NEWS AND VIEWS
Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Let a Little More Law and Order be Seen
Think globally. Keep warning the people about international terrorism. But don't forget to act locally.
And so it was today that Prime Minister John Howard did his bit to bring the Liberal Party's law-and-order stamp to the Nollamara Shopping Centre in the West Australian city of Stirling . Let the Prime Minister explain in his own words.
"On 3 March 2007, a 37-year-old man using an Automatic Teller Machine at the shopping Centre was attacked by a man wielding a pick axe. When Michael Keenan, the local Federal MP for Stirling , brought this to my attention I was keen for the Australian Government to contribute to making the community safer.
"The Australian Government is committed to helping local communities fight crime and has a number of programs, including the National Community Crime Prevention Program, that promote partnerships to address crime at the grass roots level.
"The Government is delighted to be able to assist the local community and the City of Stirling by providing funding of $85,000 to implement this important community project. The Be Seen project involves installing up to 10 modern digital TV cameras, control equipment and advisory signage throughout the shopping centre to deter crime and improve the capacity of law enforcement officers, who will work in partnership with the Council, to deal with any crime that does occur."
The Name we Dare Not Mention
Two major United Nations organizations this week took the unusual step of issuing a warning about proven prove weaknesses in food safety systems around the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) referred to "recent food safety incidents, like the discovery of the industrial chemical melamine in animal and fish feed, or the unauthorized use of certain veterinary drugs in intensive aquaculture" without naming China as the principal culprit. Meanwhile in Australia health authorities have remained silent about the dangers posed by imported food stuffs.
Such food safety incidents are often caused by lack of knowledge of food safety requirements and of their implications, or by the illegal or fraudulent use of ingredients including unauthorized food additives or veterinary drugs. During the last 12 months, an average of up to 200 food safety incidents per month have been investigated by WHO and FAO to determine their public health impact.
Australians, whose supermarkets are relying more and more on Chinese imports for their own brand products should keep in mind the UN warning that food production systems in developing countries are facing a series of challenges: population growth and urbanization, changing dietary patterns, intensification and industrialization of food and agricultural production. Climate conditions, poor sanitation and weak public infrastructure compound these difficulties. Food safety legislation in many developing countries is often incomplete or obsolete or not in line with international requirements. Responsibility for food safety and control tends to be dispersed across many institutions. Laboratories lack essential equipment and supplies.
The Price is Right
Matt Price writing in The Australian this morning had things spot on. "Newspoll's prognostications", he commented, "are becoming so predictable it must be tempting for the bean counters to avoid the expense of actually ringing people up and instead simply re-publish last fortnight's results." Or they could just give away a dozen bottles of wine to encourage their readers to predict what Newspoll will show as the Owl does. For once again our Pick the Newspoll contest is round about the mark.
Take the primary voting intention. The only difference between the Owl's team and the pollster was in the vote for the Green and Other candidates.
That insignificant difference did result in the Owl two-party-preferred vote coming in at Coalition 43 to Labor 57 compared to 45 to 55 in Newspoll. We rounded the Labor figure of 56.5 up to 57. Perhaps Newspoll rounded down!
When it came to measuring the approval and disapproval ratings of the two leaders, the Owl team were slightly harsher markers than the Newspoll sample with the predicted approval for both John Howard and Kevin Rudd being a couple of points less than Newspoll found.
Guessing which man Newspoll would find the public thought would make the better Prime Minister saw the Owl more pro-Rudd than Newspoll.
The winner of the Bragging Rights and our dozen wines from Glug this week is Mathew Stephenson who will take his place in our Psephology Hall of Fame along with previous winners. Because the second and third place getters were so close, consolation wine prizes will be sent to Monty Mandelburgh (a previous winner) and Stephen Luntz.