New Solar Installations Banned

Greece, aiming to stave off a fresh energy crisis, plans to support its main electricity market operator through a temporary tax on renewable power producers and by extending an emergency loan, a senior official said last Friday. The electricity system came close to collapse in June when market operator LAGHE was overwhelmed by subsidies it pays to green power producers as part of efforts to bolster solar energy. Greece has slashed the guaranteed feed in prices it pays to some solar operators and is no longer approving permits for their installation.

Fremantle Mayor, Brad Pettitt just back from a trip to Germany muses on his blog today that maybe Fremantle Tip can be used as a large scale solar farm.

Jon Strachan

I must admit that when I read “herald letters” in this week’s “Fremantle Herald” and came across the letter from Jon Strachan regarding the negative reporting of the proposal by FreoFarm for a Community Garden, I was taken back that he had not disclosed that he was a Fremantle Councillor and that his partner was a committee member of FreoFarm, which the Editor noted.

But after re reading the Herald articles in question and Jon’s blog, I decided to look at the site today, and I agree with him.

As Jon writes:

“One of my reasons for living in Fremantle is the strong cultural capital and community spirit; there are lots of groups and people doing things, from Men’s Sheds to Ukulele Groups, Meditation, Artists Studios to Sporting Groups, the Meeting Place to Action Groups, Theatre and Music Groups to Community Gardens.  My enjoyment of this aspect of Fremantle means I also support these groups and their right to exist.  Attacks on such groups like the one being waged by the Herald against FreoFarm are diametrically opposite to what I see as one of Fremantle’s strengths, it is simply Un-Freo.

So back to FreoFarm; they are a group of locals who wish to build community through developing a Community Garden using their own resources and effort.  They chose a section of the old tip-site that has no fill, being on capstone and outside the fenced off area.  Their membership includes expertise such as Environmental Science, Law and Landscape Architecture, so are very well aware of the challenges the site presents.  They have no intention to dig into the site therefore presenting no additional risk to community than the site already does.  Their aspirations for development of a windbreak to stop airborne contaminants can only benefit those living close.  They see the continuing horseracing heritage as a benefit they wish to endorse.”

The City should get behind this initiative and endorse the proposal.

 

Soldier On

A very good article in today’s “The Sunday Times” on Mark Donaldson who this week will be named Patron in Chief of Soldier On,a relatively new organisation helping Australian servicemen and women who have been wounded,

physically or psychologically in contemporary conflicts.

Soldier On’s vision is to give wounded Australians access to the worlds best standard of care and support.

Mark Donaldson was the first Australian recipient of a Victoria Cross since 1969. He was a member of the SAS when he exposed himself to enemy fire to protect injured troops and then rescued an interpreter under heavy enemy fire in Afghanistan in September 2008. He was awarded the medal in a ceremony in Canberra on 16 January 2009. On 25 January 2010, Donaldson was named the Young Australian of the Year.

He has lent his Victoria Cross and other medals to the Australian War Memorial where they are on display.

I have had the pleasure of having lunch with Mark earlier this year before his latest engagement in Afghanistan, and he has been to the football as a guest of the Fremantle Derby Club, as Ben Roberts-Smith another Victoria Cross winner is Patron of the Derby Club.

He is a credit to Australia and the armed forces and if he is getting behind Soldier On so am I, and I hope that the Australian public supports this very worthy cause.

They have a website http://www.soldieron.org.au

AFL

Sydney Swans won the Grand Final in an entertaining tussle with Hawthorn in front of a big crowd of 99,683 at the MCG.

The final score was 14.7 (91) to 11.15 (81) with the tight game played in very blustery conditions but the forcasted rain did not eventuate.

Sydney stalwart, Ryan O’Keefe won the Norm Smith Medal for the best player afield.

Interestingly 3 of the Sydney players started playing Rugby when they were at school. Kieran Jack and Lewis Roberts-Thomson both played rugby and switched to Australian Rules.

The big story though is that of Mike Pyke who was born in British Columbia, Canada and played Rugby Union for Canada’s national side where he earned 17 caps before deciding to switch to Australian Rules in 2008,playing his first game in 2009.

Pyke achieved fame in 2007 for running the length of the field and scoring a try for Canada against the New Zealand All Blacks off an intercepted pass. He took a DVD of this with him to Sydney, and with his 200 cm and 105 kg body they signed him and he played his first game in 2009. He has now played 46 games over 4 seasons and has a Premiership medallion. His mother was at the MCG watching him play a great game as a ruckman.

Nicola Roxon

“It will be clearly shown and this will be argued in the court that there was in fact clear intention to harm Mr Slipper and bring his reputation into disrepute and to assist his political opponents and that was the purpose for the bringing of this claim.”

That was Federal Attorney General, Nicola Roxon commenting back in June on the James Ashby case, that she maintains was politically motivated.

I think that it can be argued now that her comments were politically motivated!

Mr Ashby launched legal action against the Commonwealth and Mr Slipper earlier this year, accusing the Speaker of sexual harassment and the Federal Government of not providing a safe workplace.

The Commonwealth has agreed to pay $50,000 as part of a legal settlement with James Ashby, the stood-aside staffer to federal parliamentary Speaker Peter Slipper.

A spokesman for Mr Ashby says the case against the Commonwealth has been settled on “favourable” grounds, and the Government has agreed to provide better training for MPs and staff.

Mr Ashby’s case against Mr Slipper continues.

Labor would not be in this mess if it had not done this grubby deal with Slipper and got rid of one of their own, Harry Jenkins who was well respected as Speaker on all sides of Parliament.

He is so disillusioned that he is retiring at the next election.

 

 

Choice

Choice calls itself “The People’s Watchdog” with a clear mission: to ensure the consumer voice is heard loudly and clearly.

They sent four shoppers out to ten retailers in different parts of Sydney to test the level of customer service and came up with a “best to worst” list and although they are careful to say that it is not a strict ranking, here it is:

Bunnings

Big W

Dick Smith

JB Hi Fi

Target

David Jones

Myer

Kmart

The Good Guys

Harvey Norman.

You can read their observations on the Choice website but I tend to agree with them.

Fremantle shoppers will certainly agree with Myer being near the bottom of the list, and Gerry Harvey apparantly complained to the Sydney Morning Herald that there were only four shoppers surveyed, and stated that his service was fantastic and that Choice has got an agenda.

I am no fan of Harvey Norman but over the years have bought 2 TV’s, 2 fridges, printers and other office goods as well as numerous other household items at their stores, but not any more.

Several years ago I attended a BMW advanced driving course at Wanneroo Raceway where most of the other attendees, about 10 or 12, were employees of Harvey Norman and when I enquired about this they said that over a promotional period of time, if a shopper came in and wanted a TV they would suggest a well known Japanese brand as the one to buy, and depending on their sales figures they qualified to attend the driving course. I do not ask Harvey Norman employees for advice anymore and  rarely shop there.

Interestingly, Woolworths have announced today that they have sold Dick Smith for the bargain price of $20 million which is about what they paid Dick (the Dick Smith) in 1982.

Julie Bishop

One of the loudest critics of Australia’s bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council has been the opposition coalition.

It’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Julie Bishop, says there are merits to Australia being on the council but she believes the bid has caused Canberra to focus attention on African and Carribean nations at the expense of it’s engagement in the Asia Pacific region.

Ms Bishop says the coalition supports the bid in principle, but not the way this government has gone about it.

“We are concerned there has been a redirection of aid – particularly to the Caribbean. The example that comes to mind is the $150,000 the government has promised for a statue to be built in the UN Plaza in New York to commemorate anti-slavery in the Caribbean. I question whether if that is the best way to spend Australian tax payer dollars and what does it do for Australia – let alone the people of the Caribbean. Secondly, countries have made it clear for example Syria made it clear on behalf of Arab league countries – that Australia couldn’t expect support unless Australia were less supportive of Israel and we have seen changes in the government’s support for Israel.”

The Labor Government is spending more than $25 million, with much more in indirect costs to secure a seat on the UN Security Council.

The UN Security Council is composed of 5 permanent members-China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, and 10 non permanent members-Azerbaijan, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa and Togo.

Because the non permanent members do not have veto rights the UN Security Council is dominated by the 5 permanent members.

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