Tag Archives: canberra times

Barnaby: Greens The New Soldiers Of The Dark Age

11 Nov

Senator Barnaby Joyce writes another corker of a column for the Canberra Times (emphasis added):

This empire is collapsing as the Vandals approach

Curtin and Chifley are the Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus of the Australian Labor Party. Leader’s gifted with character and formed by the most precarious event of our nation’s history.

Keating never really blew my hair back. My initial vision of Keating, on the mentioning of his name, is a man proclaiming to the nation that “this was the recession we had to have”. He was generally the narrator more than the architect. He remains a doyen of the second floor of the Senate, the press gallery, and is now deified in musicals to bookstores, but I am always searching for the ardent navigator inside the incisive invective that the media continually proclaims to the world he possesses. He was good but he was Dean Jones not Bradman.

His forebear does, I believe, hold a far more intriguing narrative. Hawke, the drinker, the Rhodes Scholar, the charmer, the statesman, with an innate sense of the Australian people. Hawke was confident and his love of people put him at ease with the electorate and vice versa. Hawke is the triumph of the America’s Cup, the round of golf and a person who was genuinely Australian yet had that presence which resonated in the faces of other world leaders.

When I think of Kevin Rudd I see a man giving a press conference after being disposed of by Gillard. Later, I see a person being moved by the moment of the mosh pit at a concert in Perth, asking if they want to hear him sing, even though, by his own proclamation, he sung like a cow. My skin goes dank and clammy my shoulders buckle and I want to crawl under the table with embarrassment for Kevin.

Julia Gillard is the Romulus Augustus of the traditional Labor party, merely a figurehead of a fallen empire, there at the discretion and direction of the new soldiers of the Dark Age, who need a banner so they call it Green. Once they arrive in the capital you know the epoch is past and the philosophy is fallen. The Greens are the Vandals attracted by the trappings but lacking the competency to run the country which under their rule will pass to dust.

Julia says she wants 8000 new members but this may be a very telling exercise. Her leadership is soulless, her lieutenants are philosophically lazy and her army are mercenaries motivated by influence rather than cause. Get Up, The Greens, the clandestine conspirators, the ultimate benefactors of an ever diminishing union base, are her battalions. They are not motivated by going to the borders to fight for their true constituency for them their energy is directed to the internal archaic spoils of a lost Rome.

This week epitomised a nation that has lost touch with the fundamental concepts of serious management and been replaced by a creed formulated by the Magnus Opus of such wondrous works as The Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore. It was tragically congruous that the carbon tax passed on the same day that the media was dominated in Australia by a trial of a case involving a certain doctor and the death of a certain singer in the United States.

So we are building a $50 billion second telephone network when we are only $32 billion away from our next debt ceiling, the point where on presentation of the nation’s credit card, the checkout attendant says “transaction declined, see bank for details.” We have a global economy that is progressing like a drunk on roller skates on the edge of a cliff. We have issues of tuberculosis in our northern neighbours, an inability to properly control our borders and the IMF predicts that China will overtake the United States as the biggest economy in the world, in purchasing power parity terms, by 2016.

Television is occupied with a voyeuristic indulgence; the trial of a doctor, for which everyone has an opinion but for which no one has any real knowledge.

From the questions on the carbon tax that I have asked Penny Wong there is no understanding of the intricate and long-lasting effects to our economy. Most Senators would not have read more than 10 pages of the 18 bills.

In voting for a carbon tax they are voting on the vibe that we can somehow affect the temperature of the globe from this, genuinely wonderful, town of Canberra, not on the stringent, analytical reality of what we are about to do as the Greens reboot our nation at their new year zero.

Barnaby: Labor Is Rudderless, Clueless, Hopeless

4 Nov

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

The Qantas chief, Alan Joyce, has been hanging around Parliament House for the past few weeks, not because of an impending aviation calamity, but apparently because he likes the decor and the coffee. Well, that is what you would have to believe if you are to believe the Government.

To say the Qantas lockout and fallout came as a surprise does not pass muster especially now in light of the abundant leaks from key Labor Party ministers, all protecting their jobs in the shadow of this fiasco, so as to quarantine themselves from the political fallout in the rumoured leadership change.

Julia Gillard wrote the Fair Work Act when she was Industrial Relations Minister in 2009. Section 431 allows the minister to demand the parties come to the table and avoid the massive damage which has happened to the nation’s airline and our nation’s image. The Government had at its disposal the mechanism to avoid the travel chaos over the weekend. However, Gillard was not convinced of her own competencies in writing the Act or her Government’s capacity in administration of her own Act. She claims that section 431 could not be used because it has not been used before. Well, why did you put it there? It appears she did not even source legal advice until Saturday afternoon. Breathtaking!

Our nation’s Government is not on auto pilot – it is rudderless, clueless and hopeless. The Qantas dispute is a metaphor for the Government’s day-to-day management as we lurch from crisis to crisis. It is the same management style as the live cattle debacle which brought about a middle-of-the-night closure of the live cattle trade that we did not need while creating an immense diplomatic issue with our largest neighbour. From overreaction to no reaction at all; in fact with the Qantas issue to a position where we are in a desperate search for a government pulse. The vision of flying back into Canberra this week, on a very crowded Virgin flight, was one of a government fascinated in cooling the planet while we raced past $215billion in gross debt. Qantas planes sat forlornly on the tarmac as a new aviary for swallows. But then the Qantas debacle is not a new pattern for the Government.

During the election last year Gillard promised to implement whatever the Murray-Darling Basin Authority decided. After the authority released a plan that was a dud, the Government backed away, and started blaming us for introducing the Water Act. Now the Murray-Darling Basin draft plan is about to be released and the Government will have to display a competency, completely absent at the moment, to avoid the public furore which occurred last year.

Coal seam gas is an issue that has to be addressed in a more complete manner, as demanded by public concerns, but no senior Labor Party members are offering any solutions. At the moment they seem more obsessed with CO2 than H2O.

Labor has provided the apogee of its political engagement with Australians with the carbon tax even though Canada is running a thousand miles from any similar action, and Europe has a scheme which is little else than tokenism supported by a volatile and at times fraudulent carbon market, where the scams associated with carbon credits would make pyramid scheme marketers blush. China is improving the carbon intensity of its economy by pulling down dirty little coal-fired power stations and building massive new coal-fired power stations. Absurdly, we will pay China for the carbon credits it generated in its country under our carbon tax with money borrowed from them.

Yes, the carbon tax legislation was finalised with a back-slapping, clapping, kiss-a-thon mirrored in the big banks with a salivating let’s go out to lunch on Bob Brown’s big bank billion dollar bonus as the commissions on the permits transfer money from the suburbs to the centre of town.

In a political team when it becomes apparent that the halfback cannot pass, the five-eighth cannot catch and the coach is a plant from another greener team, then the crowd of supporters dismally dwindles to a core of the loving family members, the morbidly curious and those recently removed from the closest pub.

Barnaby Punches On

14 Oct

Senator Joyce writes for The Punch today:

An unaffordable tax beyond all regional doubt

When I think of regional Australia, I think of long drives, lots of wildlife and lights in the sky not on the ground. There is another thing that now distinguishes regional Australia: an absolute rejection of the carbon tax.

Senator John Williams recently conducted a poll in the seats of New England (based around Tamworth) and Lyne (based around Port Macquarie). After receiving over 9,400 responses, 89 per cent of residents are against the carbon tax.

The reason for this is not that hard to fathom. When it comes to the carbon tax, the greater the distance, the greater the cost.

From 2014, the carbon tax will apply to transport fuels, making the costs of getting things out to regional Australia more expensive.

People in regional Australia already pay more for electricity too. Australians in regional NSW spend 25 per cent more on electricity than those in Sydney and Australians in regional Victoria spend 30 per cent more than those in Melbourne. There are already people out there who can’t afford the price of power as it is.

The carbon tax will make our industries less competitive. That is its whole point. That means some will lose their jobs, even if jobs are created elsewhere.

What sort of solace is that to the coalminer in the Hunter valley who must tell his wife and kids that they have to move to western Queensland to keep a job? They probably would like to stay in the Hunter where their family, friends and home are.

Most of the jobs forecast to be lost as a result of the carbon tax will be in regional Australia because that is where the mining, manufacturing and power generation jobs are.

Economic modelling by the Queensland Labor government found that the carbon tax would see 41,000 fewer Queensland jobs, with the biggest impact in regional areas. The Rockhampton and Gladstone area will see economic activity fall by 8.2 per cent, the Mackay area by 5.7 per cent, double to triple the impact of the carbon tax on the rest of Australia.

NSW Treasury figures show that the carbon tax will lead to 31,000 lost jobs in NSW but over 26,000 of these jobs would be in regional Australia, including 18,500 in the Hunter, 7000 in the Illawarra and 1000 jobs in the central West.

Some of Australia’s most competitive manufacturing companies are in the food processing industry located near Australia’s world-class agriculture. The carbon tax will add $3.3 million per year to the costs of just one of JBS Australia’s abattoirs. JBS employs over 4000 people in regional Australia. After the live cattle fiasco, the last thing our beef industry needs is a carbon tax.

Unemployment in regional Australia is already higher at 6 per cent, compared to 5.1 per cent in the rest of Australia.

Given all this you would think that a government seeking to introduce a carbon tax would carefully analyse its impact on the smaller towns and communities which may not be able to recover if their local abattoir or mill cannot survive the higher costs of a carbon tax.

But, no, the government has not released any economic modelling of the impact of the carbon tax on regional areas. That’s despite the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian governments doing so, although they haven’t had access to the same economic models that Canberra has used because Wayne Swan refuses to release them.

The Government is treating Australians, particularly regional Australians, with absolute contempt. The people of Rockhampton want to know what the carbon tax means for them, the people of Newcastle want to know what the carbon tax means for them and the people of the La Trobe valley want to know what the carbon tax means for them. The government, though, is refusing to give them any answers.

When the last Coalition government faced heat over National Competition Policy in the 1990s it asked the Productivity Commission to evaluate what its impact had been on regional Australia. It made these results public, including the finding that employment was lower in 33 out of 57 Australian regions because of national competition policies. Not everyone liked NCP but at least the government was up front about its impacts.

Another poll released the other day showed that one out of every two Australians think that minority government has been bad for Australia. Is that any wonder when we have a government which goes back on its promises and fails to be up front with the people about its own policies.

And for the Canberra Times yesterday:

Mad carbon tax burns hole in Labor’s credibility

It is a frightening thought that our nation is about to recalibrate its economy on a colourless, odourless gas at a time when the global economy is on the edge of a precipice.

It is deeply saddening that the warrants, given before the last election on the banks of the Brisbane River to national television, that ”there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”, mean nothing and that by reason of this the dignity of the office of prime minister has been sullied.

It is a very bad day for democracy when the views of the Australian people as voted for at a federal election, then reinforced in all the polls since, are to be ignored.

It is historically momentous that the oldest party in Australia has been dragged so low that they are now the captive to the peripheral extremism of the Greens party, which is quite evidently determining substantial sections of the Labor Government’s policy.

Former Labor leader Kevin Rudd is obviously on the move against Prime Minister Julia Gillard and there is no love lost between the two or reason for any dtente. Australia is suffering all the signs of a government which is in critical and dangerous demise as they fight each other, rather than sail the ship which is now heading toward a rather large economic iceberg.

Last week we borrowed an extra $2billion, again, and we are now $212billion in gross debt. Our manufacturing industry is in real trouble and the final thing our nation needs is a tax that removes the strategic advantage we have, cheap power.

Industry lobbyists have been literally running around desperately trying to cover the multiple exposures coming down the path to them. Their frustration is palpable.

The banks are happy, however, they are about to score a ticket to billions of dollars in commissions. This is the new world that the Greens have forced on a capitulated Labor, which is now stumbling around making excuses for this complete and dangerous policy fiasco.

As Manufacturing Australia’s Dick Warburton said, the commodity boom will one day end then our economy will be one of services, banks and agriculture. This trio will be trying to pay off a massive debt left by a party that maxed out the credit card when there was a minerals boom.

May the divine spirit have mercy on us, as our nation tries to pay the debt off when China decides that it does not wish to pay us as much as it used to for our coal and iron ore.

The key issue is this, whether you are the most fervent supporter of the argument on human induced global warming, or alternatively believe that human capacity to change the climate is vastly overblown, there is one unifying fact; Australia’s action on carbon reduction will have no effect whatsoever on the climate, it is merely a gesture.

So how much do you wish to pay for this gesture? Labor’s political position is that on the one hand it will have little price effect, which if that is true then the carbon tax as a pricing mechanism is pointless, yet it comes with a multiple $100million bureaucracy.

On the other hand, if it does have a bad effect then Labor promises to compensate you. People only get compensated if they have been unjustly hurt. So who by this statement does Labor believe will be hurt? Pensioners, steel production, coal mining, power companies, low-income earners all by Labor’s own admission of compensation will be hurt by this pointless gesture to placate the policy desires of the Australian Greens.

The final lunacy is that Australia signs up to send up to $57.9 billion a year to the very dubious carbon credit market overseas. Your loss of lifestyle will support the most lucrative scam market in the history of the planet.

So good luck finding the mythical green jobs they promise, good luck paying back the debt and, most importantly, the best of luck finding one Labor member who will say that they will campaign at the next election knowing they are personally responsible for the predicament this mad tax put us in.


If only it were true.

And … if only Senator Joyce sent his knockout punch in this direction too –

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.


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!!”

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