Much to be thankful for - CQ Today

We have a lot to be thankful for this year. It has been a tough year for many but Australia has thus far avoided the worst of the coronavirus, at least compared to other countries. We can be thankful for our wonderful health authorities. The CQ Health team, led by Steve Williamson, have been organised, professional and efficient. When an aged care nurse became infected in May, Steve’s team tested over 200 people within days. We should be thankful to all the nurses, doctors and other health workers that have been on the frontline this year. Read more

McEwen sets an example

There have been too many statues torn down this year. So it was good to finish 2020 by unveiling a new statue of John "Black Jack" McEwen in Canberra last week. Read more

Questions on China's Trade - CQ Today

China buys so much of Australia's exports that it is hard to remember a time when our economy was not so connected with it. But it has not been this way for long. Just 20 years ago Australia exported $10 billion of goods to China, making up just 5 per cent of Australia's exports. Over the past year, we have exported $146 billion of goods to China, making up 40 per cent of our goods exports. This rapid increase has delivered enormous benefits to Australia in terms of jobs and new business opportunities. Yet as important as this relationship is our country was a pretty good place 20 years ago with barely any trade with China. If our trading relationship to China were to decline, I am confident that Australia would remain a pretty good place. Read more

China’s discrimination against Australia will only hurt it - The Courier Mail

Nobel-prize-winning economist Gary Becker argued that those who discriminate end up paying a price. If you employ only males, you miss out on highly skilled women. Your egalitarian competitors will then gain an advantage from a higher-skilled workforce. We are seeing another example of this insight in China’s recent discrimination against Australian beef, ­barley, wine and coal. Read more

Levy on iron ore exports would test China's mettle - The Australian

When my wife decided she wanted a new clothesline this year, we thought we should buy the good-old, Aussie-invented Hills Hoist. Then we discovered that Hills Hoists are now Made in China. As they are made from galvanised steel, I suppose it made commercial sense for Hills to move production to where more than half of the world's steel is now produced. Australia is the world's largest exporter of iron ore and coking coal - the two key ingredients that go into making steel. Yet we are now a net importer of steel, something that should be more widely acknowledged as a cause for national shame. Modern times are known as the information age but it is steel that has unlocked the greatest economic advancement in history. Just 30 years ago, two of every three people in our region lived on less than US$1.90 per day. Today, less than 5 per cent of people live in such extreme poverty. Read more

Political hypocrisy abounds on renewable energy - CQ Today

If we could bottle hypocrisy and turn it into electricity, we would never have another blackout. Hypocrisy would be the ultimate renewable energy. I learnt this week of another example. There are high quality deposits of coking coal in New Zealand. A small company, Bathurst Resources, produces two million tonnes of coal a year, including the thermal coal for New Zealand’s five coal fired power stations. The New Zealand Prime Minister has made a big deal of being committed to action on climate change including by enshrining in law a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2020. A little fact that New Zealand has done well to hide though is that Bathurst Resources has exemptions from NZ’s net zero target. Read more

World-beating beef sector has plenty to celebrate - CQ Today

At the start of the pandemic panic, toilet paper shelves were the first to go bare. But not long later, mince and meat departed the supermarket shelves. However, there were some products that remained stubbornly resistant to the bunker mentality. Vegie burgers and tofu shelves remained well stocked. There is a lot of hype about plant based protein but most people just prefer a big, juicy steak. Why then do so many in the beef sector play defence when there is massive support for their industry? Last week the ABC's Landline ran a story about beef's "social licence". A former industry leader claimed that beef is "emerging as agriculture's coal equivalent". This is a load of rubbish in terms of both substance and public support. Read more

Dud Renewables will hurt the hip pocket - The Daily Telegraph

Google lists 16 synonyms for the word "tax". Politicians have used most of them over the years. Levies, tolls, excises, imposts have all been popular choices for those seeking to hide a sneaky tax. No one beats innovation in this field of linguistic camouflage, however, than those seeking to justify a tax to prop up dud renewable energy investments.   Read more

It’s time to legalise e-cigs to reduce smoking rates - CQ Today

Smoking continues to be the drug that kills more Australians than any other. The best estimates indicate that smoking kills around 20,000 Australians annually compared to 6000 from alcohol and 2500 from illicit drugs. Australia probably leads the world in reducing smoking rates. We were one of the first countries to place restrictions on advertising and include prominent warnings on packaging. We are at risk of losing that mantle, unfortunately, because of a reluctance to legalise e-cigarettes. Read more

Mess of Labor’s making - CQ Today

The US President is taking to court allegations that its recent elections lacked integrity. We like to think that our voting systems are comparably unimpeachable. We don’t have “hanging chads”, we don’t use complex software to tabulate results and our elections are run by a central independent agency, rather than a patchwork of 10,000 different bodies as in the US. Australians have an electoral system they can trust, but the Queensland Labor government has undermined that system with the undemocratic amendments they made to local government elections last November. Read more


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