Tag Archives: canberra times

Barnaby: Last Time I Checked, The War Is Over

7 Oct

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times (my emphasis added):

Resource wealth should deliver benefits to the regions

One of the world’s first billionaires, J. Paul Getty, once remarked that ”the meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights”. I find this incongruous coming from a famous industrialist and philanthropist who was a resident in a country where generally the contrary is the case.

Australia, in contrast, has variant forms of ownership between the land title and the mineral rights. Over the past 100 years, there has been the convenient moralising, prior to excising the property rights from the landowner, often without compensation.

The Petroleum Act of 1915 was the mechanism by which the Queensland Labor government removed the petrol and gas rights from farmers. The reading of this act puts the fallacy to the argument that farmers never owned these rights.

The rights were taken away because of World War I, but last time I checked the war is over.

Coal seam gas, with the appropriate environmental checks and a fair return delivered to the landowner, has the capacity, just in Queensland, to deliver the energy equivalent of almost five billion barrels of oil. Managed properly this could be a new resource boom. Badly managed it could tick every box of a social and environmental disaster.

In America private landowners retain the rights to the shale gas on their property. In Louisiana, gas companies recently paid a local church $27 million just for the rights to drill on parish land.

Real estate agent Mike Smith was paid $1.3 million for the right to drill on his 121ha, and a 25 per cent royalty.

There are around one million private owners of mineral rights in America, accruing $21.5 billion in royalty payments each year.

Compare that to Australia. On evidence received by a Senate inquiry, landowners receive about 75c for every thousand dollars of coal seam gas produced. Mike in Louisiana gets over 300 times that level of compensation.

Lately I have found that my involvement in trying to get a better deal for farmers has become slightly more personal with exploration rights being granted over my land. My incentive to swim is extenuated by being dropped in the coal seam gas ocean. If more of this enormous opportunity goes to local landowners, then that money will stay in the town and help develop the town. That money will be spun around the local economy, driving development and spreading further opportunity.

In 1930 came the discovery of the East Texas Field and much of this wealth accrued to ordinary Texans. Some, like the Clampetts, may have left for Beverly Hills, but many stayed. Dallas, once a backwater, boomed. The University of Texas is now in the top 50 universities in the world, a higher ranking than any in Australia. From the desert, Houston emerged to be the fourth biggest city in America.

The East Texas Field was the biggest oil field discovered up to that time at six billion barrels of oil. The gas in the Bowen and Surat basins amount to about five billion barrels of oil.

But that opportunity will only truly create a lasting legacy of wealth if the people of Roma, Chinchilla, Dalby and Gladstone can keep some of the wealth they create. There is no reason Roma can’t be a vastly more substantial town than it is.

There are many in Australia who are disdainfully dismissive that we can develop anything away from the harbour in Sydney. I find this lack of vision restrictive and in some instances noxious. The wealth that is apparent from the current minerals boom should be instrumental in developing new parts of Australia.

In the current discussion that Labor has about ”squandering the minerals boom”, if you dig under the surface what they’re actually doing is propping up the demographic status quo, rather than developing something new. You never hear them talk about delivering the royalties back to the regions from which they emanated.

You never hear them talk about developing new population centres in the north, or more central parts of Australia. You do hear about the minerals wealth of the mining boom building a new electrified rail line from Chatswood to Parramatta, or a new airport at Perth.

Australians are people of vision and want to see our natural wealth invested in a visionary way. Private individuals, who live in an area, will do that and we should be vastly more dubious about the platitudes of those in the political house to deliver an outcome more than a stone’s throw away from the demands of the political franchise.

Barnaby: Australia’s War Against The Temperature

22 Sep

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Recipe for political distaste

The framed flyer enticed me to partake in the splendour of ”new season lamb with brioche parsley crumb, buttered peas and mash” and all for $34. I must say as a venue for an advertisement it had a captive audience as there being no graffiti on the back of the toilet cubicle door. It was unerringly incongruous though. The two products linked by a rather circuitous form that required a lot of forgiving latitude from the observer to entice purchase. Like the lavatory door advertisement for dinner, when I see Julia Gillard unveiling a statue of Curtin and Chifley, a rendition of Sesame Street’s ”One of these things is not like the others” starts ringing in my ears.

Curtin and Chifley gathered the reins in the darkest hour and saw Australia through its greatest crisis, the impending Japanese invasion during World War II. They were loyal to one another and their stature also carried the respect of their colleagues on the other side of the political fence. If they had failed then Australia was finished.

Now we have this shambolic Australian war against the temperature orchestrated by a person who was supposed to be the former prime minister’s most loyal lieutenant, prior to her walking to his office and informing him, in the most brutal form, of something else. Gillard’s actions have bedevilled all attempts to breathe authenticity into any belief that she could guide us through watering the roses let alone running the country.

Election Julia ”ruled out” sending asylum-seekers to a country that had not signed the UN Refugee Convention. Gillard, however, accuses the Opposition of ”bleating today about human rights issues” because they do not want to send refugees to a country where striking people with the rattan is on the statute books for illegal immigration.

The unerringly termed ”Malaysian solution” was bizarre. Why do we have to accept anything that Labor suggests by reason of the Executive says so, so there? If the next step of lunacy is the ”Antarctic solution”, is it plausible just because Labor says so? The return of Labor as the new age form of complicit convict flogger was for so many the final straw.

The Government now complains that the Parliament is not giving the Executive the powers it demands, but the Parliament has never been the writer of blank cheques. There is a time-honoured way for the Executive to resolve disputes between it and the Parliament. A very good mechanism to achieve consensus is the mechanism called an election.

The Malaysian solution is an alternate manifestation that closer observation is seen in the financial management of this country. Federal and state governments have gathered massive debts in a resource boom. In a world out of money and Australia relying on credit and an imported standard of living for a workforce employed predominantly in services, is a very dire mix.

We hope that Europe sorts its problems out but if does not, then I have concerns about Wayne Swan’s authority to handle a global liquidity meltdown. We stayed out of the last recession because of Asian demand for our resources not manic programs such as $900 cheques. He should not claim authority for geography and Asian economic growth.

Surely Labor has someone vaguely competent that could show some sense of consistency. Do we have to trudge like lemmings into two further years of abyss because we cannot rely on the honourable pulling of the pin by someone who does know that we cannot go on like this?

So, do not sell dinner at your restaurant on the back of a public lavatory door, it is the dilemma of the nation’s political incongruence. Minority government and authoritative government, Swan and financial management, Labor and policy, fish and bicycles and if statues could walk then I would have seen two remarkable men of metal politically walking assiduously away from a struggling lady and her incompetent sidekick.

Barnaby: Tax Burns Gillard’s Credibility

16 Jul

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times (my emphasis added):

Are you sick of it yet? It’s only just started. The carbon tax legislation has not even been introduced.

Why does it have so much resonance? Why has it managed to do something that so many issues don’t manage to do? That is, that cherished political attribute where the vast majority have an opinion on it and are not afraid to express it. They either love it or they hate it.

Politics at times can be a peculiar art form. As I have said it’s thixotropic. You believe something is solid until it is shaken up and dissipates through your hands leaving the policy gel to drip between your fingers. It has The Bad Touch, as the Bloodhound Gang would say, yes it’s getting two thumbs up.

Here is the crux of the issue: if only one of the expected supporters in the lower house changes their vote, the carbon tax doesn’t get up, the battleship will be sunk.

The Labor Party spent years telling me how to vote on issues when they thought my vote would be crucial and to be fair I crossed the floor 28 times. I know for an absolute fact, having just returned from the Hunter Valley, that there are at least three Labor members there who are not representing the views of their constituents.

Sharon Grierson in Newcastle, Joel Fitzgibbon in Hunter, and Greg Combet in Charlton are in seats that do not want a carbon tax. It is not sort of ”don’t want it”, we are talking ”red-hot rejection”.

So if they are people of honour, who put their electorate first and foremost, who are strong enough to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and take arms against a sea of troubles, they should stop this tax. The torture of Hamlet I have been there, ably counselled by Labor Party promoters and their agents. Sometimes they were dead right. If I was in a coal seat, knowing that a policy had been co-written by a person who has said quite adamantly the coal industry should be closed down, and I was elected on a promise not to introduce a carbon tax, I think the only honourable thing would be to oppose a carbon tax.

This same policy is also just going to put up the price of power on top of the 50 per cent that electricity prices have increased in the past three years. The end result of this is that the temperature of the globe doesn’t change, our domestic emissions go up, according to the Treasury modelling, and we send more than $3billion a year overseas to buy carbon credits abroad.

It is tough to cross the floor against your party but why else are you in politics but to represent the views of your electorate? Take it from me, you get used to having dinner on your own and your mates in Canberra will get over it eventually.

See it is not just Julia Gillard that has failed to tell the truth on this one, it is everyone who was the benefactor of that promise given. Every Labor member that was elected at the last election did so on a platform against a carbon tax. It is quite obviously a major promise that they should honour and do everything in their power to honour that promise in how they act.

When you don’t honour your promises it doesn’t just make a fool of you, and the Prime Minister in this case, it makes a fool of everybody because the people in your electorate know that what you say is meaningless.

In Canberra, Andrew Leigh, Gai Brodtmann and Senator Lundy all won their seats with a policy commitment that they would not introduce a carbon tax. Not one of them said I am putting a caveat on that because I might introduce a carbon tax. Each one of them is as responsible for their actions as Gillard.

What is the purpose of listening to an election speech if it is completely and utterly without honour? How are you going to hold the other side to account when you let your own side deceive? You don’t have to believe in the philosophy of the commitment but you should believe in the principle that a person should honour the key commitments they make when they are endorsed by the electorate. That is the essence of what a democracy is about.

Barnaby: Selling The Farm Will Hurt All Of Us

30 Jun

Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce says Australia's best farming land should be off-limits to all foreign investors and mining companies. Picture: Glenn Hampson Source: News Limited

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times (my emphasis, links added):

Maybe I am getting the flu and that is why I am grumpy otherwise it is the complete loss of attention to the major issue of our time, and sorry folks it is not global warming. It is the change in the geopolitical world from one dominated by democracies to a world dominated by quasi-corporate democracies and one party states.

Europe is in more trouble than the early settlers by reason of a loss of control of its borders and a loss of pride in its Judeo-Christian origins. It has morphed into a socially and politically correct nebulous fog with an enormous debt. Debt is generally the honesty pill of rubbish policy.

America is in trouble, as I predicted in 2009, for most of the reasons Europe is. America also seemed to suffer that other affliction worse than the flu, an unbridled belief that others would adhere to the purity of your economic theories coupled with a benevolent romantic feeling of how things will pan out for you ”over the long term”. They don’t.

The global financial crisis was really a global debt crisis. A GDC not GFC. A few years ago the crisis was about private debt but the debt is still there, the crisis is not over, it’s now just public debt. On Tuesday the US hit its Congressional approved debt limit of $14.3 trillion.

There doesn’t seem to be anything on the horizon to change things and while the debt is still building the crisis remains.

We are heading the same way. We promise to repay our debt but Labor never does.

Once a country, which is doing quite well by breaking your well meaning trade laws, gets it foot on your throat it increases its pleasure by increasing the pressure. Soft authoritarianism turns into hard authoritarianism backed up by something that the west was good at, a state of the art highly trained and proficient military.

Do we honestly believe that countries which have scant regard for the suite of issues that we hold sacred, such as our legal code and individual rights, are nonetheless going to be leading the charge, hand in hand with Australia, to cool the planet?

They know how to deal with us, mouth the platitudes then carry on regardless; with any luck we can do some more self-inflicted damage to ourselves. Their game plan is pure and ruthless, be No1 by whatever it takes.

We have sold our farm processing sector; we are now selling substantial sections of our better land. We have moved our manufacturing away and increased the price of power so manufacturing does not come back.

Yes, and we now have our debt. The Labor party are trying as hard as it can to make it politically incorrect to discuss debt but I strongly believe that in Canberra its effect will be the only subject in town when it finally hits the fan.

So in Australia how do we manage a future dispute with another nation’s government about its strategic economic interest in our land? Do we believe that a dispute will never arise? There is quite a difference between taking a corporation to court compared to taking what is in fact a 100 per cent owned arm of a foreign government to court. Judicial action in these cases might have some distinct drawbacks.

Those who are making the money from the current sales will say that this is just parochialism and I suppose that is to be expected. They can hardly disagree with the largesse that has set them up for life, but they will not be offering up their windfall to solve the future problem. In the past we have had foreign investment but not ownership by foreign countries like we are getting now, predominantly by China.

The exception to this, of course, is the British empire in its role in Australia around about 1788. I may be going out on a limb here but I do not think indigenous Australia ended up with the strategic upper hand in that engagement. Indigenous Australia should have listened to the sage advice that a foreign government taking ownership of your land is just the market economy helping you out and they would be completely overreacting and unnecessarily parochial if they believe that it would in anyway diminish their ultimate hold on the land.

Just in case you’ve missed your caffeine this morning – I dare to venture that Senator Joyce was employing a touch of irony in his final sentence.

Which is more than one can say for the Great Green Future of those Aussies presently employed in industries associated with the making of iron and steel, et al.

UPDATE:

Barnaby’s having a lot to say today – and getting media play.

From The Australian:

Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce says Australia’s best farming land should be off-limits to all foreign investors and mining companies as the Greens demand a review of investment rules, accusing the government of putting coal sales ahead of food security.

Amid revelations a Chinese mining giant spent $213 million buying 43 farms for coal exploration in the NSW Northern Tablelands, the opposition regional development spokesman said this morning legislation was urgently needed to protect prime agricultural assets.

“I think prime agricultural land, and we have to remember that we are talking about the very best land here, it should be off limits because it is irreplaceable,” Senator Joyce told ABC Radio. 

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever and prime agricultural land is really the agricultural form of the Opera House it is unique and Australia has some of the best in the world and that should always be quarantined from any event that would destroy its nature.”

Senator Joyce said prime agricultural land would be identified by soil structure, yield type, and water bearing capacities, and would be protected by state-based legislation. He said the Foreign Investment Review Board powers should be reviewed and supported independent Senator Nick Xenophon’s call for the threshold for FIRB intervention on purchases to be lowered from the current $231m to $5m. 

Currently foreigners purchasing more than a 15 per cent-plus stake in most assets worth more than $231m are required to seek approval from the FIRB.

“I believe should be lowered. To try and pick a number on your show this morning I think would be slightly nave on my part. But I think it should definitely be looked at,” Senator Joyce said.

“Now exactly what those changes are would be would be subject of an investigation by the appropriate committee.”

Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten, who has been commissioned by Julia Gillard to review land ownership, yesterday rejected calls for an inquiry into FIRB’s rules.

PM-in-waiting Bill Shorten is Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation.

The same bloke who’s mother-in-law is directly implicated in the infamous Heiner Affair cover up – that was recently covered up again by a Greens-Labor-Steve Fielding travesty in the Senate.

The same bloke who thinks of your super as a “significant national asset” … a kind of “sovereign wealth fund”.

And has already begun implementing first stage policies to steal it.

Read all about that here – “No Super For You!!”

Barnaby: The R/E Market In The Bayside Suburbs Does Not Seem To Reflect The Coming Diluvium Apocalypse

4 Jun

Senator Barnaby Joyce writes for the Canberra Times (my emphasis added):

Well, you have just shivered through one of the coldest autumns on record. Where is that cursed button to warm things up a little? But, warming or cooling, there is no doubt that the ”Just say yes” carbon tax campaign has been a welcome circuit breaker to remind people that they just don’t want a carbon tax.

Last night I sauntered down to Kingston and had my usual spaghetti puttanesca and a glass of merlot. The restaurant owner repeated the regular chant on the carbon tax that I hear all the time. ”What is all this garbage about and how much is it going to cost me?” It is not that Labor cannot sell the message it is that there is no message to sell.

It appears the closer you get to the inundation zone of imminent sea rises and harbour views, the higher the fervour for a carbon tax. It is slightly paradoxical that the real estate market in the bay-side suburbs does not seem to reflect the coming diluvium apocalypse.

Now, Ross Garnaut has given a very pure but diligent study on a very peculiar desire. The Green-Labor-Independents Government says ”no we want our own version of the magic climate penicillin” a quarter dose with twice the kick for the feigned ailment. They want to invent their very own version of the theory of Garnaut relativity at odds with what Garnaut states. They must not believe he is competent and relative to the outcome he wants, which is stopping global warming.

Climate change is one issue; the carbon tax is something entirely different. The Labor Party is skewered by its own report. It talks of changing the climate while only partially and opportunistically adhering to its own prophet. The adherents have a very selective interpretation which ultimately turns his whole message to nonsense.

Garnaut has basically said that this is going to hurt and a tax must go on fuel and go on agriculture and be paid for by you. He has argued that the tax should go on petrol after only one year. Watch weaselly politicians who use the word ”initially”, we know now that initially means one year.

It’s the chapter titled ”Better Climate, Better Tax” which is the one which really gets my attention. How does Australia bring around a better climate when not one competent scientist has stated that Australia’s actions will do anything to change the climate? What is better about a proposed tax that you do not currently have? What is better about you being poorer for no purpose? What is better about taking more spare cash out of an economy which fell at a rate not seen since 1991?

If we keep taking away from people the spare cash that keeps them buying coffees, the spare cash that keeps them going out for dinner and the spare cash that keeps them going to the movies, what are all these businesses going to do when patronage dries up?

We can’t change the global climate from the building on top of Capital Hill but we can do irreparable harm to the economy. We can definitely do that. How much oxygen has this issue absorbed while other far more pressing issues are ignored.

We have seen the disgusting and abhorrent images of animal cruelty in Indonesia and this cannot be excused by culture, creed or ignorance. If you are human there must be some sense of empathy that tormenting and torturing a defenceless animal is wrong but instead we have to continue with a debate about cooling the planet from Capital Hill.

There are troops being killed in Afghanistan but we watch Cate Blanchett in an ad being paid for by Get Up, the ACTU, Greenpeace and others telling us that the carbon tax will create jobs, possibly in the taxation department I suppose.

We have a debt that according to Ken Rogoff of Harvard University has grown by the third fastest in the world since 2007 yet we are more intent on eclectic doorstops of past political figures saying how they would be playing now if only they were in the relevant team.

This country cannot keep going on frolics on issues that it can’t do anything about while ignoring those that it can. While we are tilting at windmills, the debt needs to be repaid, we need to earn an income from our exports and people are struggling to afford just the everyday essentials of life.

As usual, Barnaby is right.

Barnaby: Keep Your Eye On The Prize

26 May

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Keep your eye on the prize

For all those budding double agents now is your time. Budget Estimates is on and the heads of all the public service departments are making their way through security with their minions, servants and sycophants. Just the thought: you can square the account with merely a call to my office and the appropriate question will be asked, whilst you watch the whole episode on APAC. “So Mr Head of Department Type Person did you on the 1st of the 4th let your government car be driven by your mistress to a family function at Nimbin?”

As a more noble gesture you may have a serious concern about an issue that really does have national implications. Serious problems cause serious expenditure of serious money. If that is the case we will then have to borrow serious money which has to be seriously repaid. Say nothing or speak up?

The management that has given us the debt is reflected in the government’s need to increase by $50 billion the extension on our credit card. Before this budget the Parliament had approved the government to borrow $200 billion. After this budget, the limit will be a quarter of a trillion dollars. That’s what the Treasurer calls ‘back in the black.’

If we do not get on top of the type of management that has given us the debt the so called efficiency dividend will mean permanent and ongoing closure and contraction in vital activities in Canberra.

So this is what the first harbinger of debt looks like to the Nation’s capital; cuts over the forward estimates, that is the next 4 years, of $2.133 million for The National Library, $1.762 million for The National Museum, $1.099 million for The National Film and Sound Archive, $1.373 million to The National Gallery and $1.632 million to The Australian War Memorial. There are others as well but I see most of you have just said well I am right, keep dancing.

Canberra should have an extensive interest in the Australian Office of Financial Management website noting Commonwealth Government Securities outstanding and whether you have a job in the future. Canberra more than anywhere else should be the most diligent in insisting that prudence is the order of the day and debt is to be repaid. The public service is the canary in the coal mine for excessive government debt.

In budget estimates, in the higher elevation of Parliament House, department after department talks about “tight fiscal times”. Maybe you work or own the restaurant that is a service to a city dependent on, in a substantial way, the public service. Maybe you build the house for the person who works in the restaurant that services the clientele for the public service.

Let us not beat around the bush if you live in Canberra you do not have to be convinced of the importance of the income of those who are employed by the taxpayer. It does not require a major leap in understanding that if you borrow a quarter of a trillion you are some day going to have to pay it back. This time of reckoning will have major implications in the way business is conducted in Canberra.

Canberra needs Australia to be a well oiled and profitable income earning entity. Canberra can not afford well meaning but quite foolish ideas such as recalibrating the nation’s economy on a colourless odourless gas tax.

The decision to go on that frolic has to be assessed against our current position. Australia makes money, over half its export dollars, by exporting carbon in the form of coal and gas. Likewise iron ore needs coal to make steel, I know I did not need to tell you that, and cattle produce methane, but white ants in Australia produce far more.

Where is that tax revenue going to come from to keep Canberra in a job noting we have major debts to finance? Wind farms supplying overpriced power to people who can barely afford it, is no substitute for hard currency earned from export dollars. If you look around your room now and realise how many of the items that are fundamental to your standard of living are imported then you have to acknowledge that we need to do all in our power to put product on the boat to pay for it.

Barnaby: Turnbull Is “No.1 Spear-chucker”

29 Apr

Barnaby comments on today’s Big Event, and eloquently seizes the opportunity to take the piss out of the incontinent Republican movement.  Earning special mention is the No. 1 man for that other malodorous and leaky symbolism movement, the one for “putting a price on carbon” – Goldman Sachs’ sock puppet, Malcolm Turnbull.

From the Canberra Times:

Well, I will be watching it, ably encouraged by the fact that I live in a house of five females, young ladies of varying degrees of youngness to whom the royal wedding is akin to oxygen or the meaning of life. Even if I crossed the floor, the vote to watch the wedding would merely change from a 6-nil annihilation to ayes 5, nays 1.

Before I am admonished by the deafening snorts of republicans, might I kindly remind you that your No 2 spear-chucker, Julia Gillard (Malcolm Turnbull is No 1) is fluffing around the Buckingham Palace-Westminster precinct as we speak.

Do not tell me it is just protocol that she attends. I well remember being run over by socially acceptable republicans as they made a beeline for HM QEII on her last lunch at the Australian parliament.

Zing.

Wait for it ….. waaiit for it …. standing by for the ever so boring shrieks of “racist” from all of the usual self-righteous, humourless suspects

..

.

And what are Barnaby’s unique observations on the life of a British royal?

To live one’s life as a human species of goldfish in the glass bowl of 24/7 news; that would truly be a never-relenting hell. Think about it. Would you really want the job?

What better way to remove the problems of finding some poor suffering soul to do the job than make it hereditary?

Bad luck you were born to be photographed and commented on for the rest of your days and the salacious interest in you will plaster glossy mags at the checkout of every supermarket across the globe. You stop to have a leak and look up at the stars – next day, page one.

On top of this, you were born to be the role model for the nuclear family happy, polite, patriotic – and of course, you must breed. The fruit of your loins will be a global obsession.

So I think the royal family are great. When my daughters taunt me with suggestions of body piercing, tattoos and other forms of visual and oral profanity, I just say, ”I wonder if Kate will go to her big day in pure white or with a cream off-the-shoulder number?”

As making it past seven years married becomes a celebration in the modern world, the fact that two well-meaning individuals in a far-away island would do this form of very public high dive is admirable. Good luck to them…

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