The Guardian 2 February, 2005

Dingo bytes

A proposal for a wind farm at Kurnell, the heritage listed site where Captain Cook first stepped onto the continent, has been knocked by the Carr Government. That's fine. It's not an appropriate place anyway. But the Government is instead considering an application by mining company Rocla to mine the peninsula's last available sand dune. The Greens agreed that that a wind farm should not be placed at Kurnell, but pointed out that there has also been a long battle to save the area from sand mining. Knocking back the wind farm, Carr stated, "I know my Australian history, I know what Kurnell means " It must mean open slather for mining companies.

The Commonwealth Bank that branch-closing, anti-worker institution was quick to jump on the populist bandwagon and connect itself with Australian of the Year, Dr Fiona Wood. The plastic surgeon who led the development of spray-on skin for treating burns victims, was called "The Face of Hope" in adverts run by the bank in the daily papers last week. Attributing to Dr Wood those ballyhooed corporate traits of "enthusiasm, innovation and vision" the ads trumpeted, "The Commonwealth Bank is proud to support the achievements of great Australians". The contrast couldn't be sharper a doctor who has devoted her life to healing and saving lives, and a financial giant that was once a publicly owned service and is now a profit-bloated parasite.

Philanthropy is high on the Howard government's propaganda list. So it would interesting to know what Johnnie thinks of the philanthropic innovation and vision of businessman Ian Melrose who is running a $6 million advertising campaign to hound the government over its theft of East Timor's oil and gas. The first ad which says the Howard Government has stolen $2 billion from the people of East Timor ran last week during the televising of the Australian Open tennis and is part of a campaign by a coalition that includes Oxfam and the Uniting Church under an umbrella group called The Timor Sea Justice Campaign. The group warns that at every big event which Howard uses "to promote himself" they will be there "to ambush him".

Doomsday warning dept. A new study by British scientists has found that the planet's global temperature may climb by between 2C and 11C this century, compared to previous predictions of 1.4C to 4.5C. Even smaller increases than that are expected to cause major disasters including melting glaciers, sea-level rises, shut-down of the Gulf stream and increases in extreme weather events. And Australia won't even sign the Kyoto Greenhouse Protocols.

CAPITALIST HOG OF THE WEEK: is Governor-General Michael Jeffery who on Australia Day called on the country's youth to learn more about Australia's democracy. He did this with a straight face. Jeffery would want to hope they don't study it too closely. For one thing, he'd be out of a job.

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