Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We need a carbon levy

Labor's fatally compromised emissions trading scheme has now slipped into political oblivion but climate change has not. 

Kevin Rudd is a coal-eating surrender monkey!

It is clear that we urgently need a price on carbon to provide incentives for people and industry to shift towards zero emissions energy sources.

Professor Ross Garnaut and many others now support the immediate introduction of a much simpler carbon levy which would supplement other initiatives and policies to reduce Australia's carbon emissions.

It is time for Kevin Rudd to implement a carbon levy now to give us the best chance of avoiding the looming consequences of dangerous climate change.

Link: Rudd delays carbon scheme until 2012

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is Stephen Conroy's Internet censorship a religious crusade?

Stephen Conroy, a Victorian Senator, has been relentlessly pursuing government censorship of the Internet, claiming that this is required "to protect children from harmful content" and to "stop bad people exchanging harmful content".  Unfortunately it will do neither.

While his motive is reasonable, his secret Internet black list is not.  It will be easily subverted by the villains, and will be largely ineffective.

Unfortunately Senator Conroy has deaf ears to these concerns, and is blindly forging ahead with his ill-considered proposal.  Who does he thinks he is "representing" as a Victorian Senator?  Not me, nor many other Victorians I suspect.   His fervour and devotion to this cause suggests possible religious motivations.

Along the way, he has claimed that the Internet is not special.and should be censored like books, films and newspapers.  Senator Conroy has dismissed the torrent of criticism directed at his policy as "misleading information" spread by "an organised group in the online world".

He has also ignored the obvious similarities to China's Great Internet Firewall censorship.

Australia has just made Google's top 10 censorship list  of countries that have asked the search engine Google to hand over user data or to censor information.

Internet censorship is part of a steady drift towards Big Brother. CCTV, secret police lists, anti-terrorism and anti-organised crime laws that all impinge in individual rights. Oh, and no Bill of Rights either.

So the Labor Government is happy to behave like the autocratic Chinese Government? Its a disgrace!

The solution is for people to install personal content filters if they wish, and for the goverment and police to actively pursue and prosecute wrongdoers.

According to the U.S. Ambassador, "the United States has been able to accomplish the goals that Conroy has described for Australia, which is to capture and prosecute child pornographers, without having to use internet filters".  So can Australia.

External links

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Senator Kim Carr happily subsidises fossil fuel but not electric vehicles

It is very disappointing that the Australian Government continues to provide massive subsidies for fossil fuels - around $9 billion per year - while Senator Kim Carr has ruled out any subsidies for electric vehicles.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

The federal government instead believes the future of the car industry lies in the development of existing technology across petrol, diesel and LPG engines.

''It's not our intention to run programs to support any particular form of technology,'' Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Kim Carr said.

This is yet another example of the failure of the Australian Government and our elected representatives to provide leadership towards a low carbon future.

Electric vehicles can reduce our carbon emissions if they replace fossil fuel powered vehicles, and they can achieve zero emissions when the source of electricity for recharging them is 100% renewable energy.

This is also a missed opportunity to develop an electric vehicle that could be exported around the world.  China, France, Japan, the United States, Germany, Korea and India are all building electric vehicles.

Kim Carr's so called "green car fund" spends $1billion of Australian taxpayers money on very dubious projects such as a "green 6 cyclinder motor" (Ford Australia).

Not surprisingly, the oil companies in Australia regard their profits from fossil fuels to be "safe for 10 years".

Kim, the government should subside the development of low emissions technologies.  You should also remove all subsidies on fossil fuel use.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Catholics need to deal with sexual abuse by Priests

I have for years regarded the Catholic religion as distorting the teachings of Christ in many ways.

For example, Jesus spoke nothing about priests, bishops, popes or celibacy.

Even the building of massive churches and cathedrals - common across many forms of Christianity - is foreign to the teaching of Jesus.  Jesus said that "the people are the  church".

Now the worst kept secret for many years - that there are high rates of child sexual abuse and paedophilia among Catholic priests - is making headlines.

This has been a problem for decades - in fact centuries.

The Catholic church - all the way up to the current Pope - has developed a culture of denial and avoidance of this issue.  They judge the perceived harm to their church as greater than the obvious effect on victims.  I think this is a huge mistake.

Children in a congregation, choir or the like, look to their Catholic (or any other) priest as a person of special status and a link to God.  They are regarded as morally correct and essentialy "good".  Imagine what happens when that trust and respect is shattered by sexual abuse.  Lifelong negative impacts on victim's lives result.

Denial and a lack of action by church authorities compound the problem.  The victims are doubly victimised.  Offending priests are moved elsewhere and even promoted, when they should be expelled and put through rehabilitation programs.

The entire Catholic church needs to accept full responsibility for this huge problem and deal with it.  They need to stop blaming the victims, gays, "outsiders", and drop the pretence that in some weird way the "church is the victim".

I think a root cause of the common sexual perversion among Catholic priests is their mandatory celibacy.  As far as I can tell from limited research, the original Catholic priests were not celibate.  The Vatican became concerned around the 10C that priests were accumulating personal wealth and power and drifting away from the influence and direct control of the Vatican.

Their solution to this was to make priests celibate - thereby denying them legitimate offspring - and breaking their ability to accumulate and pass on wealth.  This was dressed up as "interpretations of scripture" with notions of holiness and virtue.

Unfortunately, the reverse has occurred.  The end result in an alarming number of cases worldwide is perversion and sexual abuse.

The Catholic church undoubtedly does a lot of good things in many societies - but this issue threatens to overwhelm them if they don't deal with it and the perpetrators appropriately.   All other churches should take similar action too.  One sexual abuse case is too many.

For the sake of their victims I hope they do so soon.

In the meanwhile, keep your children away from circumstances where celibate priests may have the opportunity to molest them.