June 17th 2017

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The Great Barrier Reef is dying? ... Again?

CANBERRA OBSERVED McCain, Keating wade into South China Sea

EDITORIAL No heads roll despite quarantine foul-ups

EDUCATION FUNDING With Gonski reboot, Turnbull taps in to way to lose Catholic vote

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS Aboriginal recognition in the constitution?

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Low job prospects keep a generation at home

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Donald Trump has the world in a spin

EDUCATION FUNDING Gonski numbers shrink in the light of day

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Qantas bans pensioner: an abuse of process

MUSIC Jim Black: accent on rhythm

CINEMA King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: The East End treatment

BOOK REVIEW Apocalypse and redemption

BOOK REVIEW Poems exhibit delicate strength


ELECTRICITY Bad science + bad economics = bad policy

Books promotion page


News Weekly, June 17, 2017

Power prices

Why is electricity getting so expensive?

Peter Westmore in News Weekly (May 6, 2017) addresses the problem under the heading “Shocking truth about soaring power prices”.

He writes: “Reliability can no longer be guaranteed, despite the availability of almost inexhaustible quantities of coal and gas.”

One matter he discusses is “an indirect device known as Renewable Energy Certificates, which electricity companies are required to purchase, to meet the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target.

“These certificates effectively mean that electricity companies – not governments – are being forced to pay the cost of installing solar panels.”

Subsidies that typically amount to $4,000 each are “ultimately paid by those consumers who do not have solar panels”.

These subsidies “for solar and wind power contrast with the taxes imposed on coal-fired power stations”.

The effect of the combined excesses being loaded on to power operators means that they find it more profitable to close down their stations, causing blackouts, such as the recent one in South Australia. The road to wind turbines and solar power is littered with the wreckage of extra costs and discontent for coal-fired electricity energy consumers.

Robert Bom,
West Rockhampton, Qld.


Murray lacking on BAS

I have just finished reading Robert Murray’s Labor and Santamaria, reviewed in News Weekly (April 22, 2017).

While it includes some interesting snippets about Bob’s relations with ALP, Liberal and church personalities, it completely misses mention of much of Bob’s work.

BAS was probably the world-leading expert on the apostolate of the laity, having written on numerous occasions about how the laity needs to involve itself in society. This was derived from the Young Christian Workers principles and other aspects of Catholic Action, training by the Jesuits in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Establishing AD 2000 and the Thomas More Bulletin was also part of this work.

New Zealand was able to disengage itself from ANZUS, but the NCC, through Bob’s leadership, helped safeguard the alliance and keep communism at bay for 11 years in Vietnam, thereby ensuring that Indonesia did not succumb to communism.

The U.S. nuclear umbrella is all important in this regard.

Preventing the ALP from governing while infected with rampant anti-Americanism made it possible for the relatively moderate Gough Whitlam to win.

Bob’s anti-globalism is only now proving to be prescient, with the emergence of Trump, Brexit and anti-European Union feeling.

John Barich,
Claremont, WA

Co-option of sport

Why drag AFL players into this divisive political issue [same-sex marriage]?

There is no national consensus on marriage equality and the matter is far from settled.

Pressuring, and that’s clearly what you’re doing, AFL players to engage in a political campaign is pitting the sport and its players against those many supporters who uphold the law of the land; that is, the Marriage Act as it stands.

Your strategy will fail because ordinary punters know that the association is using players for political point-scoring purposes.

Let them play football, not politics.

Robert Hicks,
Kalgoorlie, WA

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm