Thursday, June 28, 2007

Our Leaders

Just a couple of quick comments.

1] I realised the other day that the political leaders are by and large lawyers. It has depressed me no end. I don't think the legal brain is the best suited to solve the practical problems that concern us most in our world.

2] John Howard our prime minister [who is also a lawyer] has decided to send in additional police to clean up the Aboriginal settlements in the outback. I read in todays paper that even the man who produced the report that initiated this response is not happy with the prime ministers approach.

John Howard is quoted as saying,

"I believe in my heart it is absolutely right."

I think I heard him say something similar about the reason to go to war with Iraq.

Of course the cynics amongst us could see this initiative as a distraction and a bit of grandstanding by the prime minister as we head towards an election.


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Saturday, June 23, 2007

10 years in the job

John Howard has had 10 in the job as Prime Minister and in the closing months of as prime minister he decides he needs to take the bull whip out to Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.
Here is an article in The Age newspaper throwing some light on this blatant political stunt. He has used race and fear before, here he goes again.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Desalination continued

An article in The Age 'Pass on the Salt'

When you read the article you will see we are going to pay on average $1000 per annum for water, going from the cheapest in Australia to the most expensive. And this is to pay for just one desalination plant that will only supply a fraction of Victoria's water needs. Using Brown Coal, to power it. [Off set by wind turbines].
The article also mentions that a $1 billion plan to reuse rain run off has been shelved because it is too long term, whatever that means.
What a joke these so called experts are.
P.S. The politicians wont have a problem paying their water bills, the federal pollies are getting another 6-7% pay rise a year after the last.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Desalination not the solution

From the BBC an article referring to a report from WWF.

Desalination 'not the solution'

Turning salt water into drinking water is not a solution to tackle global
water scarcity, the WWF has said.

A report by the environmental group said a growth in the energy intensive

technology would increase emissions and damage coastal and river habitats.

More attention should instead be paid to conserving supplies, it suggested.

The study was published as Australia announced plans to build one of the

world's biggest desalination plants to supply drinking water to Melbourne.

"Desalinating the sea is an expensive, energy intensive and greenhouse gas

emitting way to get water," said Jamie Pittock, director of WWF's global

freshwater programme.

"It may have a place in the world's future freshwater supplies but regions

still have cheaper, better and complementary ways to supply water that are

less risky to the environment."

The report called for greater emphasis on managing existing supplies before

the go-ahead was given to major water projects.

It added that new desalination plants, which were primarily located in coastal

areas, should also be subject to tighter impact assessments to minimise damage

to the marine environment.

Advances in technology meant that it was also possible to develop alternative

"manufactured water" systems, such as treating waste water, the authors wrote.

Securing supplies

Desalination plants already play a major role in providing water for drinking

and irrigation in areas such as the Middle East, where freshwater supplies are scarce.

But many other nations, including the US, China and Spain are turning to the

technology to meet growing demands.

"Water supply, on a global basis, is a problem," commented Richard Bowen,

a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

"Desalination is set to become more important because the demand for water

is going to increase, and a large percentage of the world's population is situated

in coastal areas."

Professor Bowen, from the University of Wales' School of Engineering,

Swansea, said the environmental impact of desalination was well understood

by the industry.

"The basic problem is that by taking sea water and producing fresh water,

you are going to get a stream of fresh water, which is what you want,

but you also produce a concentrated salt stream," he explained.

"You have to be very careful what you do with that concentrated stream and where you put it back into the environment.

"There have been quite careful studies into the effects of this, so it is a

consideration in the development of a new plant."

The government in the Australian state of Victoria on Tuesday

announced plans to build one of the world's biggest desalination

plants near Melbourne.

The project, which is expected to be completed by 2011, is part of a

scheme to "drought-proof" water supplies to the nation's second largest city.

Southern Australia has been in the grips of a six-year drought, the worst on record.

The WWF report acknowledges that the technology had a

"limited place in water supply", but each project should be assessed

on a case-by-case basis, it argued.

It recommended: "Desalination plants... should only be constructed

where they are found to meet a genuine need to increase water supply

and are the best and least damaging method."

So There you go. I am not alone in my concerns.
We will need to see a lot more information on this proposed
Desalination plant.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Desalination Plant

Here in Victoria our Premier has just announced a Desalination plant to provide 150 billion litres of water per year, at a cost of $3.1 billion. This in turn is going to double the price of water to the consumer over the next five years.
I thought desalination plants were a complete no no. Environmentally unfriendly, big CO2 producer. It must be the most expensive way of making clean water. In Saudi Arabia they can afford to get their water this way, but here where many users are on low incomes I don't think it will be fair to ask everyone to pay twice as much for their water.
I hope we can see an comprehensive plan for this project. It's not good enough for the Premier to say. "I'm confident we have the right plan for the future," we all need to see what outcomes we can expect from a large desalination plant.
Have they considered collecting rain run off, or recycled water plants?
And when we have above average rain fall again, [like the floods in NSW at the moment] and we are awash with water again. How will the people of Victoria react to higher water prices and cost over runs. As our experts tell us it is the best plan. Just dig deeper in your pockets to pay for it.


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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dalai Lama

Yep the Dalai Lama is over here, not his first trip, he is relatively well known here and well liked. Over the years he has probably been a bit of an embarrassment to the government, because he hasn't always had nice things to say about China, one of our biggest trading partners.

We all know that human rights in China since the 1950s hasn't always been good. He has told it how he sees it and the people of Tibet have been hurt by the occupation of their country by the Chinese.

The fall out from this is our politicians don't necessarily agree with his views [in regard to china]. Especially in an election year when, leaders on both sides of the political spectrum could be in power in the near future.
The current foreign minister is Alexander Downer. He has come out and attacked the leader of the opposition for playing politics with seeing the Dalai Lama, calling it a political stunt. A direct quote from the Downer states that,

"I think it just is a reflection of the fact that Mr Rudd just plays politics the whole time."

And then goes on to deny that the Prime Minister has played politics at all on this issue.
Now let me get this right; They are all politicians, that is the name of the game. If I went to see a doctor of medicine and he stopped being a doctor while he performed his examination, I would not be too happy.

"A round of tiddly winks on your belly while I listen to your heart beat". I don't think so.

So of course he is playing politics, maybe that is why Downer [a failed party leader] just isn't up to the job. On issues like trade and foreign affairs it has always been and always will be a matter of diplomacy which is the language of politics. If you don't get that much you oughtn't be a politician.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

The John Howard years

I have just read David Marr's piece in The Age on the John Howard's years. He starts the article with this paragraph.
The Howard Government has been the most unscrupulous corrupter of public debate since the Cold War was at its height. Our passivity and trust have let this happen.

It is compulsive reading for anyone who believes in free speech.

Here is
David Marr's piece.


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