Steyn kicks Springboks to narrow victory

January 12th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

A last-minute penalty by fly-half Morne Steyn sealed an unimpressive 22-17 win for South Africa over Argentina Saturday in a scrappy Rugby Championship Test.


After a humiliating 60-point defeat in Soweto last weekend, the passionate Pumas were the better side in chilly Mendoza for much of the match and led until eight minutes from time.

Steyn slotted two penalties in the closing minutes to keep South Africa top of the table — level on nine points with New Zealand but ahead on points difference.

South Africa started with the same side that won 73-13 in the first round while Argentina made five changes and still lacked injured skipper and No. 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

Desperate to put the huge loss behind them, the Pumas made a fiery start and were ahead within two minutes when flanker Juan Martin Leguizamon dived over in the corner.

The veteran took the ball after a line-out near the try-line, burst into the short side and swivelled past several Springboks to dot the ball down with centre Felipe Contepomi converting.

Argentina were struggling in the early scrums and South African pressure earned a penalty on nine minutes which ace goal-kicker Steyn placed between the posts.

Within two minutes a far more fired-up Pumas side than that of last weekend regained a seven-point advantage as veteran Contepomi kicked a penalty.

But South Africa drew level on 15 minutes as Steyn converted from the touchline a try by left-wing Bjorn Basson in the left corner at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas.

After brave defending repelled several Springbok attempts to score in the right corner, Argentina failed to clear and the visitors passed along the backline for Basson to sprint over.

Juandre Kruger went over the try-line soon after only for the score to be disallowed because fellow lock Eben Etzebeth had knocked on in an aerial duel.

South Africa opted to kick for touch a penalty well within the range of Steyn and Argentina drove the green and gold back to leave the visitors questioning their decision.

A Contepomi penalty drifted to the right from in front of the posts, but Argentina were back in front on 37 minutes when centre Marcelo Bosch dived over near the posts.

Patient multi-phase Pumas pressure took them within a few metres of the line and Bosch drove between centre JJ Engelbrecht and prop Jannie du Plessis for a try Contepomi converted.

Steyn narrowed the gap to four points in first-half stoppage time by kicking his second penalty and four minutes after half-time he repeated the feat to leave just one point between the sides.

With Contepomi replaced by Santiago Fernandez, Bosch took over as goal kicker and was not far off target with a long-range attempt midway through the second half.

With 20 minutes to go it was 17-16 to Argentina — a far cry from seven days ago when the Springboks ran in nine tries for a record Rugby Championship victory.

But eight minutes from time South Africa gained the lead for the first time as prop Marcos Ayerza collapsed a maul and Steyn maintained his 100 per cent kicking record from the penalty.

Another Steyn penalty one minute into additional time sealed success for the Springboks, who trooped off knowing they will play better in future and lose.

Rudd, Abbott back Lib candidate over gaffe

January 12th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd don’t agree on much, especially during an election campaign.


But they were united on Tuesday in sympathy for Liberal candidate Jaymes Diaz.

Both men leapt to Mr Diaz’s defence after he was left red-faced in a television interview on Monday night.

In the five-minute interview, the Liberals’ hope in the west Sydney seat of Greenway is unable to detail the coalition’s six-point asylum plan.

“The key point would be stopping the boats where safe to do so,” is Mr Diaz’s best reply to questioning from Network Ten’s John Hill.

Mr Abbott was quick to defend his candidate over the interview, which has since gone viral on YouTube.

“I’m afraid it happens to all of us from time to time,” he told ABC radio in Sydney.

He said an occasional gaffe was just part of being in politics.

“Inevitably, a very experienced and slightly aggressive journalist shoves a microphone in your face and starts barking at you and it is possible to freeze,” he said.

“I’ve done it myself.”

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, too, was in Mr Diaz’s corner.

“I understand the Liberal candidate for Greenway had a few challenges yesterday. I’m sure some of ours will at some stage or another,” Mr Rudd told reporters in the Queensland seat of Griffith.

“That’s just life in an electoral campaign. If you’ve been through as many as I have you’ve seen anything happen.”

Mr Diaz, a local family lawyer, is running against Labor’s Michelle Rowland, who holds Greenway on 0.9 per cent.

Mr Diaz did not return AAP’s calls.

Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said although it was the first gaffe of the 2013 campaign, it wouldn’t be the last.

“I think anyone who’s never made a mistake ever is entitled to have a go,” he told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

But he said it was important that politicians were able to support the policy of their party.

“Particularly when there’s not much there to support,” he added.

“This person’s been a candidate before of course.

“He was chosen by the Liberal Party last time around, they’ve selected him again, they obviously think he’s one of their best.”

The coalition needs a swing of just 0.9 per cent to claim the seat from Labor MP Michelle Rowland, making it the most marginal in NSW.

SKorea facing power crisis

January 12th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

South Korea has ordered government offices to turn off their air-conditioning as two power plants stopped operations, a day after a minister warned of an imminent national energy crisis.


The Dangjin III plant, with a capacity of 500,000 kilowatts, was taken offline by mechanical issues and will likely remain shut for a week, a spokesman for the state power distributor Korea Power Exchange (KPE) said on Monday.

Technical problems also shut down the nearby Seocheon power plant on Monday morning.

Although operations resumed after an hour, the plant is only working at half its 200,000-kilowatt capacity, the spokesman said.

The timing could hardly be worse, with South Korea in the grip of an extended heatwave and a lengthy disruption in its nuclear power sector.

“We are facing potentially our worst power crisis,” Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-Jick said on Sunday.

“We may have to carry out a rolling blackout … if one single power plant goes out of operation,” Yoon said, appealing to factories, households and shops to curb consumption over the next three days.

The last time the government was forced to resort to nationwide load shedding was in September 2011, when unexpectedly high demand pushed power reserves to their lowest level in decades.

If national reserves drop below 2.0 million kilowatts, it triggers an automatic alert requiring all government offices to turn off air conditioners, lights and any non-essential devices.

In a pre-emptive move on Monday, the energy ministry ordered such measures effective immediately, even though the key reserve mark had not been breached.

Describing the current situation as “extremely urgent”, the ministry also ordered government offices to turn off water coolers and staff to use staircases where possible, rather than elevators.

The ministry added it would tighten monitoring on shopping malls, which face fines for bringing indoor temperatures below 26 degrees Celsius.

Higher than normal summer temperatures – forecast to last at least another week – have resulted in a sustained energy consumption spike.

At the same time, South Korea’s nuclear industry is struggling to emerge from a mini crisis which has forced the shutdown of numerous reactors – either for repair or as the result of a scandal over forged safety certificates.

The country has 23 reactors which are meant to meet more than 30 per cent of electricity needs. Currently six reactors are out of operation.

Israel, Palestinians meet for peace talks

July 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have met in Jerusalem for a new round of direct peace talks after a three-year break, as pessimism ran deep on both sides.


There was no confirmation from Israeli or Palestinian officials who were maintaining a news blackout on details of the encounter late on Wednesday.

Palestinian officials had earlier told AFP that negotiators would meet in the prestigious King David hotel, but reports in Haaretz newspaper and on Israeli public radio did not name the location.

The meeting has been overshadowed by Israeli plans to build thousands of new homes for Jewish settlers on land which the Palestinians claim for their promised future state.

Israel freed 26 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday but also pledged to keep up the pace of settlement building on occupied land.

Those released from jail were the first batch of 104 prisoners, most of whom had been serving life terms for killing Israelis, who are to be freed in stages depending on progress in the talks.

But as Palestinians celebrated the releases, Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel cast a pall over proceedings.

“We will build thousands of homes in the coming year in Judaea and Samaria,” Ariel told public radio, using the biblical Hebrew term for the West Bank.

“No one dictates where we can build … This is just the first course.”

His remarks came as the negotiating teams readied for the talks, the result of efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who convened an initial meeting between the sides in Washington on July 30.

The last round of direct peace talks broke down just weeks after they were launched in September 2010 in a bitter row over settlements.

Debutant Taylor eager to put youthful lessons into practice

July 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

Taylor, who was not even born when his father Warwick played in the victorious 1987 World Cup All Blacks team, was named on Thursday to make his debut at flyhalf for the national side at Wellington Regional Stadium.


Past, current and present All Blacks used to drop by the Taylor house when Tom was growing up, helping him with his game, passing on tips and letting him know what it took to wear the black jersey.

“I suppose it is a little bit different but for me it was just normal to have ex-All Blacks or current All Blacks coming into the house and mucking around with Dad,” Taylor told reporters on Thursday.

“I suppose I was lucky to have those people around me to help me or make me feel comfortable.”

Taylor was thrust into the starting role after he was called into the squad earlier this week following injuries to Dan Carter (calf), Aaron Cruden (knee) and Beauden Barrett (calf).

It was not the first time he had been called up at the last minute. Last year he was summoned from a holiday in Thailand to join the All Blacks in Britain as injury cover but did not play.

Taylor was something of a left field pick ahead of 10-test All Black Colin Slade by coach Steve Hansen on Thursday, having not played flyhalf this season with Carter and Tyler Bleyendaal occupying the number 10 jersey at the Canterbury Crusaders.

Instead, he spent the majority of the season at inside centre, although he also played at fullback for the seven-times Super Rugby champions.

The 24-year-old has spent most of his life playing flyhalf and the utility value was forced upon him at the Crusaders if he wanted to play at all, he said.

“It’s only been the last couple of years that I have played in the midfield but that’s just to get on the field,” he said. “I’m just happy to be playing to be honest.”

Taylor’s goalkicking and maturity had been the “swinger” in deciding to allow the uncapped 24-year-old to run the gauntlet in his first test against Australia, Hansen said.

“He’s got the skill-set to play there and played there a bit before. At the camps he has slotted in at 12 and 13 and at 10 on occasions.

“So he understood what we were trying to do with our patterns, he’s just come in seamlessly.

“We think he has got the maturity and mental ability to cope with what we’re asking him to do.

“Perhaps his biggest swinger was that he kicks goals at about 90 percent and we think that’s important.”

Taylor had contacted his mother late on Wednesday to tell her he had made the starting side, but his teacher father was away on a school ski trip and uncontactable by mobile phone.

“I think he gets back Friday afternoon,” Taylor said with a grin. “I was talking to Mum and she sent him a letter through one of the other staff members (because) … there’s no cell phone reception.”

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Stylish Saints caught snoozing angers boss Pochettino

July 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

Always dangerous flooding forward, and with new record signing Italy striker Dani Osvaldo showing enough to suggest he will be a massive handful for defenders this season, their possession and flair so nearly counted for nothing after a sluggish start at St Mary’s Stadium that left manager Mauricio Pochettino frustrated.


The match was only three minutes old when Southampton’s defenders stood motionless watching an unremarkable Sunderland corner float to the far post. Emanuele Giaccherini had no-one to beat, nobody to outjump and he glanced his header past Artur Boruc to rock the Saints.

“We were asleep in the first three minutes — it is not acceptable and I take responsibility for it,” Saints’ Argentine manager Pochettino said at St Mary’s.

“It was disappointing to concede that goal so early on. The team really felt that and was in shock after that.”

Certainly it was a wake-up for the snoozing Saints and they set about Sunderland with renewed vigour, Victor Wanyama owning the midfield in a physical fashion.

They put the visitors under siege but Paolo Di Canio’s men held firm despite the trickery of Osvaldo, who featured for the whole second half, the early pace of Luke Shaw, the persistence of Rickie Lambert and the battering-ram runs of Jay Rodriguez.

There were only two minutes left on the clock, and the stadium was starting to empty, when Jose Fonte rose to glance a header past Keiren Westwood from a James Ward-Prowse free kick to hand Saints a well-deserved share of the spoils.

“If you look at the chances we created we deserved to win the match but games are not won by chances made but goals scored,” Pochettino said. “I am a bit disappointed because our goal was to get three points. If you analyse the 94 or 95 minutes overall we fully deserved to win that match.

“We just have to learn from the situation and we need to be aware that in football you can’t give anything away to your opposition. This is a big wake up call for it not to happen again.”

Di Canio was disappointed not to take all three points back to the North-East after his smash-and-grab, but knew he had done well to escape with anything given the possession.

“We were leading at 1-0 but another set play cost us two points. It was a cheap free kick but 1-1 is more than acceptable,” he said.

“We have to be honest, Southampton deserved to win this game because they played better.

“This is a tough league, we all know that, but we have time to improve. However, one point away from home against a fantastic side is a good result.”

Southampton, with a win and a draw from their opening two games, sit fourth in the top flight while Sunderland, with one point, lie 15th.

Chelsea and Liverpool, both on two wins from two, are first and second.

(Editing by Rex Gowar)

Southland leaders rejoice at smelter deal

July 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

Southland leaders say they are delighted at an electricity deal which has secured the immediate future of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter and some 3200 New Zealand jobs.


Meridian Energy on Thursday announced it had agreed on a new electricity deal with New Zealand Aluminium Smelters after lengthy negotiations, a deal which includes a $NZ30 million ($A26.83 million) payment from the government.

The smelter was seeking a smaller electricity price because it had been losing money as the international aluminium price has fallen and the value of the New Zealand dollar has risen.

The lack of a deal threatened the jobs of 800 people directly employed and a further 2400 contractors and suppliers whose livelihoods indirectly depended on the smelter.

Southland Mayor Frana Cardno says the smelter is worth about $520m to Southland and the deal is vital for the region.

“Southland has lost so much and this would have been incredibly negative if we had suddenly lost this industry,” she told NZ Newswire.

“We can’t afford to lose these industries.”

Labour and the Greens have said the deal wouldn’t be necessary if the government wasn’t planning to sell off 49 per cent of Meridian Energy as part of its partial privatisation deal, but Ms Cardno was pleased at the government’s intervention.

“It’s good that they’ve looked at the regions and seen the importance of keeping these industries and employment,” she said.

“There always can be another side of the story and I guess it’s very important for Meridian and this whole deal, but we’ve got to think of what’s good for our province and for our people at this time.”

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, whose constituency includes Tiwai Point, said the deal was great news.

“I think it will give huge confidence to a lot of people. There will be a huge sigh of relief and a lot more confidence in the city in general,” he told the Southland Times.

No place for sexism: Rudd on Abbott gaffe

July 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Tony Abbott would find himself in serious strife if he made his “sex appeal” comments in the workplace.


On his first trip to the key marginal Sydney seat of Lindsay on Tuesday, the opposition leader was asked how Liberal candidate Fiona Scott compared with predecessor Jackie Kelly.

“They’re young, they’re feisty and, I think I can probably say, have a bit of sex appeal,” he told reporters.

Mr Rudd says the comments were “pretty odd”.

“If any male employer stood up in a workplace anywhere in Australia, and pointing to a female staff member, said this person is a good staff member because they’ve got sex appeal …

“I think the employer would be finding themselves in serious strife,” he told reporters in Cairns.

Mr Rudd said there was no place in modern Australia for racism, homophobia or sexism.

But Mr Abbott dismissed the gaffe as a “dad moment”.

“Look, as the kids said to me I had a dad moment, a daggy dad moment maybe,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

Ms Scott also sought to downplay the comment on Wednesday, telling Macquarie Radio it was a “charming compliment”.

Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said the gaffe gave a glimpse into the opposition leader’s views on women.

“I wasn’t altogether surprised and nor were many Australian women, I suspect,” she told ABC radio.

“This is consistent with some of the views Mr Abbott has expressed over many, many years.”

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said it was an “entirely trivial” matter and it was time to move on.

“I think there are things that matter much more to the Australian people that we should be dealing with,” he said.

Taylor succumbs to NZ’s five eighth curse

June 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

The All Blacks’ five-eighth curse has claimed a fourth victim, with rookie Tom Taylor sidelined for three weeks by a rib injury.


Taylor suffered the injury late in New Zealand’s 27-16 win over Australia in Wellington on Saturday after making an assured debut.

He will miss New Zealand’s next two Tests in the Rugby Championship, against Argentina in Hamilton on September 7 and against South Africa in Auckland a week later.

Taylor’s memorable week threatens to be consigned as a footnote in All Blacks history, with a number of playmakers higher up the pecking order due to return from injury.

The 24-year-old was a surprise selection as the fourth-choice No.10 following injuries to Test great Dan Carter (calf) and the two players used in the opening defeat of Australia in Sydney – Aaron Cruden (knee) and Beauden Barrett (calf).

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says Carter and Barrett are expected to be fit for the Argentina Test, although Colin Slade – who came off the reserve bench in Wellington – will go to Hamilton as cover.

It is a disappointing outcome for Taylor, who spoke of his satisfaction at a performance which produced 14 points with the boot and few errors in general play.

He was in obvious pain but unaware of the extent of his injury.

“It hasn’t been a normal week but I tried my best,” he said.

“I’ve been dreaming about rugby all week and trying to memorise all the moves. Once I was out there, it felt pretty good.”

Elsewhere, Hansen said prop Owen Franks had injured his groin, meaning extra front row cover is likely to be needed in Hamilton.

Inside centre Ma’a Nonu was playing with a painful ankle and needs a scan, while Liam Messam was “touch and go” to return from a hamstring injury to face Argentina.

No new savings needed for company tax cut, Abbott says

June 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

By Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Tony Abbott says his $5 billion company tax relief can be paid for out of the $17 billion cuts he has already announced, but the government is conjuring up a bigger, broader GST being needed under a Coalition government.


As Labor focused on the GST, Abbott quickly declared the Coalition has “no plans whatsoever” to alter it, and also pointed out changes could not be made without consent from the states.

But it does have plans for a review of Australia’s tax system, that would undoubtedly see consideration of the GST, which many experts believe should be increased in its rate or scope or both to help deal with long term revenue problems.

The opposition says any proposed tax reforms coming out of that review would be taken to a subsequent election. But Abbott won’t be drawn into speculation about what a Coalition might do on the GST in a second term. “I am focused on winning a first term. I am not getting ahead of myself,” he said.

Abbott said his 1.5% company tax cut, starting July 1, 2015, would offset the levy on about 3000 large companies for the paid parental leave scheme and benefit nearly 750,000 other companies.

He said that in his budget reply and his National Press Club speech in January he had identified $17 billion worth of “saves” over the budget period. These would cover keeping the carbon tax compensation even when that tax was abolished and fund the company tax cut.

But Treasurer Chris Bowen said Abbott was double counting – he had already allocated savings from the budget reply. A savings dollar could only be used once, Bowen said.

Earlier Prime Minister Kevin Rudd seized on comments from Joe Hockey (which the shadow treasurer said had been wrongly reported) to speculate about a rise and expansion in the GST under the Liberals.

“If you’re going to jack up the goods and services tax, you’ve got to be upfront with the Australian people about how much and what it’s going to cost them,” he said. “If you’re going to expand the goods and services tax onto food, which is what expanding the base means, then you’ve got to be upfront with people.”

The opposition leader continues to be dogged by reports about critics within his own ranks, especially in the Nationals, of his very generous PPL scheme, which has become one of his signature policies.

“I accept for conservatives this important move forward has been difficult. Ask me the question a decade ago and my answer would have been different from today. If you want to recognise the reality of modern Australian families, of modern Australian women and of the modern Australian workforce you need a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme,” Abbott said.

“This shows that we get it in a way that no other political party, no other government or potential government does.

“I am pleased and proud that I have moved on this. I think in this respect I am a bigger, better man now than I was a decade ago and I would respectfully invite everyone to come with me on this.”

This election has seen the appearance of systematic fact checking operations (including by The Conversation). But the politicians are not letting the fact checkers get in their way.

Despite a fact check published by PolitiFact and Fairfax Media finding the claim that the coalition would need $70 billion in cuts to return the budget to as good a position as the government’s is false (at least $20 billion out, and perhaps more), Labor continues to use the $70 billion.

Rudd today referred to “$70 billion worth of cuts to jobs and to education and to health” and demanded Abbott produce details. Bowen spoke of a $70 billion hole.

When Finance minister Penny Wong was pulled up on the ABC over the $70 billion she said “$50 billion is still a pretty big figure”.

What’s a mere $20 billion when you’re trying to make a political point?

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Raikkonen will not drive for Red Bull in 2014 – manager

June 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

The Finn is out of contract at Lotus at the end of the season and was a leading contender to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull when the Australian moves over to endurance racing next year.


Fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo, from Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso, now looks most likely to get the 2014 seat alongside world champion and current standings leader Sebastian Vettel.

“Kimi will not be driving for Red Bull in 2014. We held some talks but a deal will not be happening,” his manager Steve Robertson told www.autospor南宁夜生活,m.

A Red Bull announcement could come at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix when the season resumes after a break.

Robertson said staying at Lotus was just one possibility for 2007 world champion Raikkonen who spent two years in rallying after being forced out of Ferrari in 2009. He has shone on his return to F1 with an unfashionable team.

“We are pretty confident Kimi will be in F1 next year,” he said. “There are options – and that is plural – out there and I will continue to talk to teams. I am hopeful we will sort something out in the not too distant future.”

Raikkonen, second in the current standings and third last year, has even been linked in the media with a return to Ferrari to replace the underperforming Felipe Massa but the Italian team have played down the speculation.

The F1 rumour mill even suggested Ferrari’s number one driver Fernando Alonso could be heading to partner Vettel next season after his manager was seen entering the Red Bull motorhome at the Hungarian Grand Prix last month.

Ferrari issued a rare public rebuke to Alonso after he told reporters “The one the others have” when asked following Hungary what kind of car he wanted for his birthday.

(Writing by Mark Meadows; editing by Tony Jimenez)

Comment: Where are the big numbers for science education?

June 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

Earlier this year, the Australian Academy of Science found that more than 40% of Australians did not know that it takes one year for the Earth to orbit the sun.


A further 27% believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed and 1 in 10 rejects evolution.

At the same time, 79% of Australians believe that science education is important. How can this be and how can our politicians ensure our country’s educational and economic future?

Professor Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist and has recently taken up a part-time appointment at the Australian National University in Canberra. A firm advocate of the public understanding of science, he says that we’re making progress but more work needs to be done.

“We’re not doing a good enough job teaching how to tell sense from nonsense, which is really what the scientific method is all about,” he says.

In his New York Times bestseller, ‘A Universe From Nothing’, Professor Krauss sets out an argument for a rigorously scientific and secular explanation for the origins of everything. This method should be applied to everyday life, he says.

“Bad public policy results from the lack of scientific thinking,” he says.

“The public, if they had a better understanding of science, would elect officials who have a better understanding of basing their public policy on empiricle evidence and reason.

“People would be more skeptical of these emotional or ideological arguments that are the basis of most politics.”

But for many people science is a threat, says Professor Lawrence, and education needs to step up and address the issue.

“We have to explain to people that it’s not a threat; it’s a way to understand reality,” he says.

“You’re being hypocritical if you’re driving in a car and you think the world is 4,000 years old.”

But Professor Krauss adds that part of the problem of spreading science is the inadequacy of language to define scientific terms. The long history of multiple definitions surrounding the word ‘nothing’ as a prime example of this issue, he says.

“Words are a problem,” Krauss admits. But he emphasises, “[We need to] recognise that – at some level – the words themselves are not appropriate. The proper language of the universe is mathematics, and so you’re always approximating when you speak in words.”

Well, if there’s one thing our pollies know how to do it’s how to talk in numbers, surely! Whether it’s Labor’s claim to 900,000 jobs since 2007 or the Coalition’s commitment to cut $1 billion of red tape, there are always plenty of numbers to go around – and big ones at that.

But where are the big numbers for science education? Does Kevin Rudd believe a post-China-mining-boom economy can be diversified without innovation? How does Tony Abbott intend to incentivise green technology research and production after he takes a chainsaw to the carbon tax?

Certainly the Gonski school reforms agreed to so far by the state governments of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT will help boost the quality of primary and secondary science education nationwide – but at what cost? Both Labor and the Coalition want to make cuts of more than $2 billion to universities. Defunding education to fund education – there’s an educated strategy for you.

Compared to other OECD nations, Australia performs only on-par in science education. If we’re looking for a ‘A New Way’ or a ‘New Hope’ for this nation’s future economy, why aren’t we hearing talk about investing in the skills of the next generation?

Yesterday marked the end of National Science Week. Let’s ensure this election marks the end of missed opportunities.

Tom Burns is a blogger, vlogger and self-confessed political junkie.

Obama, "Lyin’ Ryan" and Dirty Harry

June 11th, 2019 by admin | Permalink

On the agenda: officially nominating President Obama as the party’s candidate for the upcoming election, shouting down the Republican view of the world as seen in Tampa last week, and communicating, communicating, communicating that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are a REALLY BAD IDEA for America’s future.


Shouldn’t be too hard, should it? You’d be surprised.

It’s true – Democrats have a peculiar act to follow after last week’s Republican circus and that’s even if everybody politely ignores the train wreck speech/brilliant comedy performance from Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood where the Dirty Harry star rambled at an empty chair.

(To recap, Clint Eastwood is 82 years old.)

While Romney’s own party praised his Tampa acceptance speech others criticised his lack in putting forward exactly what his economic plans are, as well as oddly ignoring Afghanistan and US troops deployed overseas. Worryingly for Romney, that criticism came from people who should be backing Romney.

There was also the strange matter of Vice-President nominee Paul Ryan’s speech so loaded with distortions of fact that Ryan could claim to have created a jobs boom with the number of fact checkers put to work by his words.

Ryan – it turns out – doesn’t just tell lies in politics but was also forced to offer a “clarification” about his claims to have run a marathon race in less than three hours, a big deal among runners.

Obama’s huge electoral weakness is that the economy sucks. Everybody knows that. If the economy was in moderate condition then Romney would not even be given the half chance many people think that he has of a November victory.

What the President will want – need – to have done by the end of this week is do what appears personally counter-intuitive to him – play the blame game.

It. Is. The. Fault. Of. Republicans.

Obama and his Democrats also need to establish a clear difference between the choices facing voters in November: Romney and Ryan favour the rich over the middle class and want to turn back the clock to revisit the wayward years that got everyone in this mess in the first place.

Historically, Democrats have rarely communicated their assets and advantages over their political rivals and, oddly, that includes Obama’s own team during his first term. But the from-the-past narrative may be a strong hook.

“Despite all the challenges that we face in a new century what they offered… was an agenda that was better suited to the last century,” Obama said late last week, suggesting he may have found an angle.

“It was a re-run. It could have been in ‘Nick At Night’” he added, referring to a cable network that broadcasts TV shows from the ’80s and ’90s.

Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Hammer, hammer, hammer. Oh, and don’t drag out a sadly fading cultural icon to argue your case. Unless it is stuff like this.

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