Monday, 23 August 2010

What I've learned from The Chaser

Without Independents there'll be no competition

Given how important Independents will be in forming a new government I'd say that the army of David Szymczaks was right.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Hung Parliament

At the moment that is what Australia might be facing. The ABC is tipping that Labor will have 72 seats and the Coalition (Liberal party, National party, and the Liberal National party) will have 73.

The Greens managed to win Melbourne and there will be four independents, from Denison (Tasmania), New England, Lyne (both NSW) and Kennedy (QLD).

These are the people that the major parties will have to woo to be able to make a government. It would be interesting to see what the Liberals will do given that the latter three MPs are all former National party members who left for differing reasons. In my opinion Labor have the easier job forming a government and actually running it.

The Senate results have made it clear that the Greens will be running the show this time, and they are more likely to support Labor's policies then the Liberals and I'm sure that Abbott knows it.

But the count isn't over yet and some cases the count is close.

Boothby, my electorate, has a difference of about 1000 votes with only 77% of the vote counted. The possibility that Labor will take this seat is still very real. If the State election is anything to go by it will take about a week to find out who wins.

SA itself had a pretty big swing towards the Greens, and because of people who filled out the how to vote cards, gave many preferences to Labor as well. The most common trend was that people weren't voting for Labor.

Neither leader has conceded defeat but I would like to point out something that Tony Abbott said. He said that this election was a "referendum on the political execution of a prime minister". He might be right but this election was telling in another way. Abbott didn't win. This very fact tells us that although the people might not like what happened to Rudd they don't trust Abbott. I suspect that this was the reason that people voted for the Greens in the Senate.

There are three other things that I might as well point out. First the Australian Sex Party, although they failed to win any seats, had a pretty good turnout for their first time with 1.99% of the national primary vote. They polled worst in SA with 1.66% of the vote, and best in NT with 4.43% of the vote. In NSW, QLD and Victoria they managed to get about 2% of the vote.

Secondly, at present, Family First have failed to win any seats in the Senate this election. However uncounted ballots in SA may change this. The ABC results page for the SA senate election has had the Liberals and Family First flip-flopping between them getting the last seat.

Lastly it's the end of an era of sorts. Wilson Tuckey, a man known for his comments ranging from somewhat silly to inane, has lost his seat of O'Connor losing to Nationals candidate Tony Crook.

Based on what happened in the state election earlier this year I think it will be about a week before we figure out if we really do have a hung parliament and how many Independents/Greens the parties will have to convince to join them.

Friday, 20 August 2010

6 Degrees of Ken Doll

It's something from RationalWiki. They're calling it Hunt the Sausage. Basically you start at a random Conservapedia page and then try to find your way to one of the pet articles of the user "conservative". So you are trying to get to either their page on Evolution, Atheism or Homosexuality.

My first try I went from "Geometric progression" to "Interest" to "Interest rate" to "Usury" to "Homosexuality". According to Conservapedia usurers would end up in the same circle of hell as homosexuals.

I did make "Evolution" in three. Dave Rosenberg -> Fiscal conservatism -> Conservative -> Evolution. The link was that conservatives reject "junk science" such as evolution.

I'm playing the Ken Trio, but there are other kinds as well.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Psychic finds body

Just not the body that she was looking for.

The psychic was trying to find 6 year old Kiesha Abrahams who has been missing since July 31. But on Sunday the police called off the search and are assuming the worst.

So this woman, who hasn't been named, got a feeling that there was a body at Nurragingy Reserve.

The Herald Sun reported:

Detective Chief Inspector Pamela Young from the State Crime Command Homicide Squad said the woman who found the remains was from the local area and had been trying to locate schoolgirl Kiesha, who vanished from her Mount Druitt home 11 days ago.

However the torso was that of an adult woman, believed to be Kristi McDougall, and not Kiesha.

So basically it looks like the woman just happened to be "lucky" and found a body. But when it comes to "psychic detectives" it doesn't count as a "hit".

If it turns out to be Kristi McDougall then hopefully the Police can bring her killer (or killers) to justice, and if not then I do hope they find out who it is. When you think of it that way then it doesn't really matter what the motivations of the finder were, a family will get closure.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Liberal Broadband "Plan"

The Liberal Party have released their broadband plan. See apparently Labor's plan, which is spend $43 billion on a complete overhaul of the entire telecommunications network, is too expensive and probably too communist since the government is doing it. So the Liberal Party have decided that the best way to solve this is to spend $6.25 billion (broken down in various ways) and pretty much expect Telstra to do it in time.

The executive summary of "The Coalition's Plan for Real Action on Broadband and Telecommunications" reads:
The Coalition’s plan will deliver a uniform national broadband network, under which 97 percent of premises are able to be served by high speed networks capable of delivering from 100 Mbps down to a minimum of 12 Mbps peak speed, using a combination of technologies including HFC, DSL and fixed wireless.
I don't buy that one bit. I live in a middle class area, odds are I might get the "minimum" speed. I say that because I know that what will happen is that 12 Mbps will be the maximum available speed, and that's if they can even be bothered to upgrade the exchange any time soon.

Frankly I'd be surprised if 97% of the country will be able to get the minimum 12 Mbps peak speed.

As the Liberals go on to say:
Labor is heading down the wrong track. Its government owned and government run broadband network will be a taxpayer funded ‘white elephant’ when it is completed in eight years time. It does nothing to deliver lower prices. It just substitutes one monopoly for another. It gives no priority to those who do not get an adequate service today. Under Labor’s plan Australians will be waiting up to eight years before they see a change.
And? The only reason that NBN Co even exist is because Labor didn't like the offers from private companies and said "screw it we'll just do it ourselves". I do think that it's rather funny to see the Liberal party consider upgrading to fibre to the home as a "white elephant".

The rest is just empty rhetoric. I honestly prefer a government monopoly on telecommunication infrastructure then the current Telstra based monopoly. I don't actually mind waiting up to eight years because I know that my service will be improved.

But I shouldn't worry because apparently the Liberal plan will:
Instead of creating a new, inefficient Government run monopoly, the Coalition will create a vibrant, private sector-based broadband market, with Government involved to encourage competition and ensure services reach all Australians.
I don't see that happening. Telstra own basically all the infrastructure, and because they are forced to share they don't have any incentive to upgrade. That's certainly what I've noticed in my area.

Naturally the Liberal party have 13 points that make up their plan. In an earlier incarnation of this post I went through the points. But there is no point. There isn't a plan. It's not even a "plan", it's just "we'll give money to the private sector".

They want to waste time creating a "National Broadband Commission" so they can ask for tenders (again), they want a "National Broadband Database" which is to apparently gather information for no real reason, but has something to do with being able to "optimise" areas that are "underserved".

Frankly I don't see the private sector doing that any time soon. The underserved areas are either poor or in areas that are to expensive to connect to. They are areas that are unprofitable.

They're complaining that the Government is spending so much money and their plan is to give us much less and save two years doing so. So my options are wait 6 years and possibly get 12 Mbps or wait and extra 2 and get 100 Mbps.

Then they propose satellites. Labor promised satellites for those who can't be connected to the fibres, they also said that they would be 12 Mbps. The Liberals haven't even told us what speed people on the satellites would connect to.

Frankly their offer is a joke, and their section on how Labor has failed is even worse.

But there is a sad side to this. For once the Government have done the right thing, a comprehensive upgrade to our telecommunications systems and we've got a party who are trying to claim that they are "responsible" giving us crap. Who cares if Labor cancelled the coalition broadband policy when they came to power, they actually had something far superior.

But then I've noticed that many Australians fail to understand that the cheap option is not always the best one.

I might be against Labor's internet filter, but I'm now more inclined to preference them over the Liberal party.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Sunrise Political Debate

I never expected to see those three words in the same sentence. For foreigners who happen to read this Sunrise is one of those breakfast shows, I usually have that playing in the morning because David Koch's voice keeps me up. Anyway, they pointed out that many people didn't know who they were voting for and had their own little "debate" between Wendy Francis from Family First and Fiona Patten from the Australian Sex Party.

This was the debate:

Now they covered a few issues from each party. They discussed Family First's idea for "G-rated" billboards. The Sex Party's idea for ending the tax exempt status for religion (that's all religion not just certain religions) and they also discussed each sides opinions on the proposed internet filter and gay marriage.

Essentially they pretty much disagreed on everything, but they both agreed on a Royal Commission that looks at sex abuse in all areas, even the sex industry, something that the Sex Party were happy to mention in a press release. However Patten (the leader of the ASP) suggested a commission looking just at religion.

On gay marriage Francis' argument was basically "the Marriage Act states this so that's the way it should be", and stated that marriage was very important to Australia.

The outdoor advertising thing was the more enlightening thing. Essentially Francis came across as saying "I want this because I don't want to have to explain, to my young children, what certain words mean."

Although she did say that "Australian Sex Party" would be ok on a billboard, it doesn't mesh with her intent. The little kid is still going to ask "mummy, what's sex?" regardless of whether it's from an ad for the ASP or one of those ghastly "want longer lasting sex?" billboards (their solution? A nasal spray).

There is very little to say on the internet filter. That was probably the weakest point from Patten, probably because she got some of the information wrong. One of the criticisms of the leaked blacklist (some of which I wrote about here and here) was that as well as blocking sites that had things like child porn, it was also blocking legal adult content and websites on other legal content. Patten came across as saying that the blacklist didn't have any illegal content on it at all.

Overall though I would have to say that the winner was the Sex Party. Although Francis would disagree though. Apparently there was a phone poll that said that Family First won.

I know that some people think that Family First won. I personally have trouble seeing it. Francis made a big song and dance about the ASP being a lobby group for what can best be described as "Big Porno". She also seemed to think that ending tax exempt status for religions would affect charities like Lifeline or the Salvation Army even though nobody has said that they would be affected.

I also don't think that it's ok for a cathedral to spend millions on a tower when there are homeless nearby because the Salvo's feed them.

Also, I know quite a few people who do not consider being homosexual a "lifestyle choice".

I'm not alone when it comes to saying who won. On Youtube here or here most of the commenters said that the ASP won. Same goes with the people on Crikey and even on Channel 7's thread asking about the winner.

To finish there are two other things I would like to point out. First is this from Catherine Deveny and I suggest you read the comment from James L in this SMH article .