Thursday, 30 April 2015

Industrial History of Cockatoo Island Sydney. A powerhouse of industry for over a century.

Extracts from Cockatoo Island History re-energised.

As the volume of shipping in Port Jackson increased, Governor Gipps proposed to his Imperial masters in London the construction of dry dock and workshops for the repair of Royal Navy and other vessels. Because of this, Cockatoo Island is important to the nation as a pre- and post-Federation shipbuilding complex. It operated for 134 years from 1857-1991. It was Australia's primary shipbuilding facility for much of this time and contributed significantly to Australia's naval and maritime history.

Shipbuilding began on Cockatoo Island in 1870 and by World War I over 150 dredges, cargo ships, barges and tugs had been built. In 1913, Cockatoo Island became the Naval Dockyard of the Royal Australian navy. At its peak during World War I, some 4,000 men were employed on the island to keep up with wartime demands.

During World War II, Cockatoo Island was the nation's leading shipyard in crucial shipbuilding programs and its engineering capacity was second to none. Some 250 ships were converted or repaired at Cockatoo Island during World War II. Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were converted to troopships by Cockatoo Island workers. HMAS Australia, a veteran of the battle of the Coral Sea, was a regular visitor.

Merchant ships and luxury liners were converted to troop transports, stores and hospital ships. Post-war shipbuilding continued at pace including the daring class destroyers HMAS Voyager and HMAS Vampire. In 1979, the contract was signed for the construction of the last ship to be built on Cockatoo Island, the HMAS Success was launched in 1984 and was the largest naval vessel built in Australia. It can still be seen in Sydney Harbour today.

Other shipyards around the country depended on Cockatoo Island's technical experience. Many young men served their apprenticeship on the island. Thanks to deep skill base of the older tradesmen, and the exposure apprentices were given to every element of the shipbuilding trade, Cockatoo Island was responsible for refitting submarines, an exacting process taking up to two years to complete. HMAS Orion was the last submarine refitted at Cockatoo Island. On completion in 1991, it marked the end of a great dockyard's working life and it's long association with the Navy.

Sydney Harbour federation trust 2014.

* * * *

In regard to building submarines in Australia the Government should keep in mind it's not the extra cost of building them here is the problem, but making sure we have a highly skilled manufacturing workforce for the future is and building the submarines here is one way of achieving that. Just reminding the Government that the most important asset of a country is it's skilled people and not a balanced budget!

The Worker 

Climate change will significantly affect Australians’ health, report finds

Extract from The Guardian

Report by the Australian Academy of Science warns extreme weather events will contribute to the spread of disease and disrupt food and water supplies
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The Hume Dam in north-east Victoria during a dry spell. The report warns of more frequent droughts, heatwaves and storms as the climate warms. Photograph: Alamy
Climate change will have significant repercussions for Australians’ health as warming temperatures fuel extreme weather events, help spread disease and disrupt food and water supplies, according to a report backed by the country’s peak scientific and medical bodies.
The Climate change challenges to health report, released by the Australian Academy of Science, warns that vulnerable people, particularly the sick, elderly and poor, will “suffer disproportionately from the worst impacts of climate change.”
The report notes that the world will have warmed by “at least 2C compared with pre-industrial times” by the end of the century, leading to heatwaves, droughts, storms and floods that will “lead directly to loss of life and will have a negative effect on the mental wellbeing of communities.”
Instances of disease, such as those borne by mosquitoes, are expected to increase as the climate warms, while high temperatures and disrupted water supplies will affect crops. In addition, the warming and acidification of oceans will affect Australia’s fisheries.
The report, which is backed by the Australian Medical Association (AMA), makes eight key recommendations, including programs to prevent health impacts upon the sick, the elderly, poor and those in remote communities.
It also calls for a new National Centre for Disease Control and a new National Food and Water Commission, to coordinate Australia’s adaption to a changed climate. Funding in agricultural research and development should be increased while greenhouse gas emissions should be cut, the report recommends.
The report notes that the IPCC has “high confidence” that Australia will have more frequent heatwaves and bushfire-prone conditions this century, warning that extreme weather is a “particularly serious health issue for Australia”, with the number of heatwave-related deaths in Australian cities set to double over the next 40 years.
Instances of disease, such as those borne by mosquitosmosquitoes, are expected to increase as the climate warms
Instances of disease, such as those borne by mosquitoes, are also expected to increase as the climate warms. Photograph: Kerstin Waurick/Getty Images
Meanwhile, Australia could become more susceptible to vector-borne diseases, such as dengue, as well as respiratory diseases as people spend more time indoors avoiding extreme heat.
Conflicts over water in regional areas could flare, the report warns, while Australia could face migrants from Pacific islands threatened by sea level rises. Livelihoods in farming, fishing and tourism could be at risk, potentially deepening inequalities and causing mental health problems.
AMA president, associate professor Brian Owler, said the report provided compelling evidence of the significant threat that climate change posed to worldwide health.
“There will always be a few outliers, but the overwhelming bulk of the scientific community, including most doctors, think we are well beyond debating whether climate change is an issue,” he said.
“The more groups that voice their concerns over these kinds of issues, the more compelling it is for governments to take action.”
“This is not something that can be subject to political debate. That’s the whole problem with climate change, it’s a great frustration to many people that this whole climate change debate has been hijacked as a political debate, and unless we get past that and start looking at facing consequences and mitigating the effects of climate change, we’ll struggle to respond to its effects.”
Dr Ailie Gallant, one of the contributors to the report, said there is still some uncertainty over the severity of problems posed by climate change but that adaptation around food and water will be required.
“There is a broad drying trend in the south of Australia, so the type of crops we grow may have to be altered and our diet … may need to change,” she said. “There are all kinds of adaptation strategies which will mean that the things that make up our food basket will need to change.”
Bruce Armstrong, emeritus professor of public health at the University of Sydney and fellow of the Academy of Science, said parts of Australia currently unaffected by mosquito-borne diseases could soon start experiencing them as warmer weather pushed them south.
“We will experience more extremes in weather like we had in Sydney recently and also more heatwaves and more fire events, all of which have the potential for major health impacts,” Armstrong, a co-author of the report, said.
“We need to implement strategies to warn people well in advance so they know what to do, and secondly we need to ensure we can maintain health services and care for those who are isolated and affected.”
It would be very difficult to provide those responses without the support of the federal government, he said. It was essential the government release climate science and health data, he said, so that researchers could analyse the impact of climate events in real time.
“Because of the complexities of the state and federal health systems, and the fact that diseases don’t respect borders, we need stronger mechanisms to record what’s going on, and to monitor and research it,” he said.
“That’s not going to happen without the support of governments. I hope this report will be a nudge in that direction.”
Projections released by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology in January show that Australia is set to have an average annual temperature that is 1.3C warmer in 2030 compared to the average experienced between 1986 and 2005. This will be accompanied by more extreme droughts and less rainfall in the southern portion of the country.
Beyond this, Australia could warm by more than 5C by 2090 if little effort is made to cut the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.
Australia, which experienced its warmest and third warmest years on record in 2013 and 2014, respectively, has already warmed by 0.9C since 1910. 

Affordable housing system 'broken' as more Australians struggle to pay rent than ever before, Anglicare says

Extract from ABC News

Updated 24 minutes ago

More Australians than ever are struggling to pay the rent, according to new figures released by Anglicare Australia.
The organisation's annual Rental Affordability Snapshot showed a severe shortage of affordable rental housing with low income Australians being hit the hardest.
Anglicare's executive director, Kasy Chambers, said more properties were surveyed this year than ever before.
"More than 65,000 properties. [For] a single person in receipt of the minimum wage, only 2.3 per cent of those properties were available," Ms Chambers said.
The survey used a 30 per cent benchmark to determine housing affordability.
If a household was paying more than that in rent, it was considered to be under stress.
This year's snapshot found more than 12 per cent of all Australian households are in that category and a further 6 per cent are in severe housing stress where paying the rent meant having to cut back on other basic expenses — sometimes even food.
In all, Anglicare said 1.6 million Australians struggled to pay the rent last year.
Ms Chambers said it is clear the affordable housing system is broken.
"That's a really bad situation that tells us that the structure of the private rental market isn't working," she said.
"The Federal Government has to take some leadership in this debate."

Call for overhaul of housing policy

According to Anglicare, people will resort to all sorts of measures when they cannot hold onto housing, including living in overcrowded houses, couch surfing, living in cars or in shelters.
For those that are hanging on, the anxiety peaks every fortnight as they try to scrape up enough money for the rent.
Philip (not his real name) lost his job six weeks ago and is now on the Newstart allowance.
He lives with his 16-year-old son and also receives the Family Tax Benefit.
"It's a matter of being able to pay the rent," he said.
"Trying to live on Newstart and even with the Family Tax Benefit, [rent is] $720 a fortnight, which is relatively cheap for a capital city. But we're struggling."
The solution according to Ms Chambers is a wholesale overhaul of affordable housing policy.
"What we want is a national plan for affordable housing supported by all levels of government," she said.
"Key elements of this include: improved housing utility, tax reform, more social housing."
Anglicare will be taking its message to Parliament House in Canberra later today.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

IR reforms to restore fairness in Queensland workplaces

Media Release

Hon Curtis Pitt 
Member for Mulgrave
Treasurer, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations
 and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships

Fairness will be restored in Queensland workplaces as the Palaszczuk Government rolls out a comprehensive raft of industrial relations reforms.
Treasurer and Industrial Relations Minister Curtis Pitt said the reforms would restore important safeguards for state and local government employees.
“Campbell Newman’s arrogant LNP government stripped away vital safeguards and conditions from Queensland’s public sector workers,” he said.
“They reduced job security and created a climate of uncertainty in workplaces throughout the State.
“They fundamentally altered the framework of negotiations to remove enterprise bargaining as the core of our system.
“They made it harder – near impossible – to bargain in good faith to maintain or expand many of the features of existing enterprise bargaining agreements.
“Our reforms will ensure the hard fought and won working rights of Queenslanders lost under the previous government are returned.
“This is in line with our election commitment to restore fairness to Queensland workplaces.”
Mr Pitt said the government’s IR reforms included:

• Reinstating employment security for public servants;
• Protections against the contracting out of government services;
• Restoring immediate right of entry provisions for WHS permit holders where there are suspected safety concerns;
• Restoring the independence of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission;
• Re-establishing the Electrical Safety Commission; and
• Returning Labour Day to May from 2016.

“We’re reversing a number of significant changes the previous government made to the Industrial Relations Act 1999,” he said.
“These changes are necessary because Campbell Newman’s attacks on Queensland workers were so extreme and unfair, attacking the day-to-day conditions and take-home pay of hardworking Queenslanders.
“The LNP went further than any government in Queensland’s history in stripping away workers’ rights.
“They introduced changes under the guise of ‘harmonisation’ with Labor’s federal Fair Work Act. In reality, all of the employee rights contained in the Fair Work Act are out, while all the requirements and productivity clauses are in.
“They not only stopped workers from bargaining for their current rights, they also prevented workers from negotiating for their conditions in the future.”
Mr Pitt said the award modernisation process which commenced under the former government and had been suspended on 17 March.
“Further award modernisation was suspended until legislative amendments are in place that remove or amend award modernisation provisions and prohibitions on content in industrial instruments,” he said.
“This will allow parties to undertake a proper consideration of allowable material that should be contained within awards.
“Changes to legislation to be introduced shortly mean that awards that have had conditions stripped out under the guise of modernisation – such as local government – will be brought to an early end.
“In their current form, these laws can be used to strip out things like penalty rates and erode conditions that had previously been included in EBAs such as annual leave periods.
“I met with the Local Government Association of Queensland earlier this week to get a better understanding of their concerns on this issue.
“We will keep them informed as we progress these changes. My message to local councils is that bargaining on outstanding EBAs should be suspended until the legislative amendments are made.
“The award modernisation process will recommence in the second half of 2015, once the IR legislation is amended and awards already ‘modernised’ will be re-made to allow for new bargaining to commence.
“We’ll also establish an Industrial Relations Reference Group including academics, government and union representatives to undertake a wider review of the State’s industrial relations laws – which were last comprehensively reviewed in 1998.”
This review will make recommendations to the Government for legislative reform for introduction in the first half of 2016.

Meeting low post-2020 emissions target could cost $20bn under Direct Action

Extract from The Guardian

Business group warns of burden on taxpayer of using Direct Action to achieve reductions after 2020 as AGL calls for cap on Australia’s greenhouse emissions
Hazelwood coal-fueled power station in Melbourne, labeled Australia’s least carbon efficient power station by WWF Australia.
Hazelwood coal-fuelled power station in Melbourne, labelled Australia’s least carbon efficient power station by WWF Australia. Photograph: Hamish Blair/Getty Images
Taxpayers will have to pay at least $20bn to meet even a low post-2020 emissions reduction target for Australia under the Abbott government’s Direct Action policy, a leading business group has warned.
And in a separate submission, the energy retailer AGL has said Australia must impose an overall cap or limit on its greenhouse emissions if the government’s policy is to have any chance of success – something it currently does not do.
The initial auction under Direct Action’s $2.55bn emissions reduction fund was revealed last week to have purchased 47m tonnes of carbon dioxide abatement at $14 per tonne – a result environment minister Greg Hunt claimed was “stunning” and proved Australia would easily meet its 2020 target of a 5% reduction compared with 2000 levels by 2020.
That task now requires less than one third of the abatement originally thought necessary because emissions have fallen without government action – partly because of the closure of manufacturing industry.
Calculations by Peter Christoff, associate professor at the University of Melbourne, indicate that even if the fund can continue to buy abatement at $14 a tonne it will fall at least 23% short of the 2020 target, or require almost $750m more.
And that is even before taking into account that much of the abatement bought in this first auction will not happen until after 2020.
The Climate Institute pointed out after the auction that it had achieved barely 15% of the reductions needed for the 5% 2020 target, and industry analysts Reputex said the auction results showed how quickly the emissions reduction fund would be used up.
Now, in a submission to the government, the Australian Industry Group (AI Group) has warned that using Direct Action to achieve the deeper emission reductions after 2020 – which Australia will be required to do in any agreement at the United Nations conference in Paris in December – will impose an increasingly onerous burden on the taxpayer.
The AI Group also notes that the “safeguards mechanism” – which is supposed to ensure that industrial emissions do not rise and cancel out any reductions bought primarily from avoiding tree-clearing and capturing gases from landfill – would need “substantial amendment” if it was to help reduce greenhouse emissions.
At the moment it “meets the government’s objective that the mechanism will not be a driver of abatement towards the 2020 target”, AIG said.
The independent senator, Nick Xenophon, who agreed to provide an essential vote for Direct Action on the understanding that the safeguards mechanism would be given “teeth”, said recently that the final form of the “safeguards” showed Direct Action had been “neutered” and could not guarantee the emission reductions it had promised.
Xenophon provided one of the six crossbench votes the government needed to get Direct Action through the Senate last July, in return for assurances that the safeguards mechanism would impose real limits on greenhouse emissions from industry.
In its submission AGL warned that an overall “cap” on emissions – or a national carbon “budget” – was essential.
“For long-term carbon budgetary goals to have any chance of success it is essential that short-term metrics are defined by reference to the national carbon budget. Without such a long-term context to short-term decision-making, short-term targets risk being inconsistent with long-term plans, ultimately necessitating more drastic mitigation strategies in the future to counteract earlier policy short-sightedness,” it said.
And while the current policy appears unlikely to force any changes in electricity generation – 88% of which comes from fossil fuels – AGL says this has to happen.
“AGL supports the use of both regulatory and market-based policy mechanisms to deliver the required emission reductions. Importantly, a range of policies are likely to be needed.” it said. It specifically suggested:

  • emissions standards for all new power stations
  • regulation to drive the progressive closure of older, emissions-intensive power stations or   retrofitting with CCS technology; and
  • continued incentives for renewable energy, such as the renewable energy target.

According to the AI Group’s calculations, which assume an abatement cost of $35 a tonne, maintaining Australia’s emissions at 5% lower than 2000 levels until 2025 would require at least $19bn to be spent on Direct Action. Adopting a target equivalent to the lower end of those proposed by the United States would require taxpayers to spend at least $25bn.

Extreme weather already on increase due to climate change, study finds

Extract from The Guardian

Researchers say heatwaves that previously occurred once every three years are now happening every 200 days thanks to global warming
Cars are left stranded among trees following the overnight flash floods in Grabels near Montpellier, France in 2014.
Cars are left stranded among trees following the overnight flash floods in Grabels near Montpellier, France in 2014. Photograph: Sylvain Thomas/AFP/Getty Images
Extreme heatwaves and heavy rain storms are already happening with increasing regularity worldwide because of manmade climate change, according to new research.
Global warming over the last century means heat extremes that previously only occurred once every 1,000 days are happening four to five times more often, the study published in Nature Climate Change said.
It found that one in five extreme rain events experienced globally are a result of the 0.85C global rise in temperatre since the Industrial Revolution, as power plants, factories and cars continue to pump out greenhouse gas emissions.
“A lot of us and our colleagues were surprised by how high these numbers are already now in the present day climate,” said Dr Erich Markus Fischer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
What represents an extreme day varies depending on the background climate. In the south-east of England, for example, temperatures used to reach 33.2C once every 1,000 days, but are now happening as much as once every 200 days.
Future warming will bring a more volatile, dangerous world, even if the world manages to keep temperature rises within a 2C limit to which governments have committed, Fischer’s research found. On average, any given place on Earth will experience 60% more extreme rain events and 27 extremely hot days.
Numbers of extreme weather events spiral even higher at a rise of 3C, a level of warming that the world is on track to exceed with current levels of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions.
Drawing links between specific weather events and climate change can erode the sense that climate change is something that will happen in the future, rather than causing havoc in the present. But the science, called attribution, has proved complicated.
Peter Stott, a scientist at the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre, said the new study was an important step in attribution science.
“What has been lacking up to now is a robust calculation of how much more likely extreme temperatures and rainfall have become worldwide.”
Waves crash into coastal houses as typhoon Hagupit pounds Legazpi, Albay province, eastern Philippines in December 2014.
Waves crash into coastal houses as typhoon Hagupit pounds Legazpi, Albay province, eastern Philippines in December 2014. Photograph: Aaron Favila/AP
The study shows warming of the atmosphere increases the number of times temperatures reach extreme levels and evaporates more water from the oceans. It is from this hotter, wetter background that extreme weather events emerge.
Longer events, such as heat waves and prolonged rainy periods, will also occur more often.
“When we talk about 15-day precipitation or 15-day heat waves rather than one-day cases, one very robust finding is the longer the period the higher the fraction that is attributable to warming,” said Fischer.
The study also found that the effects of warming will vary around the world. Weather events at the equator will become more extreme with 2C of warming, meaning tropical countries already dealing with frail infrastructure and poverty will experience more than 50 times as many extremely hot days and 2.5 times as many rainy ones.
But some already dry regions including the parts of the Mediterranean, North Africa, Chile, the Middle East and Australia will experience less heavy rain days.
“In the UK, for a one-in-a-thousand day, which is one in three years, we would probably be well adapted to that,” said Stott. “But I think we’ve shown that we are vulnerable to more extreme situations – those that happen once in a century. For example the wet winter we had in 2013-14. Or indeed the heatwave we had back in 2003 when many vulnerable, eldery people died. But in the tropics, in parts of the developing world, they are extremely vulnerable to one-in-three year events.”
Saleemul Huq, a Bangladeshi scientist who has been involved in the UN climate negotiations, said the developing world was already struggling to cope with extreme events.
“The increased probability of high rainfall events will enhance the adverse impacts of these events in many parts of the world, particularly for vulnerable communities. For example short bursts of intense rainfall in Dhaka already cause huge traffic jams and misery for its citizens,” he said.

East Australia one of 11 areas to account for 80% of world forest loss by 2030

Extract from The Guardian

Between 3m and 6m hectares of forest, mainly across New South Wales and Queensland, could be lost between 2010 and 2030

Leard state forest in NSW
About 70% of the eastern forests of Australia have already been cleared or disturbed, with just 18% of the area under any sort of protection, the report says. Photograph: AAP/Lock the Gate
Eastern Australia is one of the world’s 11 deforestation hotspots that together will account for 80% of global forest loss by 2030, a new report has warned.
Between 3m hectares and 6m hectares of rainforest and temperate forest, mainly stretching across New South Wales and Queensland, could be lost between 2010 and 2030 on current trends, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Forests report.
This deforestation is part of a wider loss that could reach 170m hectares of forest worldwide by 2030 in 11 key areas, including the Amazon, Borneo, Sumatra, the Congo Basin and East Africa.
Ten of the 11 areas are found in the tropics and contain some of the greatest biodiversity in the world, including animals such as tigers, orangutans and gorillas, as well as Indigenous communities.
About 70% of the eastern forests of Australia have already been cleared or disturbed, with just 18% of the area under any sort of protection, the WWF report states. Australia’s forestry loss has primarily been caused by land clearing for livestock, with unsustainable logging and mining also blamed for tree felling.
WWF said the watering down of environmental protections by the previous LNP government in Queensland led to a sharp rise in land clearing, with 275,000ha torn down in the past financial year – a tripling of vegetation loss rates since 2010.
While the new Labor state government has promised to reverse this loss, the New South Wales government is set to amend land-clearing protections, despite pledging $100m to protect the state’s threatened plants and animals.
“We are deeply concerned about NSW,” said Dermot O’Gorman, chief executive of WWF Australia. “These are laws that have been shown to have been effective in saving hundreds of thousands of animals, so it’s important that biodiversity continues to be protected.
“Maintaining forest protections is vital at state level. We’ve lost the large majority of the eastern Australian forest, which means the remaining forests are even more important to maintain.
“If business as usual continues, we will see more Australian species disappear, as well as the continuing decline of our water, topsoil and local and regional climate.”
O’Gorman said he welcomed the Australian government’s funding of efforts to slow deforestation in places such as Indonesia – where huge tracts of forest have been cleared to make way for palm oil plantations – but that some domestic policy decisions, such as the failed attempt to strip world heritage protection from part of Tasmania’s forests, was “unhelpful”.
The WWF report recommends a range of policies for the areas set to suffer deforestation, such as sustainable forest management practices, removing harmful agricultural practices, expanding protected areas and strengthening land rights for Indigenous people.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, SUBJECTS: Earthquake in Nepal; Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran; Marriage equality

coats arms




MICHAEL BRISSENDEN (PRESENTER):  Shadow Foreign Minister and she joins me now. Tanya Plibersek, welcome to the program.
TANYA PLIBERSEK (ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION): Michael, it’s good to talk to you.
BRISSENDEN: We’ll get to the gay marriage issue shortly but first to Nepal, obviously this is a terrible tragedy unfolding there?
TANYA PLIBERSEK: Well, it’s the shocking and as the hours pass the death toll rises. Yesterday in the first reports we were talking about 1300 lives lost. We already look to be close to double that number. Of course, if there are further aftershocks the concern is that the death toll might increase even more. It’s very hard obviously to get reliable information. The area affected is quite isolated anyway and with roads and power out as well it’s difficult to get certain information.
BRISSENDEN: And just quickly on the Bali Nine, you’ve spoken to the families of both Chan and Sukumaran in the past. Have you spoken to them since they were given the 72 hours notice?
PLIBERSEK: I have spoken to their families in the past and I have spoken to their lawyers as well. We have regular contact. They are obviously very concerned about being given the 72 hours notice and particularly as the legal processes are not yet complete.
As the Foreign Minister said on your program a moment ago, there is of course a constitutional court matter that is still pending and of enormous concern is this issue within the Judicial Commission where very serious allegations have been made about impropriety during the sentencing or before the sentencing. It is absolutely completely unacceptable for this sentence to be carried out while those legal matters are still pending.
We have said all along that we hoped that the Indonesian President would show clemency in this case but whether or not he is prepared to show clemency, at the very least we would expect all of the legal processes to be allowed to be completed before this sentence is carried out. What would it be like, Michael, if these legal processes find that there have been irregularities in the sentencing and these young men have already lost their lives?
BRISSENDEN: There have been obviously a lot of top-level diplomatic appeals to the President directly. He doesn’t seem to be listening, does he?
PLIBERSEK: He doesn’t seem to be listening to top-level appeals from Australia or from other nations. Sadly, he’s also not listening to public opinion in his own country. There are very many Indonesians saying now that it is a very serious issue to proceed with these sentences before the legal processes are complete. There was an article in the Jakarta Globe, again critical of the point that the President seems to be trying to make, that he can’t be swayed by international pressure.  And I think it’s important to note that this domestic pressure against the death penalty in Indonesia is at least in part, because as we have always said, it is impossible for Indonesia to argue for its own citizens on death row in countries around the world while it is carrying out these sentences against not just Australians but the nationals of many other nations within Indonesia.
BRISSENDEN: What are the consequences to our relationship if this goes ahead?
PLIBERSEK: I think it’s important not to start talking about potential consequences yet. Our focus today and in the coming days needs to be 100 per cent on asking the President of Indonesia, pleading with him indeed, to show clemency or at the very least to allow these legal processes to be seen to their conclusion.
BRISSENDEN: Let’s move to the issue of gay marriage. In 2011 the ALP national conference voted 208 to 184 to allow MPs and Senators the right to opt out if it came to a vote in parliament. Do you have the numbers to overturn this?
PLIBERSEK: That’s something we’ll determine over coming months and when we get to conference.
BRISSENDEN: Why should they be compelled then?
PLIBERSEK: Because in our national platform, issues like abortion and euthanasia, that people consider to be issues of life or death, allow a conscience vote for ALP members. This is not that type of issue. This is an issue about legal equality, and marriage of course for some people is a religious sacrament but for many, many people it is, as well as that or indeed instead of that, it is a legal agreement, it’s an acknowledgment by our community of the rights and responsibilities that a permanent relationship presents and I think when you’re talk about an issue like this, which is an issue of legal discrimination it is important for the Labor Party to say, “We don’t agree with legal discrimination.”
BRISSENDEN: You would have seen your colleague Catherine King on the weekend suggesting that compelling MPs to do this risks becoming a distraction from the whole issue. Is this a fight you don’t need to have?
PLIBERSEK: Obviously Michael, it’s not on the same scale as the issue of the loss of life of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, it’s not like the earthquake in Nepal, I’m not saying it’s the most important issue in the world but when presented with the question: do we support legal discrimination or do we not? I think the answer has to be we don’t.
BRISSENDEN: Tanya Plibersek, thanks very much for joining us.


185 jobs and top class cycling hub coming to Chandler

Media Statement


Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games
The Honourable Kate Jones

Monday, April 27, 2015

Queensland’s first indoor cycling velodrome is closer to completion after nine towers to provide temporary support for the $58 million structure were erected, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said today.
Ms Palaszczuk said the Queensland State Velodrome, which is under construction at Chandler and set to support 185 jobs, will create a new hub for the community and for elite cyclists in the South East.
Ms Palaszczuk was joined by Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones and Federal member for Bonner Ross Vasta to inspect progress on the facility which will host the track cycling competition for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Ms Palaszczuk said the 12 metre towers would support construction of the velodrome’s 750 tonne steel superstructure.
“The Velodrome is scheduled for completion mid 2016 – almost two years out from the Games,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Queensland is already reaping rewards from this facility with 185 jobs supported during design and construction.
“We have a long history of successful cyclists in Queensland like Olympic Gold Medallist Anna Meares and national champion Mike Victor.
“This new indoor facility will ensure Queensland cycling continues to grow and develop as well as attract larger national and international cycling events.
“This Government is all about growing Queensland’s future, whether it’s jobs, tourism, infrastructure or the economy.
“With the Queensland State Velodrome project, we’re growing this precinct into a world class venue for future events that the local community can enjoy and be proud of for years to come.
Ms Jones said the velodrome would leave an outstanding legacy for Queensland athletes.
“Its proximity to the BMX SuperX Track as well as the pool, gymnasium, catering and accommodation will allow it to become a centre of excellence for cycling,” Ms Jones said.
“It will attract elite training squads and competition events from Australia and overseas.
“We have the BMX National championships starting tomorrow, an event supported by this government through Tourism and Events Queensland.
“There are almost 1,500 competitors taking part over five days, which shows how important state-of-the-art facilities are when it comes to attracting national and international events.”
Member for Bonner Ross Vasta welcomed the news.
“I’m pleased to witness today a major milestone in the construction of this world-class facility,” Mr Vasta said.
 “The velodrome once completed will create scores of jobs and help grow the economy by attracting elite athletes and world-class cycling events to our state.
 “The Australian Government has been proud to partner with the Queensland Government to deliver this world-class infrastructure for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.”

 The crane towers constructed on the velodrome site will eventually hold up a central steel oculus which is the first component of the 117 metre by 113 metre velodrome roof that will be constructed later this year.

CareFlight outback rescue services secured

Media Statement


Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Cameron Dick

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a $56 million extension of CareFlight’s contract to provide doctors to transport sick patients in remote Queensland to major hospitals, ensuring outback families will continue to have access to high-quality medical facilities.
 The current contract, due to expire in February next year, will be extended a further three years to 2019.
 The Premier, who this week inspected drought-declared areas of western Queensland, said the provision of experienced doctors was an essential service for people in the bush.
 “Last year alone, more than 4,000 sick people in outback Queensland were seen by CareFlight doctors. That’s more than 10 patients a day,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
 “People out west face a completely different set of circumstances to those in the city, and Queensland is such a large state that the distance to a hospital or even a doctor can be quite daunting.
 “My government is committed to providing all Queenslanders with access to high-quality treatment, wherever they live.”
 Health Minister Cameron Dick said the three year extension of CareFlight’s contract with Queensland Health would provide more stability in the provision of state wide retrieval medicine services.
 “One of the big advantages of the CareFlight system is that they have their own doctors, whereas before this partnership existed 10 years ago, Emergency Medicine doctors were pulled from emergency rooms around the state to be flown out to major medical incidents,” Mr Dick said.
 “This in turn placed a strain on the resources of the health system. But under CareFlight, doctors are recruited and trained specifically to provide critical care via an aviation platform.”
CareFlight provides world-leading retrieval medicine services and specialises in the recruitment, training and provision of front-line critical care doctors and medical support staff for air medical retrieval from nine locations across Queensland.
They were one of several groups funded last year to provide medical evacuation services along the Queensland coast. But today’s announcement specifically allows for the employment of experienced doctors.

CareFlight Retrieval Medicine Limited has had the state government contract to fly to remote areas to retrieve patients who require urgent care since 2004.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Tony Abbott’s Direct Action policy will be a colossal waste of tax payers’ money.


Date:  23 April 2015
HOST: Joining us now to respond to the results is Labor’s Climate Change Spokesperson, Mark Butler. Welcome to the program. Four times the emissions reduction of Labor’s carbon tax and at one ninetieth of the price. What’s your response?
MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: Well, it’s complete rubbish of course. Labor was in the process of putting in place an emissions trading scheme that would have a legal cap on carbon pollution and involve an effective carbon price paid by the big polluters that is about half of the carbon price that is now being paid by taxpayers, not by big polluters, but by taxpayers, under the Greg Hunt scheme. Today’s auctions have confirmed what experts have been saying now for the best part of five years – that Tony Abbott’s Direct Action policy will be a colossal waste of tax payers’ money and deliver no meaningful reductions in carbon pollution.
HOST: At this price, the Government says it’s well on track to achieve, or even exceed, the 232 million tonnes of carbon abatement by 2020, Australia’s carbon target. What do you think it will achieve?
BUTLER: Well, of course the contracts that were released today – assuming they’re all able to be discharged, some of them are a bit speculative – but assuming all of them are discharged, are going to deliver pollution reductions over 10 years. So the 47 million tonnes, at best, will be delivered over the next ten years, so the middle parts of the next decade. But the big problem with this, leaving aside the fact that tax payers are paying for this and they’re paying a very, very high price indeed by global standards, the biggest problem with this policy is that at the same time some of these companies are getting money to do this, all of the big polluters in the country are free to do whatever they want. Now we received data only a few weeks ago that showed that carbon pollution has already started to rise in the electricity sector because of Tony Abbott’s attack on the Renewable Energy Target and just the pollution rise we’ve seen over the last 12 months, if you spread it over the next ten years, we’ve pretty much cancelled out the pollution reduction that Greg Hunt paid for today.
HOST: My guest on RN Drive is Labor’s climate change spokesperson, Mark Butler. And you can text us. What do you think of the results of the Government’s carbon auction? 0418226576. It has exceeded expectations though hasn’t it Mark Butler?
BUTLER: No I don’t think it has at all. The carbon price, as I said, is being is one of the world’s highest carbon prices at $15. Treasury advised us in 2013 that the Emissions Trading Scheme that Labor has been arguing for would have an effective carbon price of closer to $7 or $8 because businesses would be able to access global markets. Leaving aside the problem that I have with the principle that tax payers pay for this rather than big polluters, tax payers are just not getting value for money. In addition to a high price, also going through the list of companies that have received funding today, you see a whole range of projects, like landfill gas projects for example, that have already been operating for more than 10 years so, there’s a very big question mark over whether tax payers are simply paying money for companies to do things they were already either doing or were intending to do anyway.
HOST: But, look at the results. The results according to the figures and they’re not just Government spin, they’re independent figures as well. At this price the Government says it’s well on track to achieve or even exceed the 236 million tonnes of carbon abatement so –
BUTLER: [interrupts] Well, they need a lesson in maths if they think that’s right. As I said, this achieves 47 million tonnes over the next 10 years, at best. That assumes every contract is able to be performed. At the same time, we’re getting data that shows that the electricity sector is going to wipe out that figure just because of Tony Abbott’s attack on the Renewable Energy Target. The Climate Change Authority released a report earlier this week that suggested that over the 10 period that Greg Hunt’s been talking about today, Australia should be reducing its carbon pollution, that on the back of an envelope, I calculate at well more than one billion tonnes. Well more than one billion tonnes. So today’s results just confirm what everyone has said. This will be a colossal waste of tax payers money that allows big polluters to push pollution into our atmosphere –
HOST: [interrupts] But your carbon price delivered reductions of 12 million tonnes over two years and Greg Hunt says that’s a lower rate than what the Coalition will achieve now.
BUTLER: Well, the emissions trading scheme was never able to commence. The formal cap on carbon pollution was never able to commence –
HOST: [interrupts] But it did commence.
BUTLER: No, no, the carbon tax did, but the formal cap on carbon pollution that we under Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership said would start last year, was repealed by Tony Abbott. So there was never any legal control on the pollution that the several hundred biggest polluters in Australia –
HOST: [interrupts] But I’m asking about your carbon tax.
BUTLER: So what you saw in the first instead in the first year of our carbon price was carbon pollution reducing in the national electricity market by about seven per cent, just in the first year because of the explosion in renewable energy, up by about 25 per cent in that first 12 months. What you’ve seen since the election of Tony Abbott is a massive attack on the renewable energy sector which means that their share of the electricity market is in decline. And the share by big coal, by the coal-fired generators which was starting to decline under Labor, is starting to increase again. Which sees all of the work that was done by $45 million of tonnes being bought by tax payers’ money today completely being wiped out by changes in the electricity market.
HOST: On RN Drive my guest is Mark Butler, Labor’s environment spokesperson and you can text us on 0418226576 or tweet us at RN Drive. If you have a strong view, or even a mediocre view, whatever kind of view you have on this issue. Now the Environment Minister Greg Hunt says he thinks the Emissions Reduction Fund could actually beat the five per cent target by 2020. And instead of 236 million tonnes, achieve a reduction of 500 million tonnes, that’s quite – that’s almost a doubling, it’s quite extraordinary. Surely you’d applaud that wouldn’t you?
BUTLER: Well, if wasn’t complete magic pudding mathematics you might. Today he’s purchased maybe 47 million tonnes, using a quarter of the budget. That 47 million tonnes will have to be delivered, not by 2020, but over the next 10 years so how he can possibly come up with a figure of 500 million tonnes, when he’s already spent a quarter of the money, is utterly beyond me. I think it’s utterly beyond anyone who’s got a rudimentary understanding of maths.
HOST: If he does achieve it, will you come back on the program and applaud him?
BUTLER: He’s simply not going to because at the same time he’s doing this, as I said, big polluters are increasing their pollution and completely negating any impact that this auction has today. And as I said also, it appears from looking at the list that Greg Hunt is giving tax payers money to a whole long list of projects. Landfill gas projects for example being run by one of the country’s biggest electricity providers that’s been operated for more than 10 years.
HOST: But if he does achieve the target that we’re trying to reach – five per cent target by 2020 – you may not, this may not be the kind of regime you prefer, but will you not concede that it’s having at least demonstrable results?
BUTLER: I’m not going to get into the sort of fairy tale hypotheticals that Greg Hunt is trying to spin today. Even his own maths show that the sort of things that he’s been talking about over the last 24 hours are utterly improbable, utterly improbable and that’s why no other country on the planet is using this approach to dealing with climate change. Every other country with which we usually compare ourselves – our oldest trading partners in Europe, places in North America, China, South Korea, Japan – are all using an emissions trading scheme model that actually places a legal discipline on the big polluters to start to reduce their carbon pollution. That is the sort of thing that leads to the innovation we need. We’re not seeing any innovation in this fund. Of course, a number of good projects are in this fund and a number of them are projects that were supported by Labor as well. But that doesn’t mean that this is in any way a substantial climate change policy.
HOST: Mark Butler, he’s also just told a media conference that this result is a stunning repudiation of the carbon tax, that the average carbon tax averaged out at more than $1300 a tonne. Does it produce a verdict that the carbon tax is a failure?
BUTLER: Well of course shortly before the 2013 election, Kevin Rudd, Chris Bowen and I indicated that we would be terminating the carbon tax if elected and we would be moving much more quickly to an emissions trading scheme than was previously the plan so that by now an emissions trading scheme would already have been in place for more than 12 months. So, talking about the carbon tax really is talking about all that is long gone. In any event though, he is completely wrong.
HOST: But given that he’s comparing his current figures to the results under the carbon tax, it’s not helpful for Labor, given the results of the carbon tax were poor.
BUTLER: Well his figures are wrong in any event. As I said, a carbon price that was nowhere near the sorts of figures he’s talking about, was already, alongside with our renewable energy policies, achieving a real change in our electricity sector, real innovation. And that’s the sort of change that we’re  going to need if we’re going to have a meaningful response to climate change. Not this sort of slush fund that Greg Hunt and Tony Abbott are fixated on.
HOST: Greg Hunt also says that the Labor system paid companies to emit and the auction system paid companies to reduce emissions, do you agree with that assessment?
BUTLER: Well of course I don’t. And I don’t think anyone else would either –
HOST: Well he obviously does.
BUTLER: Well, he might. But Tony Abbott is paying tax payers’ money over to polluters, as I said, in many cases it would appear from today’s auction to do things they were doing anyway to reduce their carbon pollution, while at the same time all of the biggest polluters in Australia, none of whom were really on the list published today, are free to do whatever they want, to put as much pollution as they want, into the atmosphere. That is the problem with this approach that has no legal discipline on the amount of carbon pollution being produced in Australia.
HOST: Mark Butler, thanks for coming on RN Drive and having this conversation with me.

BUTLER: Thanks Patricia.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Letters to Editor May 11, 1895.

BRISBANE, MAY 11, 1895.

Mail bag.

WANTED – (to prepare way for Socialism in out Time):
One Adult One Vote.
Land Tax.
Income Tax.
State Bank.
Shops and Factories Act.
Eight hours day where practicable.
Referendum and Initiative.
Taxation of every person according to ability to pay.
The State to find work for unemployed.
The State to fix a minimum wage.
Free railways. Free administration of Justice.

The WORKER does not hold itself responsible for the opinions of its correspondents.

H. C. - Rather lengthy.
W.B.C. - Spread out the hide and cover it with ashes. In twelve hours it will be fit to use or fold up.
MACKAY CORRESPONDENT. - Did not receive yours of April 6. May 2nd and 4th arrived safely. Thanks. Perfect secrecy guaranteed.
F.E.P. - Too much space would be taken to state that the police, piloted by Bruce Logan, searched your camp for stolen meat and found none.
“FERDINAND” - There was 4d. to pay on your letter, 2d. Deficient postage and 2d. Fine. Please leave open the ends of the envelope containing press copy, or affix sufficient stamps.
W.T. - There were no names mentioned, and if the letter refers to you we advise you not to further advertise the matter by writing to the press. Write to the committee of your branch.
WILL O' THE WISP, - You should refer that matter to the committee of your branch, who will investigate. The publication of personal letters in the WORKER would lead to untold confusion.
CARRIE H. writes that Mrs. Knight, manager of South Comongin, pounded some poor travellers horses, and Messers Officer and Ridley Williams, manager of North Comongin and Hierbank, subscribed the money to release them.


ED. WORKER, - The notebook in your last week's issue over the non de plume of “Pelican” is inconsistent with truth and is a most uncalled for reflection on gangers particularly. “Pelican” makes assertions of a general character. I now challenge him to give some facts in proof of what he asserts. If he refuses, then you can only put him down as a skilled manufacturer of Tozers. - GANGER.

Ed. WORKER, - In the extract of Mr. Kewley's letter of the 13th, regarding cane cutting in this district, the cutters for the Homebush mill earnt last year from £1 to £1.10s. per week and tucker, but the £1.10s. was seldom reached. The farmers around here have a fresh agreement this year – namely, for all crops 14 tons per acre and over, 3s. per ton; 10 to 13 tons, 3s. 3d.; under 10 ton, 3s. 6d. Cutters to find a horse to haul the cane to the main train line. The price paid last year was 3s. all round, the farmer supplying horse. - W.M. GAMBLE, cane cutter, Mackay.

ED. WORKER, - I have just received information that a report has been circulated at Westlands station that Mr. Hawkins, of Goodberry Hills, had written in to me to send him shearers to fill up his board and that I had sent out my personal friends. I beg to contradict this false report. The fact is, I did not know when Mr. Hawkins would shear, as he never wrote or told me; and, as far as I am concerned, I have not sent a single man to Goodberry Hills, this year. This can be proved by Mr. Hawkins, his overseer, and the shearers employed at Goodberry Hills. Who the man is who spread such a rumour I do not know; but I think, in all fairness to myself, the men at Westlands should send his name to my committee so that his statements may be inquired into. - W.M. KEWLEY, Sec. A.W.U.

ED. WORKER, - Sir, seeing in the WORKER of April 20th that in order that friends of the WORKER may not be victimised, no moneys for the Enlargement Fund are acknowledged through the WORKER unless subscribers make a request to that effect. What would be the good of doing so if requested? Every subscriber gets a ticket for the amount he or she subscribes, and at the end of the year balance sheets must be made out in each branch or office and brought before the members at their annual meetings. It would then be sufficient for the WORKER to publish the amounts received from each branch or office. Tickets should be given for all moneys received. No use saying this cannot be done. If the man in the moon would drop a crown down you could not give or send him a ticket, but you could fill out in his name a ticket for the amount all the same. - MODY O. 49.

ED. WORKER, - A few lines from this part of New South Wales (Little Bendigo) may be of interest to some of our members in Queensland who would like to know how mining matters are at this knew rush. The field has been open two months and only payable gold got in the prospecting claim. The reef is small on to a depth of about 14ft. , carrying good payable stone, estimated to go 10oz. to the ton. She is a splendid show, and every appearance of being permanent; two wages men on. Gold has been got in No. 2 North-west in a leader too small to follow down. Also No. 2 North has struck a carrying gold. All the claims are sinking. Some are down 60ft. and no sign of the reef. No one should here unless well provided. A few wages men are put on with money for prospecting purposes. There ins no water nearer than four miles from the workings. No grass for horses as the rabbits have eaten every blade; the country is actually swarming with the pest. I am glad to see that steps are being taken to enlarge the WORKER. I will do my best to collect funds when shearing commences. - J. E. O'FARRELL, Hon. Sec. A.W.U., Queensland.
Later, - Since the above was written No. 2 S.W. of P.C. Struck a new reef carrying splendid gold; depth of find, 45ft. - J. E. O'F.

ED. WORKER, - I am sorry to have to trouble you on a personal matter, but my confidence having been abused by a pressman I have no other choice. Some time ago I wrote a note to the WORKER, as also to “Bobby Byrnes,” re a certain book. To the latter my note was simply civil, as I desired a civil answer; but I never promised him any sketch or history of myself. My life, past and present, is open to the criticism of anyone. I have lived in a glass house as it were, and I intend to do so. But I submit it was bad taste on his part, if even justifiable, to blazon my name abroad in connection with an alias (the right to which I have neither denied or asserted) without previously consulting me. He says he knew me in Burketown in the good old days and that I was a cattle-duffer on the Flinders. Bless the man, I never owned a bullock in my life, not even a worker, either on the square or cross. And although there are some here who remember him when he kept the shanty at the Leaning Tree, I am not one of them, as I never was in Burketown before last year. For an old pressman, which he boasts to be, he shows ignorance of facts-that is very glaring. To those of my relations whose high respectability has been scared by the 'Tozers' of B. Byrnes, and who have written to me on the subject I say, “Let every tub stand on its own bottom.” My principal object in writing these lines is to let my fellow-working and quondam fellow unionists know that I never could be so intensely stupid as to have had anything but a strained connection with such a flimsy rag as the PRO-FAT FIGARO. - JIM M'PHERSON Burketown.    

Friday, 24 April 2015

Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment is selling his soul to the devil.

For Greg Hunt, a young family man who should know better and have concerns for future generations, to be part of this Direct Action Climate Plan Green Washing con is amazing and it has been reported he did his University degree on an Emissions Trading Scheme so it makes this sham even worse.
In the Guardian Hunt said

Hunt said the 47m tonnes of abated emissions outstripped his expectation that “three or four or five million tonnes” might be achieved.
“This is stunning outcome, it far exceeds all of our expectations and it achieves an outcome in the first auctions which is more than four times the entire emissions reduction produced during the carbon tax period at a fraction of the cost,” he said.

Hunt said the first round of auctions proved that the Coalition’s policy was a “comprehensive success”, in contrast to Labor’s carbon tax, which he called a “licence to pollute”.

Mr. Hunt you have sold your soul to the devil.

The Worker


 coats arms



Lately, there’s been a lot of debate about university fees.
Christopher Pyne thinks universities should be able to charge whatever they like for a degree.  He also thinks that students should pay a greater share of the cost of their studies because a uni education is a ‘private benefit’, not a public good.
He’s wrong on pretty much every count.
Australia can never be a successful nation unless we invest in education: from quality early learning and pre-school, through the school years, vocational education, and universities. For many Australians that will mean training and retraining more than once as their lives and our economy change.  It’s estimated that by 2020, two-thirds of all the jobs created in Australia will require a diploma qualification or higher.
Encouraging young Australians to go to uni is not just good for them, it’s vital for the wealth of our nation.
And most parents agree. Research by Universities Australia found that 88 per cent of Australians will encourage their children, and young people they know, to attend university.
Mr Pyne asks, ‘why should a factory worker pay taxes so someone else can get a law degree?’  The answer, of course, is that that factory worker may hope for their children or grandchildren to go to uni.  And when those kids graduate, if they earn more because of the degree, they will pay higher taxes, enabling the next generation of kids to get to uni too.
The problem with the $100,000 degrees that Mr Pyne continues to champion is that they will stop bright, hard-working, young people who aren’t wealthy from going to uni.  Especially if the debts for their uni education come due at the same time of life that young people are considering buying a home or starting a family.
Mr Pyne says it will all be fine, because thousands of scholarships will be offered. We don’t want to return to a time when smart working class kids could only get to uni if they got a Commonwealth Scholarship.  We don’t want to return to a time where career choices were dictated by the courses scholarships were offered in. (Incidentally, the scholarships Mr Pyne is boasting about are not paid for by the government or the university, they are paid for by a levy on other students, so in some cases poor students will be subsidising other poor students!)
We want the best, brightest, hardest working kids, irrespective of their family background, irrespective of their parents’ ability to pay, irrespective of their own ability to pay, to be able to choose a university education, a vocational education – whatever it is that suits them, their interests and abilities.
A system which only relies on scholarships for those kids is not a system I can support.
You don’t need a PhD to work out that Christopher Pyne’s $100,000 degrees are bad news.
This article was originally published in MAMAMIA on Tuesday the 21st of April 2015.