Let’s not hy­per­ven­ti­late

Townsville Bulletin - - COMMENT -

I HAD the temer­ity to sug­gest so­lar is cheaper to build than coal- fired power. I’ve had some feed­back. One per­son said peo­ple who be­lieve re­new­able power can be pro­duced at a cheaper cost than coal- fired power are fool­ing them­selves to the detri­ment of the con­sumer. An­other said I was unAus­tralian. Well, I’m not much of a math­e­ma­ti­cian but let’s do the sums.

As I quoted last week, the Min­er­als Coun­cil of Aus­tralia have pro­vided fig­ures show­ing a 1000MW High Ef­fi­ciency Low Emis­sions coal- fired power sta­tion can be built for $ 2.2 bil­lion.

Some peo­ple say the real fig­ure is closer to $ 3 bil­lion but I’ll put that ar­gu­ment to one side.

The other piece of in­for­ma­tion I quoted was that the own­ers of Sun Me­tals zinc re­fin­ery are build­ing a 125MW so­lar farm at Stu­art for $ 200 mil­lion.

Hope­fully, it will be cheaper than that be­cause the re­fin­ery’s so­lar project man­ager says the farm is ex­pected to be the low­est cap­i­tal cost so­lar project in Aus­tralia with a price of $ 1.35 per watt.

The cal­cu­la­tion on the $ 2.2 bil­lion 1000MW coal- fired plant shows a cap­i­tal cost of $ 2.20 per watt.

Now I ap­pre­ci­ate so­lar is no good when the sun don’t shine.

I also see the folly in South Aus­tralia re­ly­ing on in­ter­mit­tent power with an ex­ten­sion chord to Vic­to­ria’s coal- fired plants.

This kind of night­mare faces North Queens­land.

Ob­vi­ously we need a mix of gen­er­a­tion but I think peo­ple should not be too quick to ride the coal- fired band­wagon.

Also, watch out for snake oil sales­men.

The LNP have not said they are go­ing to build a coal- fired power sta­tion, only that they will ap­prove one. Re­ally, it’s lip ser­vice.

A key ques­tion is why our en­ergy bills have dou­bled when 93 per cent of our power in Queens­land is coal and gas- fired.

It has more to do with poles and wires and greed than re­new­able gen­er­a­tion. If you trusted some sec­tions of the me­dia this week you’d be­lieve there are huge prob­lems with sex­ual ha­rass­ment at univer­si­ties – and we are a na­tion of prob­lem gam­blers.

The only prob­lem is, the re­ports didn’t show that. Just the head­lines and the spin peo­ple put on it.

Let’s take the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion re­port into sex­ual ha­rass­ment first. Some me­dia called this a ma­jor study, but it wasn’t. It was a sur­vey sent to 350,000 stu­dents but only 10 per cent filled it out.

Of those, they were given 14 ex­am­ples of sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

The No 1 re­sponse was “in­ap­pro­pri­ate star­ing”.

So re­place the head­lines of an epi­demic of ha­rass­ment with: Less than 5 per cent of all uni stu­dents think they have been in­ap­pro­pri­ately stared at. But that wouldn’t make news would it?

Then we got head­lines about a na­tion of prob­lem gam­blers. Some 220,000 to be ex­act.

But here’s the re­al­ity. Just 1.1 per cent of gam­blers have a prob­lem, mean­ing 98.9 per cent don’t have a prob­lem. I don’t blame the ad­vo­cates for try­ing to beat up num­bers to make their point, but it’s a dis­grace that so many in the me­dia didn’t dig any deeper than the first page of these re­ports to tell the real story. Don’t trust any­one who says they want a repub­lic but won’t tell you how it works.

I’m will­ing to dis­cuss a repub­lic, but only one kind. A repub­lic where the pres­i­dent is ap­pointed, not voted on by the pub­lic.

A di­rect elec­tion repub­lic would be a dis­as­ter. There would be an elec­tion, a cam­paign and one where ALP and LNP would run – leav­ing half of the coun­try an­gry at the per­son left in charge.

There would also be huge is­sues be­tween a pres­i­dent who was per­son­ally di­rected who’d have the power to sack a prime min­is­ter of the other party.

I un­der­stand the case repub­li­cans have for na­tional iden­tity. But I will not ac­cept a process that pre­tends this is a yes/ no ques­tion, where the fine print might be a repub­lic that would ruin our gov­ern­men­tal sys­tem.

So the next time some­one says they are a repub­li­can, just ask them how it works. Lo­cal coun­cils al­ways find ways to shock us with their stu­pid­ity, but this week it got dan­ger­ous.

A lo­cal coun­cil in Syd­ney’s Bondi re­jected an ap­pli­ca­tion for a new syn­a­gogue be­cause it could be a po­ten­tial ter­ror­ist tar­get.

That’s right, one group of peo­ple with no his­tory of vi­o­lence in our com­mu­nity were told they can’t pray to­gether be­cause some­one of an­other faith may want to blow it up.

Imag­ine if it was re­versed, a coun­cil said no to a mosque be­cause some­one might try to at­tack it.

Even worse, this cow­ardice was en­dorsed by the Land and En­vi­ron­ment Court. Luck­ily un­der state laws the plan­ning min­is­ter can over­rule this in­san­ity.

The pres­sure is on, will they fold too or will some­one stand up for a truly free Aus­tralia?

This Mon­day night on Paul Mur­ray LIVE spe­cial guests Gra­ham Richard­son, Ross Cameron and Janine Per­rett.

VIC­TIM OF STU­PID­ITY: Artist’s im­pres­sion of pro­posed syn­a­gogue at Bondi.


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