NEWS AND VIEWS
Thursday, 17 April 2008
GO TO OTHER DAILY EMAILS - indexed by date
The problem to come with climate change
All the nonsense being talked by the Federal Government about its efforts to keep down petrol prices is a perfect illustration of the problem to come when it stops talking about the need to curb carbon dioxide emissions and starts doing something about it. Labor keeps telling us that reducing emissions is essential and the best way of achieving that is by increasing the price of things like petrol that causes them. So why all this effort to reduce the petrol price? Logic suggests the Government should be happy that oil companies in reacting to higher crude oil prices are doing the job for it. Perhaps the answer is provided by some work done in the United States by the polling group American Environics who last year found that voters consistently rated energy costs as a higher concern than global warming, and resisted policies that would increase the cost of electricity and gasoline.
The survey, jointly conducted by American Environics and EMC Research ranked global warming dead last of the 16 issues tested, trailing the cost of gas and electricity, dependence on foreign oil, and even “quality of the environment.” Voter concern over the cost of gas and electricity was evident in a number of question responses, from both a strong preference for proposals to lower the cost of clean energy (68%) over proposals designed to reduce consumption by making dirty energy more expensive (18%), to a majority opposing a carbon tax (58%) with 39% strongly opposing such an action. The poll also divided the sample to observe the effects of various psychological primes on global warming public opinion, including using specific consequences of global warming expressed by the environmental community such as the movie An Inconvenient Truth.
Telling voters about these consequences did not increase their desire to take action on global warming. “Telling voters that global warming will lead to environmental disaster did not lead to increased support for action on global warming,” noted Dr. John Whaley who conducted the survey for American Environics. “In addition, when voters were told that specific proposals would lead to higher energy costs, support for policies to limit carbon dropped dramatically.”
The height of back fences
The inventors of Colorbond fencing, I have decided, have a lot to answer for. My landlord has just erected one of these monsters around the house I rent and the pleasant exchanges I used to have with the neighbours have now come to a halt. Throughout Australia they are changing society for the worse.
The Daily Reality Check“I wonder how long it will take for people to start bagging Quentin Bryce's appearance,” wrote Catherine Deveny in the Melbourne Age this week . In a witty and entertaining piece with a serious point to it, Ms Deveny said society was very confused about what women should be. “A 1950s housewife, a corporate supermum, a neat size eight two weeks after giving birth, a wordless beauty, a devoted mother working part-time or a feisty ball-breaker in suspenders and stilettos.” The German Chancellor Angela Merkel would understand that comment. She has been featuring in the world's press for wearing a low-cut dress to the opening of the Oslo Opera House.
The London Daily Mail headlined the picture of the Chancellor at the opera with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg "Merkel's Weapons of Mass Distraction." That was in the same tradition of the British tabloids which saw the London Sun back in 2006 publish photos of Chancellor Merkel changing into a bathing suit while on vacation in Italy under the headline "Big in the Bumdestag." The German news magazine Der Spiegel reports that Ms Merkel usually appears in “much more sensible pant-suits with low shoes.”
The Pick of this Morning's Political Coverage
Get out the egg beater and whip up a bit of queer bashing. The Sydney Daily Telegraph excelled itself this morning by distorting a few comments by a NSW Education Department bureaucrat to suggest schools were going to ban use of the words Mum and Dad so that children of homosexual couples did not feel left out. “Teachers are being urged,” the Tele splashed all over its front page, “to stop using terms such as husband and wife when addressing students or families under a major anti-homophobia push in schools. The terms boyfriend, girlfriend and spouse are also on the banned list - to be replaced by the generic "partner" - in changes sought by the gay lobby aimed at reducing discrimination in classrooms. Schools are coming under pressure to provide lessons for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and stack their libraries with books and videos covering their issues.” All this based on remarks by Education Director-General Michael Coutts-Trotter that public schools had a responsibility to include children from same sex couples and allow no discrimination. It did not take long for the denials from the Government to start coming. They were on the radio by 8am but were still not on the Tele's website at midday. Never let the truth come between a tabloid and a good story.
Schools ban mum and dad – Bruce Mcdougall, Sydney Daily Telegraph
State Housing MInister has 14 properties - Simon Benson, Joe Hildebrand and Saffron Howden, Sydney Daily Telegraph
PM's 2020 pledge for every child - Patricia Karvelas, The Australian
States forced to cut back on spending - Mark Ludlow, Duncan Hughes and Cathy Bolt with Tracy Ong, Australian Financial Review
It's all go on AFL bid – Brett Stubbs, Hobart Mercury
AFL dims lights on Tasmanian team bid – Martin Boulton, Melbourne Age
WA tipped to ride out economic slowdown – Shane Wright, Perth West Australian
Lobbyists wary of clamp – Katharine Murphy, Melbourne Age