Occident Prone

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Posts Tagged ‘Carpenter’

Oh for the opposition life

Posted by occidentprone on September 15, 2008

This is one worry off Carps’ mind:

Four co-workers from Alan Carpenter’s electorate office are celebrating a $2 million lotto win, on the same weekend as Mr Carpenter resigned as labor leader.

The colleagues say the former Premier was thrilled to hear of the win, and timing could not have been better.

“I’ve never heard him so happy, he was thrilled for us.” said one of the group.

The electorate office syndicate has been running for about five years.

“This is a load off our minds, the timing couldn’t have been better,” said one. (Source: ABC)

Meantime, let’s do the guess-the-new-leader game.

Not sure she’d want the job but Alannah McTiernan would be fantastic. She’s got my vote.

But for stability until the run-up to the next election, Eric Ripper would probably get caucus support. Then a switcheroo in the lead-up to the next poll with a little more flash and profile.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Carpenter calls Sept 6 election – game on

Posted by occidentprone on August 7, 2008

Alan Carpenter’s early election date means he’s running scared of Colin Barnett, says political observer Peter van Onselen.

“I think the timing is a shock on a number of levels, I’m surprised that the Premier has made such a cynical political move because one of the great strengths of his premiership has been in not being a politician almost or at least not having that image…” Mr van Onselen said.

“I think the public are absolutely a wake up to Carpenter’s rhetoric that he won’t be basing his decisions on the problems in the Liberal Party versus the reality that this is exactly what he’s done,” he said.

“He might say he’s not worried about Colin Barnett as leader of the opposition but his decision to call the election so quickly shows he’s that he’s petrified of him, he’s petrified that if given the chance to present himself as a possible alternative that he could win the election.

“So he’s made a strategic decision which I think is a strategic blunder…” (Source: WAToday)

Fellow analysts Harry Phillips and David Black emphasise the cynicism of the move and agree that if not a blunder, it’s certainly risky because it shows them flinching a day after Barnett became leader.

The Australian says the Libs will train their sights on Labor’s links with Brian Burke. But friendly fire has claimed Lib frontbencher John McGrath, who doesn’t want his Burke links to taint his side’s campaign.

McGrath does not admit any guilt, says he was cleared by the CCC and says it is just a ‘distraction’. The Libs cannot ignore this and attack the government on the same charges and it cannot ignore that Anthony Fels transgressed in a similar manner with Noel Crichton-Browne. Just because the two are no longer in the spotlight (McGrath has just stepped down from the front bench, not the party or as an MP), doesn’t mean they are guilt free. The hypocrisy watchers are on amber alert.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

A lesson for the Carpenator

Posted by occidentprone on August 1, 2008

 The West Australian reports the WA teachers pay negotiations with the state government have broken down. 

The teachers’ proposed pay deal was on the brink of collapse yesterday, with almost half the union’s governing body breaking ranks to reveal they do not support the agreement struck with the State Government last week. 
More than a week after the pay offer was approved by the union’s executive and presented by the Government and union president Anne Gisborne as a fait accompli, seven out of 17 members of the executive have broken ranks to condemn it publicly. 
In what could prove to be a major embarrassment for the Government in the weeks leading up to the next State election, the union rebels are urging teachers to seriously question the deal when voting starts this month. 

…The Government has offered teachers pay rises of between 15 and 21 per cent over three years and annual allowances of between $3000 and $19,000 to those who teach in tough city schools and remote schools. Education Minister Mark McGowan says the deal would make WA teachers better paid than those in other States. 
But the seven rebels told The West Australian in a statement yesterday that the agreement would only keep pace with inflation. 

This is a tenuous link but under the subgenre of food for thought: What are our public servants to make of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s move to sack 22,000 California state workers and cut the pay of 200,000 more to minimum wage?

Here in WA the government is crying poor every time some two-bit irrelevant section of the public service, like say teachers or nurses or coppers, wants more money for the cushy jobs they do.

“Most of those laid off are seasonal and part-time staff, while the 200,000 remaining state employees would have their full salaries restored when a budget was agreed, the governor said.

“Today I am exercising my executive authority to avoid a full-blown crisis and keep our state moving forward,” he said.

“This is not an action I take lightly but we do not have a budget and, as governor, I have a responsibility to make sure our state has enough money to pay its bills.” 

… Asked whether his administration would sue the state financial controller’s office if it did not comply with the executive order, Mr Schwarzenegger said:

“If that’s what it takes. I’m here to make sure that our state functions, and whatever it takes, I will do it.” (Source: BBC

Alan Carpenter is no superhero like Arnie and our political system doesn’t allow the premier to sign away workers in the stroke of a pen on an executive order as has happened in the US. But in WA, where we have a worker shortage, the state is not going to function at all without happy teachers or nurses or coppers.

Like the man said, whatever it takes.

Posted in Diversions, Foreign affairs, Industrial relations, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pork barrelling on press freedom

Posted by occidentprone on July 7, 2008

What’s the best way to kick off an election campaign? Sweeten up the journalists covering it. 

The government of Alan Carpenter, former reporter and telly host, is raising the promise of shield laws for the media if the government is re-elected, says The Australian.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance claims to have a commitment from state Attorney-General Jim McGinty that laws to protect ethical journalists will be introduced in the first term of parliament if Labor is returned at the next election.

MEAA state secretary Michael Sinclair-Jones said protection for journalists and their sources was paramount.

“This is something that has to be addressed immediately,” he said. “It’s something totally unacceptable that journalists should be hauled off to secret inquiries and threatened with three years’ jail and $60,000 fines for doing their job properly.”

In Western Australia, journalists and others can be compelled by the Corruption and Crime Commission to attend secret hearings.

They are forbidden from telling anyone, including their employer or families, and face three years’ jail and a $60,000 fine if they do so.

The CCC also has the power to force a journalist to reveal their sources or face contempt charges.

Mr Sinclair-Jones said the push for the shield laws was because of the CCC’s activities. “It’s absolutely unprecedented,” he said.

Early yesterday, Mr McGinty said he supported the shield laws but would not be drawn on a timeline.

Note the key word “ethical” as in “laws to protect ethical journalists”. Who is judge and jury on this ethical business? The government? The CCC?

And why should press freedom be an election campaign issue instead of a basic rights issue in a modern western democracy? Like sports stadium funding and tax promises?

Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Oh super, a super hospital

Posted by occidentprone on July 5, 2008

The state government is about to announce its plans for Perth hospitals. PerthNow reports that Health Minister Jim McGinty is about to dish the details. (If an election campaign were a race, that would be the “On your marks …”)

Princess Margaret and King Edward Memorial hospitals will be bulldozed and new facilities built alongside Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, creating a “super hospital” in Nedlands.

But construction of the new children’s hospital won’t start until about 2013, and will take three years to build. 

Completing the Labor Government’s hospital plans — which are in addition to the construction of the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch — will be a new women’s hospital. 

This will follow the development of the children’s hospital. 

The article doesn’t say when King Eddies and PMH will be demolished. And this isn’t all new news. It’s just being reheated for the one-runner election race (to mix metaphors).

PerthNow says the new super hospital will have room for more than 1150 beds. Whoopdy-do – according to the Sunday Times graphic (not posted on the PerthNow website) SCGH, King Eddies and PMH have 1130 beds between them now. And no one is saying we are oversupplied with beds so what will the situation be in 2016 when the project is finished? Especially considering we are getting 950 coming to WA a week. Talk about on the ball.

The most modern major tertiary hospital infrustructure is Royal Perth Hospital’s north block – which is about to be decommissioned as a tertiary hospital and RPH will be moved to Murdoch but the Health Department’s website says the Fiona Stanley hospital is still in the planning stage. Not a sod turned.

The super hospital is super news for Charlies staff who can’t get parking at the SCGH/QEII behemoth now. And it’s a super laugh for Nedlands residents who don’t want the super building or the masses it attracts milling among their greenery.

At the last election Labor fed off community concern and made health a priority but since then they seemed to have limped from disaster to disaster. The F-word – Fong – sums it up. The highest paid public servant in the country eventually left the job after being tainted by brushes with Brian Burke and what had he done? What has the government done for health? Emergency doctors are back on the job after a strike was averted and McGinty’s stoush with the flying doctors was a serious miscalculation.

So if Carpenter wants to make health a touchstone for this election, then super duper. Let’s have it all out.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

7 ways to survive WA’s gas crisis

Posted by occidentprone on June 24, 2008

The state government tells us the gas crisis will last another six months. As winter gives way to spring, and then summer we will all still be ignoring pleas to ease back on energy use. But if you do want to do your bit and halve energy consumption between now and December, as suggested by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, here are some tips to help you on your way. 

  1. Pull on a jumper, turn off unused lights, don’t leave appliances plugged in, all that stuff.
  2. Throw off the electric blanket and switch off the heater: Ask a colleague for a threesome. Although not official government policy, it is endorsed by the Energy Minister who would if he could.
  3. Fill your car up with petrol then realise the “gas crisis” isn’t the worst thing to happen this year.
  4. Come summer there are a whole lot of other problems that come with keeping cool. In extreme heat tempers fray so we can all be charitable by lifting a colleague’s top for a little temporary (light) relief. 
  5. Sort your Apache Energy blasts from your Apache Indian’s boom shak alak. Easily confused, but no, dodgy sub-continent hip hop is not responsible for this crisis. Maybe in India he has a lot to answer for but we are blaming the American gas company for this.
  6. Leave the house and use someone else’s energy. If you are in any position of power you could get a lobbyist to take you to lunch, but only if you can stomach an hour of staring into the sweaty, puffy face of the ugly side of business. Life is full of such trade-offs.
  7. Stay home, turn off the lights, computer and telly and curl into the foetal position. Accept that we are stuffed. Uncurl only to vote at the next state election.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Libs want some Ruddy help

Posted by occidentprone on June 19, 2008

WA Libs are accusing the prime minister of not doing enough to aid WA in its hour of cold and darkness, says ABC. Fair call.

Liberal Senator David Johnson has accused both the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Western Australian Premier Alan Carpenter of inaction over the crisis.

Senator Johnson says Mr Rudd should confirm if the Government has the constitutional authority to enact the Liquid Fuels and Emergency Act.

“If we’re on solid ground there should be an emergency declared,” he said.

The Senators and MPs also called for the price of diesel to be stabilised to ease demand for gas and for gas energy users to be switched to diesel so gas can be freed up for small and medium business use.

I  haven’t read all of the Liquid Fuels and Emergency Act, I got confused with all the roman numerals, so I’m not sure what it means for us.  But Kevin Rudd doesn’t have time to be worrying about boring old gas crises and something-or-other Act, now that he’s started packing for the Olympics. Much more important stuff on the horizon.

The Australian reports on Rudd’s perspective:

The concerns of business were echoed in Canberra yesterday, with Kevin Rudd saying: “Given WA’s crucial significance to the overall performance of the Australian economy, there will be wash-through for us all on this over time, but in WA right now it’s being felt directly.”

… Carpenter said yesterday he had briefed the Prime Minister and was confident Mr Rudd was prepared to assist.

Mr Carpenter said his first priority was getting federal support for people who were put out of work but did not normally qualify for Centrelink assistance.

He gave no details of changes being put in place.

The pair discussed the national strategic fuel supplies stored at Garden Island, south of Perth, but Mr Carpenter said it was not yet necessary to seek access to them.

“We have to make sure we don’t do that pre-emptively or unnecessarily, because those fuel supplies are exactly as they are described – they are strategic national fuel supplies normally there because of disaster or a complete breakdown in the liquid fuel supply,” he said.

Mr Rudd said the Defence Minister had the power to make available extra diesel supplies for power stations in the west.

“We will invoke the provisions of the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act if required,” he told parliament yesterday. “This act provides the Australian Government with the authority to prepare for and manage a national liquid fuel supply emergency.

“During such a situation, the Minister for Resources and Energy can control the production, transfer and stock levels of crude and liquid fuel.

“We … are advised by the (WA) Premier that action involving the invocation of that act is not required at this time.”



A postscript to Carpenter’s power appealathon the other day. If we are all cutting our power reduction, why did he appear on TV? He should have had a letterbox drop. Or posted notices on all those soon-to-be redundant power poles. 

Posted in Australian politics, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

We are doing a great job, because we say so

Posted by occidentprone on June 19, 2008

The popularity of Alan Carpenter’s government is rising, says The Australian today. WHAT? Oh, according to the government. That makes more sense.

Public satisfaction with the performance of the Carpenter Government is surging – according to the Government at least.

The Government released figures today showing that community satisfaction with the way it does its job has jumped from just 33 per cent, giving it the thumbs up in October last year, to 45 per cent in January this year. 

Those percentages believed the Government was performing well or very well. Another 34 per cent said its performance was “fair” – leaving just 21 per cent unhappy. 

The results of the latest quarterly community attitudes survey commissioned by the Department of Premier and Cabinet to keep tabs on how it is travelling were tabled in parliament today. 

The figures also suggest the Government is most popular with women and young people, and rates better in the metropolitan area than the regions. 

Of the 750 people interviewed by telephone in January by market research company Synovate, just 5 per cent felt the Government was performing “very poorly”, and 16 per cent branded it “poor”. 

Forty-seven per cent of females said the Government had performed well or very well. Just 16 per cent said its performance was poor. 

This compared to 43 per cent of men giving the Government a tick, and 25 per cent who said it was poor or very poor. 

The survey was taken before the gas fiasco, before Fran Logan’s threesome joke, before the shirt-lifting allegation. Nuff said.

Do they take a survey and wait months until a bad patch and pretend it’s news (which The Australian thought it was)? And is there a statute of limitations on this stuff? Are they going to pull out results from Dr Gallop’s rein and say she’s apples.

Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

WA, the State of Emergency

Posted by occidentprone on June 17, 2008

“If you are watching this video I am dead, or you are dead (or at least very very cold).”

Alan Carpenter is taking his message of conserving power to the public in a video that uses all his old skills as 7.30pm Report presenter to give WA the bad news. It made him remember what a cushy gig being an ABC pitbull was compared with running WA, the State of Emergency. (State of Excitement was a good slogan but this is more accurate.)

Offices, the public service and industry are telling staff to conserve electricity and gas: Use minimum lighting; turn computers off at the end of the day; don’t turn on unnecessary printers, faxes; non-essential hot water turned off; tell staff to wear winter woollies to work because the heat is being turned off.

Which makes you think – until now have we really been doing all we can to stave off global warming and fossil fuel depletion or was it all hot air?


If you got a kick out of the Premier’s video, check out even more interesting political videos, satires and mashups (including footage of Belinda Neal’s bizarre devil spawn comment) on Australian Politics TV. And if you’re into democracy you can vote for your favourite video.


Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Power to the people

Posted by occidentprone on June 16, 2008

The most recent developments in the gas crisis are that WA unions are appealing for help for workers laid off because of the debacle and that shopping centres are meeting to discuss ways to cut power. 

I can see these lines meeting in the distance should you continue their logic to the horizon: More people lose their jobs, fewer people go shopping, then most people hurt directly or indirectly because of the power fiasco and no people go shopping. Problems solved.

Apache Energy, which owns the plant that exploded on June 2 — causing the gas crisis — said the resumption of any supplies from Varanus Island were still a couple of months away.

The explosion wiped out a third of WA’s gas supply, in turn cutting electricity supplies. It has also reduced the production of ammonia, from which carbon dioxide is refined.

Apache managing director Tim Wall said the company had the piping material needed for the repairs and more than 140 people would be working on repairs by next week. (Source: The West Australian)

Fairfax’s WA Today reports that the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates 14% of 83 companies it has surveyed may shut down or will be shutting down soon.

WA Premier, Alan Carpenter, said businesses which switched from gas-fired electricity to diesel fired electricity will face far higher electricity costs. “Diesel-fired electricity is far more expensive than gas-fired electricity, so businesses will be making the decision as to whether the increased cost they are going to have to pay for energy warrants them shutting down for a while, or scaling down their production for a while, or standing down their staff for a while,” he said.

… “It’s taken a while for the impact to wash through, but it’s really coming upon us now, economically. This week, I think will be very difficult.”

(Notice Carpenter’s own energiser bunny Fran Logan seems to be pushed from the stage and the premier is the spokesman on all things gassy.)

The upshot is when will we consumers see the upshot? There are various economic calculations which use the words ‘trickle’ and other tricky theories but my guess is in a few months, prices go up – simple as that.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »