A Prime Minister

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As usual with any blog posts which deal with politics, I offer the following disclaimer.

WARNING:  This post is a political piece which contains my personal opinions.

2015-09-23This article by Meshel Laurie was written almost 2 years ago but I have only just discovered it.  It captures my feelings perfectly and I only wish that I had written it.

Will we ever have another Prime Minister who has the courage of his or her convictions and who is prepared to make decisions for the future good of Australia rather than simply eyeing off their own re-election?

And Now He is Gone

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WARNING:  This post is a political piece which contains my personal opinions.

Australia has a new Prime Minister.  Tony Abbott is gone and Malcolm Turnbull is now the leader of this country.

2015-09-15 01There has been much written about this change and the merits or otherwise.  Regardless of political allegiance we all deserve a national leader who is articulate and can represent this country appropriately on the world stage.  Tony Abbott did not.  Here is a sample to illustrate my point.

E G Whitlam 1916 – 2014

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Gough Whitlam

The 24 hours news cycle and the internet were not thought of 40 years ago when Gough Whitlam became Prime Minister of Australia in 1972.  Therefore, it is somewhat ironic that I learned of the death of Gough Whitlam via the rolling coverage at the foot of the big screen in the foyer of the city office when I arrived at work this morning.  I shared and communicated the news with friends and acquaintances via text messages and Facebook.

In 3 short years Gough Whitlam achieved so much.  He had a vision for Australia which included universal access to healthcare and education, indigenous rights, support for the arts, multiculturalism, no-fault divorce,abolition of the death penalty, voting for 18 year olds and of course, the abolition of conscription and bringing the troops home from the Vietnam War.

I was 14 years old when the “It’s Time” campaign swept the Labor Party to power in 1972 and still not old enough to vote by the time Whitlam as dismissed in spectacular fashion by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr in 1975.

There has been much written and said today about Gough Whitlam and his legacy but I would like to share a few words that I read on an online forum by a contributor unknown to me.  This really sums it up for me.

“He cared. I’m so glad that he was part of my history.”

**Warning** – Political Opinion Ahead

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As I have mentioned before, this is my blog and I can basically write pretty much whatever I want.  You can choose whether or not you read it.

Tonight I want to let you know about my despair at a couple of policy decisions from our State and Federal governments.  There are many things that cause me angst but here are 2 that have come to my attention in the past day or so.

This is the text of an email is received from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) today.  We have a Prime Minister who wants to revoke the UNESCO World Heritage listing of Tasmanian forests.

“We have quite enough National Parks, we have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest.
“One of the first acts of the incoming Government was to begin the process to try to get out of World Heritage listing 74,000 hectares of country in Tasmania, because [it’s] not pristine forest. It’s forest which has been logged, it’s forest which has been degraded…”
“Why should we lock up, as some kind of world heritage sanctuary, country which has been logged, degraded or planted for timber? Why should we do that?”

Do I look degraded to you?

Does this look degraded to you?
Prime Minister Abbott also said: “Man and the environment are meant for each other,” and that Greg Hunt is “an Environment Minister who appreciates that the environment is meant for man and not just the other way around.”
He supports those who “love what Mother Nature gives us and who want to husband it for the long-term best interests of humanity.”
“The last thing we should want, if we want to genuinely improve our environment, is to want to ban men and women from enjoying it… from making the most of it.”
By “making the most of it”, Prime Minister Abbott means logging the World Heritage forests, destroying the historic agreement reached by the timber industry, workers and environment groups, and ignoring the wishes of a majority of Tasmanians.
A poll published in Launceston’s Examiner on Saturday shows more than 90 per cent of Tasmanians are sick of the conflict over native forestry and support an agreement to end it.
Tasmania’s World Heritage forests are already open for enjoyment. The only way that will change is if the Prime Minister locks them up for logging.
Our petition to UNESCO to stand by their decision to protect Tassie’s forests is ACF’s fastest growing petition.

Next, is the Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman and his Energy Minister, Mark McArdle who have the solar rebate firmly in their sights.  They have announced the scrapping of the 8c/kWh feed-in tariff from July this year, leaving consumers to negotiate directly with the power companies.  This is an online news report.

Queensland Government to axe 8c-per-kWh solar feed-in tariff to cut electricity costs

THOUSANDS of southeast Queensland solar households will lose their guaranteed 8c feed-in tariff and will have to negotiate directly with retailers over a price for the energy they produce.  Energy Minister Mark McArdle will today unveil a significant overhaul of feed-in tariffs, saving other energy users millions of dollars on power bills.Mr McArdle said removing the cost of purchasing the high-priced energy produced by these solar households would put downward pressure on all electricity bills.Solar advocates have today slammed the decision to scrap the 8c feed-in tariff.Lindsay Soutar, the national director of Solar Citizens, said it would be difficult for households with solar to negotiate fair deals with retailers.“There are 40,000 homes that are about to lose the already too small financial return they receive from providing clean energy back into the grid,” she said“And there are thousands of families in Queensland who want to make the move to solar who will now be forced to negotiate directly with retailers for any sort of financial return.“This is incredibly unfair. It is obvious that it will be difficult for individual households to get a good deal from their power company.

The state government has been accused of ignoring warnings about the legal risks associated with cutting the solar power scheme.“They simply don’t have the negotiating power. When retailers set the rules, solar owners lose.”The 284,090 households that receive the 44c tariff will not be affected, with the State Government keeping its commitment to continue paying the more generous amount to those who adopted solar before the scheme was closed.The move will switch the responsibility for paying for rooftop solar power from government-owned distributors to retailers.It will affect almost 40,000 households throughout southeast Queensland that currently receive 8c per kilowatt hour for the energy produced by their rooftop solar panels.Mr McArdle last night told The Courier-Mail that the 8c tariff would have added an extra $110 million to all power bills over six years, had it continued.

Households our fourth biggest power generator

How much you’re subsidising your solar neighbour

Retailers currently get this power for free from distributors and pay solar customers up to 10c per kilowatt hour extra for their power — meaning some customers get up to 18c.“At the moment what happens is that … the feed-in tariff that is paid under the 8c is recovered by the networks and then passed through to Queenslanders in their power bills,” Mr McArdle said.“Placing it on to the retailers will mean there is no pass-through back to consumers who are not using solar.”From July 1, solar households in the Energex distribution network will not get a regulated rate for their energy and must negotiate with retailers. A new regulated rate will be set for the 10,000 solar households on the 8c feed-in tariff in the Ergon Energy area, where there is currently no competition.Mr McArdle said removing the 8c feed-in tariff in the southeast would foster competition ahead of the removal of regulated prices in July 2015.“I don’t think (retailers) will abandon solar customers, because paying the feed-in tariff is part of their market strategy to attract customers to their contracts,” he said.“Customers can then start to play retailers off against each other to get a better deal, and we may well find that the feed-in tariff increases with competition.’’

Tomorrow’s post will be a little less controversial.