Doctor and activist


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Tag: Government

COVID Day 4- a non-PCR Day

5 January 2022

I did nothing today- it just took longer than usual.

I felt much the same, a sore throat, not much energy, a bit of a headache and bouts of a dry cough. I did not feel like exercise and I thought that I had better try to get a PCR test and some Rapid Antigen tests in case we needed to prove we were not infectious, or had other people who were concerned contacts.

I researched online where the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests were being done. The site I used 2 weeks ago, a 4Cyte drive through test that had taken an hour to do and 3 days and 16 hours to get results from was closed Wed-Friday. It was not clear why this was but the Laverty Pathology group at 60 Waterloo Rd near Macquarie Centre was open till 4pm. I took a novel in case of a long wait and drove there.

As I approached from the google direction cars in the left lane were not moving from the major intersection as far as one could see to the next hill. Many of them had their tail lights on, so I reflected that they were sitting in a line with the engines on. Bad for the environment, but it at least told me that his was the queue. I turned off the engine and started to read. After a while I was wondering why no progress at all was being made, and I thought I might ask if I was under some misapprehension. As I looked up, a pleasant looking woman in her mid-30s got out of the small car ahead, and went to her boot.

I called to her out the window, ‘Is this the PCR test queue?

‘Reckon so’, she said, ‘I’ve brought some snacks to get through it’. She took some biscuits, grapes and a drink and got back in.

We advanced glacially slowly, and I noticed that there was a side road a little way down the queue. Space had been left so cars could go in and out of this side road, but cars had also started to queue there, and of course the two queues merged at the intersection. I had not thought of this until I was nearly at the corner, and I suppose the woman in the car hadn’t either. Some on the side road were shouting abuse or tooting as if we were somehow pushing in to their queue. There were no signs, no guides and nothing online, so it seemed that the only fair thing to do was to take alternate cars. My young friend had recognised this before I had and moved her car across the middle of the side road, so that cars exiting or entering could go in front or behind her, but she could be sure that the side road queued cards did not just push in. There was a cacophony of abuse from the side street.

The queue moved forward a few cars, so I followed her closely, letting one car in as seemed fair. A large 4WD with a man screaming obscenities at me tried to push in, but I kept him out. I wondered if he would get out and make trouble but he did not. The passenger in the car I had let ahead of me had got out and was remonstrating with the woman who had been in front of me. It was tense. I was very glad we were not in America with some people having guns.

We continued our glacial advance, then a car coming in the other direction stopped. The driver stuck his head our and was shouting something to those in the queue ahead of me. I could not hear him, but he did not seem abusive, so as he passed I called to him to ask what he had said. He said, ‘They have closed early; I was second in the queue and they told me to go away’. It seemed likely that he was right, but most people had waited so long that they were not willing to drive off, so we moved quite slowly till everyone had driven past the ‘Closed’ sign that had appeared in the driveway. It was 2pm. The testing site was advertised to be open till 4.

No test and a couple of hours wasted. I have COVID. It is not recorded in the system. It seems that I will recover. Will I waste another few hours tomorrow? And if I do will I have PCR results anyway? I am scheduled to see my patients again 9 days after the onset of symptoms- presumably I will be non-infectious. Luckily I got some RAT kits.

It is not hard to see where anger and frustration comes in all of this.

‘Personal responsibility’ has a very Darwinian edge.

Thank God I am not very sick.

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The Chinese Way

4 January 2022

Everyone want to criticise China as an authoritarian state, but if you stand back and look at how they tackle challenges that we have, there may be lessons to be learned.

There was an interesting show on ABC TV last night hosted by Hamish Macdonald ‘The China Century’, Part 1 of 5.  It looked at the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and their ruthless repression.  But next week it will look at how they have combined capitalism and strong state control.

Competition increase efficiency when it lowers prices, but note in the late stage of ‘laissez faire’ monopolies allow supernormal profits and their political influence puts them above the law.  Sometimes the loss of central control may also mean that a fragmented industry cannot produce state of the art products.  I read some time ago that the US is having a problem producing good fighter planes because the intellectual property is now spread over a number of competing companies, so no one company can be state of the art on all aspects.  A single body controlling the situation would not have this problem.

The other aspect is that the Chinese can write the rules for its industries and not simply assume that whatever makes the most profit in the immediate term is the best place to consume resources.

In Australia, our economy is totally out of whack because the tax concession of negative gearing has meant that everyone has simply invested in real estate as a ‘no brainer’ way of making money. But the rise in prices is in a sense arbitrary.  If a house goes up in price from $100k to a million, it is still the same house.  The difference is that the person who now buys it has $million debt.  The ‘profit’ is someone else’s borrowing.  So at a national level, we have the second highest level of private debt in the world (after Switzerland) and just pay interest to foreign banks.  We also have no money to invest in our productive export industries, or even think about them as real estate is so easy.  We note that developers distort the electoral process and do dodgy deals to get their approvals through, but once it is all done, we wring our hands- nothing can be done. The building stands, and it will all happen again next time.

We watch askance as our regulatory systems fail.  The Banking Royal Commission was initiated by a whistle-blower not the regulator, and nothing much has changed; one banker resignation, no one charged. We saw the Aged Care inquiry, the Casino Inquiry were both whistle-blower initiated as well.  We are up to 4 inquiries into iCare and nothing changes.  We hope that our buildings are OK, as the regulatory system has not been working too well there for about 25 years. 

We note that our rich are getting much richer and our poor poorer, but our government does not want to do much about that.  Hey if you can’t afford a Rapid Antigen Test, you can always wait and see if get sick.  ‘Universal health care’ is a good slogan.

We see our kids getting fatter and more addicted to computer games, but there is not much we can do about that. We are moving to high rise schools as so many were sold off in the 1980s and now there is no space for recreation, and we also saved on sport teachers and made serious exercise optional.

We worry that our electoral system is influenced by fake news, trolls and data analysis companies. We understand that the social media concentrates on putting like people together so they will stay logged in and be available to advertise to. We understand that a shock headline also attracts more interest and controversy, so we are hyper stimulated until we ignore what is important.  Advertising always affected media content towards making people more receptive to the ads and purchasing; social media has now put it on steroids.

The Chinese have taken all this on.  They have put a super tax on rich people and made statements about everyone having a decent life. They have tried to lessen kids times on computers and to increase their exercise. They have taken on social media, and most recently forced a major developer to demolish high rise building because the building permit was illegally obtained.  The developer is a major one, and already in danger of going broke.  Can anyone image this happening in Australia or the US? 

Many problems  in the world are universal, and watching what a truly authoritarian government can do is interesting. We have the contrast of our governments, that seem to want to be as small as possible and not even acknowledge problems, and theirs which seems to testing the limits of power.  We may not want to do it ourselves, but if we ever decide to do anything, it will be helpful to have information on the outcome of the range of possible actions.

Here is an article about Evergrande, the Chinese property developer which is going broke and now had to demolish significant assets.  It was in the SMH, from Bloomberg. 

Next Monday on ABC TV at 8.30pm the second article on China, considering its use of the combination of capitalism and central control.

China’s Evergrande halts trading after ordered to tear down apartments

By Jan Dahinten

January 3, 2022 — 3.29pm

Chinese developer shares tumbled following local media reports that China Evergrande Group has been ordered to tear down apartment blocks in a development in Hainan province. Evergrande halted trading in its shares.

An index of Chinese developer shares slumped 2.8 per cent as of 11.37 a.m. local time, with Sunac China Holdings and Shimao Group Holdings plunging more than 10 per cent. A local government in Hainan told Evergrande to demolish 39 buildings in 10 days because the building permit was illegally obtained, news wire Cailian reported on Saturday.

Evergrande gave no details on the trading suspension other than saying it would make an announcement containing inside information.

The government of Danzhou, a prefecture-level city in the southern Chinese province of Hainan, asked Evergrande to tear down 39 illegal buildings in 10 days, Cailian reported on Sunday, citing a document from the local government.

The report cited the document, which was dated December 30, as saying that the Danzhou government said an illegally obtained permit for the buildings had been revoked so the buildings need to be dismantled.

Evergrande didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment and calls to Danzhou authorities went unanswered on a public holiday in China on Monday.

The company on Friday dialed back payment plans on billions of dollars of overdue wealth management products as its liquidity crisis showed little sign of easing.

Property firms have mounting bills to pay in January and shrinking options to raise necessary funds. The industry will need to find at least $US197 billion ($271 billion) to cover maturing bonds, coupons, trust products and deferred wages to millions of migrant workers, according to Bloomberg calculations and analyst estimates.

Beijing has urged builders like China Evergrande Group to meet payrolls by month-end in order to avoid the risk of social unrest.

Contracted sales for 31 listed developers fell 26 per cent in December from a year earlier, according to Citigroup Inc. analysts. Evergrande’s sales dropped 99 per cent, the analysts wrote in a note dated Sunday.

Bloomberg

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Scientific Fraud

29 December 2021

I have friends who campaign for various things, sometimes quite alone for many years.

One of my friends is Polish.  He was part of the dissident movement when Solidarity was trying to end the Communist system.  While the Government was forced to negotiate with Lech Walesa, the Secret Police were busy and the second tier of activists and sympathisers simply disappeared overnight, so he spent quite a lot of time moving around.  He learned English and studied industrial hygiene, the safe use of chemicals in industry, so that he would have a qualification that was useful and recognised when he escaped to the West, which he eventually did. 

But he retained an interest in Poland and noted that some of the researchers there simply translated English papers, changed them very marginally, passed off the plagiarism as their original work, and became professors based on their great advances.  When the various academies were informed, they did not really want to know, as it disturbed their internal structures and was also something of an insult to national pride.

So he has spent years campaigning against scientific fraud, both there and here. 

There are other problems that grossly distort research.  No one really wants to publish negative findings; new discoveries are much more exciting than finding that stuff was wrong.  Also private research is much more interested in funding work that will produce a marketable product, and research that shows a drug works or is better than another.  The government has got into this mode also, wanting ‘partnerships with the private sector’ that will allow them to defray the research costs. This has arguably meant that the private sector tends to have a lot of say in what is studied, gets the government to pay for areas that it might not have bothered with, and can also grab lucrative patents early.  In this competitive environment, researchers have to find funding, and there is not much money in repeating experiments to disprove them.

Some research needs thousands of subjects to see which investigations or drugs are the most useful so that treatment protocols can be developed. Naturally these require huge coordination between many hospitals, health authorities and clinicians.  They require huge budgets. They offer big rewards if a certain investigation or treatment is shown to be beneficial and is included in the final recommendation of a huge trial.  The lead authors will travel the world for years as the definitive experts in that field with all the prestige that that entails.  Yet, as clinicians tied up with clinical work and often departments to administer, they cannot personally manage the logistics or the data and usually rely on ghost writers to put the drafts together.  Who funds that you might ask?  And what are the consequences if the funding company’s products do not work so well?  Will the professor who said it did not work get funding next time?

There is even a whole scam industry of dodgy or even non-existent  journals where you pay to be published or to be a supposed reviewer of papers.

So the pure idea that scientists are only interested in the truth and have no personal or financial interest was never true and has been under even more stress of late. 

Just as self-regulation in banking, aged care, casinos, building, advertising and many other industries has been shown to be inadequate, now scientific publishing is coming under the public spotlight.

The world of academia is more poorly set up than most industries to act as policeman. Evidence is evaluated in good faith.  Universities are expected to fund their courses from fees and donations so they are less in a position to take action that may be expensive and may damage their reputations.

Now, at last, the Australian Academy of Sciences has asked for a research integrity watchdog. This will help with deliberate individual fraud.

How much it can affect the other biasing factors in research remains to be seen.  The political and economic factors are likely to remain in the ‘too hard basket’.  It is still hard to know what the truth is.  Gut feelings about plausibility are of course ‘unscientific’ and what you ‘believe’ at a point of time is supposed to relate to what the ‘facts’ are.  And all this without social media even considered.

On the bright side, my Polish friend will see a significant step for his campaign, and if regulatory oversight replaces one lot of self-regulation there is hope that it will spread to other industries.

www.smh.com.au/national/macquarie-university-considers-investigating-suspected-research-fraud-20211214-p59hfr.html

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Pork Barrelling Works- it probably determined the 2019 Federal Election .

December 28 2021

There has been a lot of publicity lately about pork-barrelling by the Liberal party prior to the last election.

This is based on some excellent research by Shane Wright and Katina Curtis of the SMH (16/12/21), who went through grants that were at Minister’s discretion. They were worth $2.8 billion;  $1.9 billion went to Liberal electorates and $530 million to Labor.  The numbers do not add up exactly as some grants were hard to classify, being given to organisations that spanned different electorates. 

But if you take the money that has clear electorates, it is $1.9 v.$0.53 billion, which means that Liberal: Labor is 78% to 22%.  But it is even worse than that because $58.5 million and $55.2 million (21% of Labor’s national total) went to Lyons and Corangamite, which were seats the Liberals hoped to win. 

Lindsay, the NSW seat around Penrith got $23.1 million and was the only seat in NSW won by the Libs from Labor in the 2019 election. That number did not even count the $55 million in promised commuter car parks. The adjacent 3 Labor-held seats Chifley, McMahon and Werriwa with similar demographics got $5.9 million between them.

In Melbourne 4 Labor seats received less than $1million, while 3 vulnerable Liberal sears received an average of over $15 million each.

In my own electorate, which is safe Liberal against Labor, but had independent Ted Mack for some years, our local ‘moderate’ Trent Zimmermann still always votes on the Party line, just like the most rabid right wingers. He produces a lot of brochures with his ‘electoral allowance’ (which you paid for) and mentions many small organisations and the grants to them that he was responsible for. So even if we don’t like ‘pork-barrelling’ we can be glad that our local member is doing a great job. The idea is that we have a disconnect between criticising pork-barrelling at a general level, and voting Liberal at a local level; smart eh?

It si extremely likely that this degree of pork-barrelling determined the 2019 election, which the Liberals won by one seat, so we have corruption at a very significant level.  It is interesting that the Nine Group, SMH and Age, have produced this material more than 2 years after the election and as we look to the next election.  Had this been available immediately after the 2019 election perhaps Labor would have had another reason for their loss and not blamed it all on stating some policies, and then responding by having no policies that could be criticised since.

No doubt the same pork-barrel literature will keep coming in our electorate where the ‘Voices of North Sydney’ Independent, Kylea Tink may threaten Trent Zimmerman.

The only solution is to have a strong public service that is given transparent guidelines as to where money should be spent, and that their recommendations should be made public and not subject to any ministerial discretion.  It won’t happen without a lot of public interest and pressure.  

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‘Government Responsibility’ is needed, not just ‘Personal Responsibility’.

22 December 2021

The huge, systemic and ongoing cop-out approach of the Federal and now the NSW State governments seems to be based on the hubristic belief that governments can set the agenda and influence the media to the extent of creating a perceived reality conducive to their interest. This is often successful, as the news becomes ‘What Mr Morrison did or said today.’

The narrative is changed slightly, so unless you are watching carefully, it always seems OK.

As in Animal Farm, ‘You may not sleep in a bed with sheets’. People did not remember the ‘with sheets’ bit of the slogan, but, hey, you do forget things.

But neoliberalism likes to stress individual responsibility. It allows small government, which advantages bigger players who can move into monopoly positions in an unregulated situation. It allows governments to have the perks and trappings without having to do too much as not much is expected these days.

The Federal public service is actually too small to do much except tell the States what they should do, and even this function is increasingly left to the politicians and their minders, those ambitious political science (or mainly art-law) graduates (with no scientific expertise). Hence the need for the Army when anything actually needs to be done.

But the key aspects of the current policy of getting rid of masks, social distancing restrictions, QR codes, and limits on people numbers in groups is a foolish populism and an assumption that business will do better if commerce returns to normal. This is right out of the IPA playbook.  ‘Let ‘er rip and if a few oldies and sickies die off, that is the price of society continuing’.

It also has the advantage that nothing is the government’s fault any more. If the omicron variant gets out of control, that is obviously because it is so infectious and out of the Government’s control. If the population choose not to go out to protect themselves and the businesses go broke, that is not their fault, they opened everything up (and also saved a motza by not having any more pesky jobkeeper or jobseeker payments).

To say that this non-strategy will not work is to understate the situation. We managed to control the situation when there was no vaccine. Now that there is, the governments wants to throw away all public health norms for infectious disease and rely on vaccination alone. This has conspicuously not worked in Europe.  Look at the Daily Case histograms (see link below) for Denmark, the UK, France, Spain and Italy. It seems that Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have managed to begin to turn around the latest spike, but I have not researched their latest policy changes. Israel, largely triple-vaxxed is doing better. The US has a rising spike- it will be interesting what happens with their poorly vaccinated population.

But there is no need to look overseas.  The Australian graph is already rocketing up with new highs reached every weekday.  We are not triple-vaxxed and now there is another vaccine shortage.  NSW yesterday was responsible for 3763 of the national total of 5724 (66%) and the percentage is rising.  So Perrottet is as bad as Morrison.  (Figures from covid19data.com.au).

Individuals cannot protect themselves when the virus is everywhere unless they become hermits, and even then they will have trouble getting fed.  It needs mass action. It is a public health problem that needs government action. This is so obvious that it is extraordinary that it should even need to be stated.  But our governments have reached such a low level of effectiveness that we are in grave danger.  The Lucky Country is about to squander its advantages yet again.  We can only hope that the National Cabinet meeting is the platform for a national about face. 

Please protect yourselves and try to get the governments to see reason.

May be a cartoon of ‎one or more people, people standing, suit and ‎text that says "‎We're هll about taking personal responsibility And if this approach turns out to be disaster? Then you'll have only yourselves to blame. wikak‎"‎‎
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Australia at Glasgow COP26

4 November 2021

Just when you think it could not get any worse- it does.  There has been relatively little about Australia’s appearance and presentation at the Glasgow climate summit and the reaction to it; the media being preoccupied with the fact that President Macron of France called Scott Morrison a liar, and chasing abducted Cleo Smith in WA. 

Australia has had a SANTOS  stall at its exhibition at the Glasgow Climate Summit.  Santos is spruiking its carbon capture and storage, subsidised by guess who?  You and me as taxpayers, facilitated by Energy Minister Angus Taylor who is charged up with a $2.3 million donation from Santos to the Liberal Party.

Carbon capture is a complete nonsense. Coal is more or less solid carbon. To do some basic chemistry, a mole of carbon weighs 12gm and occupies 5.3 cubic centimetres. When it combines with oxygen it weighs 44gm and becomes CO2, a gas which takes up 22.4 litres which is 22,400 cubic centimetres or 422.6 times the volume of the original carbon at atmospheric pressure.  To capture the CO2, and then compress and store it will almost certainly take more energy than was released in burning it.  To halve the volume of a gas, you have to double the pressure, which takes 101 Joules of energy per litre per atmosphere.  The carbon dioxide is also able to penetrate barriers, such as going through solid concrete, and the sites suggested for the carbon storage are at 31 degrees, when carbon dioxide does not become a solid until minus 78 degrees.  So the whole process cannot be economic or sensible, and no ‘technology’ will make it so.

Everything in the above paragraph is high school chemistry, so no great knowledge is required here.  Only those venal or wilfully ignorant can dispute this. How the myth of Carbon Capture and Storage can still be peddled is beyond belief, excepting the explanation attributed to Napoleon, ‘In politics, absurdity is no impediment’.

The fact that Australia could have a Santos stall in its display in Glasgow shows the extent to which the Morrison government is willing to make us an international laughing stock for the sake of their $23 million, not to mention the subsidies, the greenhouse effects and the delays caused by this policy.

The other quote that seems apposite is Greta Thunberg’s, ‘Blah, blah, blah’.

www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/nov/03/australia-puts-fossil-fuel-company-front-and-centre-at-cop26?fbclid=IwAR3x1hmLa5dbh7nJ8i_IFx8PyZEAyzSIuIeJVMQOlZfLQfY0-nt9wXE1Wgs

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31% of JobKeeper recipients checked were ‘not eligible’

3 October 2021

As we all wonder at the level of corporate rather than individual fraud, a Federal review of JobKeeper found that 31% of recipients who triggered compliance checks were ‘not eligible at all’.  This was after a survey of 13% of the recipient companies.

The ATO seems reluctant to say who they were or how much. 31% of the recipients may not mean 31% of the $89 billion given out. 

Only $194 million has been repaid (which is around 0.2%) of the total payout.

The Government response contrasts starkly when compared to the amount of attention that went to Robodebt, where welfare recipients received relatively small amounts of money.  The ATO is very concerned about the confidentiality of Tax records, but this is not tax records, it is money given out.

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Victorian Government Bites the Bullet and Mandates Vaccination

22 September 2021

At last!  A government that does the sensible thing.  The Victorian government will only open up if people are vaccinated.  Thanks to NSW the Delta variant genie is out of the bottle and spreading nationwide.  Business wants to unlock, some with no care for anyone but themselves.

Victoria wants to unlock but minimise spread among those now having more interpersonal contacts.  The R (Reproduction) number is the number of cases each case infects.  If everyone is vaccinated, less people will get it and those who have it will get it to less people.

Reasonable medical opinion is that the risks of vaccine are massively less than the risks of getting COVID, so the case against vaccination is incredibly weak on medical grounds.  The ‘right not to have your body violated’ etc sounds very dramatic, and makes vaccination equivalent to rape in a semantic sense.   But in a practical sense the two concepts are as far apart as could be.  One is sensible medicine and the other is a crime.

Anyone who thinks that this does not matter should look at the graph of NSW cases that has peaked and is just starting to fall.  Anything that can flatten the curve or make it fall is good. Anything that makes it rise is creating deaths and misery.

I am a member of the Council for Civil Liberties and have spent years working against excess government power. But sometimes it is necessary to act for the common good.  I have no time for smokers’ rights or the right to spread disease.  The Morrison government is as usual missing in action when real leadership is needed.  ‘Let every workplace decide’, is a nightmare for retail business owners, offices and just about every other employer. Gladys is similarly missing.  Dan Andrews has stepped up, despite a motley crew in the streets spreading disease and demanding the right to continue to do so.

What of the Health System?  We are going the way of the Americans by stealth, and the fact that the public system is what has helped us survive is being glossed over, hidden  by subsidies to private hospitals. The Federal government has been quietly trying to kill public medicine for years. The Medicare rebate has fallen from 85% of the AMA rate to 45%, so for the same bulk-billing work doctors incomes have almost halved over 35 years, while subsidies to the inefficient Private Health Insurers continue.  Being a GP is now a little-sought speciality.  (I have a FB page- Fix Medicare that I spend too little time on).

The States have maintained the public hospitals at a minimal level, as all the lucrative work has been siphoned off by the private system basically doing the easy stuff.  There is No slack in the system, not that counting the number of ICU beds should factor.  All our efforts should be to keep people out of Hospital and ICU by prevention of infection. 

Have a look at this article on the anti-discrimination aspects of mandatory vaccination, and also look at the NSW cases, just turning down, but likely to rise if anything, like opening up from lockdown, tips the balance.

www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/here-s-why-no-jab-no-entry-is-not-discrimination-20210920-p58t2v.html?fbclid=IwAR2jrbfGJsq6fD-J-unnAn12j9UyWvdk-do5BpE23bI0z0gQ8kknq5nc39c

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An OECD Analysis of the Federal Government’s Policies

16 September 2021

This is a good and reasonably comprehensive article in The Guardian where the OECD looks at Australia with some interesting graphs and international comparisons. 

The OECD also wants to review the role of the Reserve Bank.  One might comment that the Reserve Bank might have more power in other countries and the OECD might either think it has more power here, or is pushing for it to have such. The RBA here had traditionally kept out of politics, finally made some very sensible comments and been roundly ignored.

www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2021/sep/15/australias-climate-failures-are-costing-its-economy-and-scott-morrisons-government-is-being-blamed?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other&fbclid=IwAR0HPjSa-z0Esu7GklbLRl3IrvAzJnjsBdMNX7VhWFbCcOsNbNBTYGpZO2U

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Uncontested Grants for NT Gas Exploration Despite Court Proceedings in Progress

15 September 2021

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt gave $20 million for gas exploration for fracking in the Betaloo Basin in an uncontested grant.  The grant was to Empire Energy that donates to both major parties, but seems to prefer the Liberals as they flew Energy Minister Angus Taylor and Liberal fundraiser, Ryan Arrold around the NT site (Guardian 20/8/21). 

The Betaloo Basin is in the centre of the Northern Territory, and the grant application was the subject of Court proceedings brought by the Environmental Centre (NT) and the Environmental Defenders Office.  It seems that undertakings were given not to give the grants, but they went ahead despite the assurances given to the Court.  The Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) said somewhat lamely that they can only do what their clients say.  The Resources Minister, Keith Pitt was criticised by the Federal Court judge, Justice John Griffiths, but it seems that this will make no difference either to the outcome or to the Minister’s career.  Presumably the idea that he would be charged with contempt of court is fantasy.

We seem to have reached the point of a third world country where the Government gives whatever it likes to its mates and due process is a distant memory.

Labor might be marginally better, but the benchmark has now been set very low.  Companies are becoming accustomed to governments bending to their will and will be reluctant to leave the ‘new norm’.  The only answer is a Swiss-style democracy with referenda as the main source of power and citizens able to overturn government decisions.  We need proportional representation and an end to the two-party duopoly so that all decisions are made on the floor of the parliament, not in back-room deals.  This will take a change to the Constitution, but this well overdue in any case, and we might as well do a thorough job of it.  The Swiss also have provisions to change their constitution without a fuss.

www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/14/no-satisfactory-explanation-court-blasts-keith-pitt-over-grant-agreement-with-gas-company?fbclid=IwAR3v_4oGwTWFkiQ2xYp_l9Mjw2alDLARFN_St8hwoDbEp_MRup44fFbfXaU

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