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James Sinnamon's blog

On housing affordability

The government-owned Housing Trust of South Australia never cost South Australian taxpayers a cent, yet for decades was able to provide affordable good quality housing to all sectors of South Australian society. Money that would have been unproductively invested in property speculation in the Eastern states was, instead, directed towards establishing viable manufacturing industries in South Australia.

Are nuclear fusion, fission and 'renewables' viable alternatives to fossil fuels?

On top of the hazards of nuclear fission electricity generation, even more environmental threats are posed by mining of uranium, enrichment, reprocessing and disposal of nuclear wastes. A likely consequence of the expansion of uranium mining in Central Australia is that the Eastern seaboard stands to be exposed to clouds bearing poisonous radioactive uranium and other toxic metals blown from the mine tailings dumps (see David Bradbury's film "Blowin' in the wind" for a graphic illustration of this threat).

Environmental consequences of Chinese and Indian growth frankly discused on radio panel discussion

All too many 'discussions' on India and China have in the past have been dominated by innumerate economists with a Cargo Cult mind-set. All we had to do, they would have had us believe, was allow all of our manufacturing industry to be exported to China, export our non-renewable mineral resources and (unsustainably grown) rural produce as well and boundless wealth and prosperity was sure to flow back to us.

Right wing extremist ABC journalists

Of course both Pru Goward and Maxine McKew were right when they stated that journalists should not show their own bias in interviews. However this was not practised in Goward's own carreer in which she blatantly abused her own role as a journalist to promote the political career of John Howard and her own extreme economic 'rationalist' views. Does anyone remember her saturation coverage, night after night, of every development, not matter how trivial, in the long drawn-out struggle between John Howard and Andrew Peacock for leadership of the Federal Liberal Party back in the 1980's? Her interviews often contained questions loaded with her prejudice against unions and in favour of her neo-liberal economic agenda.

Convicted Lockerbie bomber innocent?

A story "'Golfer' tells of plot to lay the blame at Libya's door" in Scotland On Sunday suggests that the Libyan security officer, convicted in 2001 of the 1988 murder of all 259 passengers and crew on Pan-Am flight 103 as well as 11 residents of Lockerbie, may have been innocent after all.

We live in a razor thin band of temperatures

The North Pole is an extremely warm place in the solar system. The Sahara is an extremely cool place in the solar system. We and our fellow life-forms live in a razor thin band of temperatures. We, together with our little blue planet, have enjoyed an almost impossibly improbable existence. What will it take to steer us off this narrow track?

Response to Roger Bezdek Peak Oil interview on "The National Interest"

I think, whilst Roger Bezdek's message, that we need to prepare well in advance for Peak Oil is a good one, I think we need to do so with a much greater sense of urgency. I am surprised that he dismissed the suggestion you put to him that we should cease forthwith the expansion of our road, bridge and airport infrastructure.

The Australian's white-anting of Australian democracy continues

Rupert Murdoch's media empire, since it successfully campaigned to bring down the Whitlam government in 1974 and 1975, has similarly abused its power all over the globe in order to ensure that only governments, whose policies are acceptable to it, will remain in office.

Should Australia force Japan to end protection of its farmers?

"An Island nation like Japan has a right to safeguard supplies of a basic necessity such as food ..."

Telstra closes Maroochydore call centre

The Sunshine Coast Daily reports that Telstra's call center, employing more than 80 employees has been closed as part of Telstra's program to eliminate 12,000 employees over the next five years. This is another example of the ongoing costs that the Australian community are being made to bear fro the privatisation of Telstra. For further information see

13 Dec 2006
By Carolyn Tucker

Telstra's call centre in Maroochydore is no more.

Staff clocked off for the last time at the Beach Road premises yesterday when the ƒsfinal shift ended at 11am ¡V two months after they were notified that the centre would be closed as part of a review of Telstra's operations.

Leadership needed on trees

Julian Kennedy’s article “Development stumped” (Westside News, 8 November) revealed a disappointing lack of civic leadership from both sides of the Brisbane City Council on the importance of planting trees. Our city is growing rapidly in population and is increasing its density through infill and smaller blocks in greenfield areas – steadily reducing public space per person available for outdoor exercise and fitness activities and environmental amenity. Alarmingly, Brisbane is also becoming hotter and drier through climate change.

Trees are critical to protecting our quality of life. We need to value and preserve existing trees and plant many more now where open space is available.

Australia's economy dependent upon extraction of minerals

An article "Axing AWAs to hit resources" in the Business section of the Courier Mail on 21 June 2006 Terry McCann, is frightening for those of us who worry about the future of the planet and the threat that is posed to it by the rapidly increasing rate at which Australia is digging up and exporting its finite endowment of non-renewable mineral resources.

This article in itself probably only restates what has been said many times befor and since in business reporting but it bears repeating here.

The article takes aim at Kim Beazley for his promise to axe all Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), the abolition of which he maintains would destroy the economic viability of Australia's minerals resources industry. Abolition of AWAs, he maintains would remove "the industrial relations flexibility and the productivity of mining and minerals processing workforce."

Blix on Iraq

Hans Blix, the UN weapons inspector from Sweden who pleaded with the US against invading Iraq in 2003, recently stated what must have been at the back of the minds of many of us, that is that neither the US and its allies pulling out of Iraq nor them staying were good options.

"Iraq is a pure failure," Hans Blix, former United Nations chief weapons inspector, told a Danish newspaper last week. "If the Americans pull out, there is a risk that they will leave a country in civil war. At the same time, it doesn't seem that the United States can help to stabilize the situation by staying there." (from The International Herald Tribune, 25 Oct 06)


'Left Wing' ABC bias

Originally posted on John Quiggin's blog on 10 Dec 2005

Crispin wrote : "of course there's left-wing bias in the ABC."

I don't think so. It is 'left wing' in a sense compared to the other newsmedia, but in absolute terms it sits far to the right of what was once considered the middle ground.

Are we approaching the peak of human knowledge?

This is a copy of a post to the Energy Resources mailing list in response to an article by John Horgan The Final Frontier in Discover Magazine of September 2006, which challenges the accepted wisdom that human knowledge can expand forever without limit are included below. To the contrary, the article and the post argue that we stand to lose most of the knowledge we have gained over the past few centuries as our society very likely collapses due to the destruction of our natural capital caused by our industrial system.

Population, immigration, the private property market and housing affordability

This is part of an an ongoing discussion over housing affordability and population growth on Online Opinion in response to an article "A crisis in housing affordability"by Queensland Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett. I am posting here, in part, because of inflexible rules limiting the size and quantity of contibutions on Online Opinion. Other posts can be found here.




Beattie wins Queensland State elections by default

I don't often find myself in agreement with Coalition politicians but Springborg was not too far wide of the mark when he said that the Beattie Labor Government was returned by default. Like the coalition, the Queensland branch of the Labor Party is a party which depends upon donations from property developers and land speculators. This would be the explanation behind most of Beattie's misgovernment of Queensland in the last 10 years, and why would have got no better from the Coaltion if they had won.

It's a shame that Cate Molloy did not win her seat back in the election. Of all the candidates, she deserved most of all to win for having had the courage to defy the Labor Party machine and for having tried to support the best interests of her constituents. Her vote of 23.6% was impressive in the circumstances, but obviously not sufficient.


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