  Australian Greens leader Bob Brown backed the creation of a register of foreign ownership and called on the Nationals to protect their rural constituents. Mr Abbott’s concern was based on the fact that the Foreign Investment Review Board  [FIRB] examines investment by foreigners in commercial and residential property but not small-scale rural purchases.  Earlier, Mr Abbott said the Coalition did not want to create a formal register of foreign-owned farmland because state titles offices already held ownership details relating to all property. But he said foreign ownership should be monitored more closely.  “It is important that the public understand that this country is run by the Australian government in Australia’s national interests,” Mr Abbott said. “We do want to sell the food, rather than sell the farm.” But he said Australia would always need foreign investment, just as Australian foreign investment in other countries was “a good thing” and part of a healthy, vigorous world economy.

Mr Burke said the FIRB had the power to examine any acquisition by a foreign company or government, regardless of the value. The minister said Australia’s agricultural export markets had developed over more than a century in a partnership between Australian farmers and international companies, allowing Australian producers to maximise the prices they could demand for their products.  “Federal Labor calls on the Coalition to immediately return to the longstanding bipartisan position in support of foreign investment to drive economic growth and job opportunities in rural and regional communities right across Australia,” he said.  Obviously, in the current political climate, this topic is probably not getting much attention in Parliament, in 2012!

Meanwhile, on the football scene, my team [Carlton Football Club] begins it’s pre-season competition matches this weekend.  The Blues’ 34-man squad for Sunday’s Round 1 NAB Cup matches against Port Adelaide and Adelaide at AAMI Stadium [in Adelaide] is a mix of experience and youth, with the three players recruited in the 2011 National Draft, Josh Bootsma, Dylan Buckley and Sam Rowe, preparing to wear the Carlton guernsey for the first time. While there will be some new faces for the Blues missing from the squad are seven players who represented Carlton in the Blues last game, the semi-final against West Coast. Chris Judd, Michael Jamison, Andrew Walker, Mitch Robinson, Rob Warnock and Nick Duigan will all commence their preparations for the 2012 season in the following rounds of the NAB Cup, together with Jarrad Waite who is returning from injury and is expected to play in round two or three of the NAB Cup. “The NAB Cup is about preparing the team and individuals for the 2012 season and we will be looking to ensure every player has the best possible preparation, whether that be two or three games, in the lead up to round one,” said GM Football Operations Andrew McKay.  “While supporters naturally focus on the first year players we are looking forward to seeing the development of our second and third year players who have had more than one pre-season and are striving to make their way into the team. “With hot weather forecast in Adelaide on Sunday we will use all 34 players over the two games and I am sure there will be plenty of rotations during both games. Everyone will have their opportunity during the day.”  Although there will no coverage of the games here in Victoria that I have access to, I’m looking forward to see how this ‘new’ team performs for it’s supporters.

Good to see that the team is quite popular up in Queensland –  support for the Carlton Football Club has always been very strong Australia wide and the sale of tickets to the round 3 NAB Cup in Maroochydore has proven how popular the Blues are in Queensland with the match a sell-out.  Carlton will play Brisbane at the Maroochydore Sports Complex on Saturday March 10 in the NAB Cup third round match and tickets sold out within two weeks of being on sale…………………………………………………………………………

Now finally, as a man of Scottish heritage, I was interested in this little historical note – ‘King David II of Scotland died on this date in 1731 at Edinburgh Castle, and was buried at Holyrood Abbey. He had an eventful reign – as well as spending eleven years as a prisoner of the English after invading England in 1736, David II was the last male of the House of Bruce and died childless. He was succeeded by his nephew, Robert II’  I have all those details on my ‘chart’ of Scottish kings, etc, think it’s about time I revisited that little exercise, and updated a few details!

Meanwhile, ‘the saviour’ of the ALP is winging his way home >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.





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