Last week the House of Representatives passed the Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill.
The policy intention is to combat the international trade in illegally logged wood - by making it illegal to import into Australia timber which has been illegally logged in other countries. So far, so good – we can all agree that it is highly desirable to stop criminals chopping down virgin rainforest in Indonesia or Brazil in breach of local laws.
One of the most important industry sectors in Australia is higher education.
In a competitive globalised economy the premium earned by people with innovative ideas is enormous. High wage advanced economies like Australia need to compete in areas of relative strength. Research and higher education is one such area.
The National Broadband Network is squandering public money on an unprecedented scale.
The chaos has been so great that some aspects have not received the scrutiny they really deserve.
As part of its deal with the Greens on the carbon tax, the Gillard Labor Government announced the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – into which $10 billion of taxpayers’ money will be ploughed.
On 1 July when the carbon tax comes into operation, will we see extensive price rises throughout the economy? The Gillard Government seems keen to give the impression that we won’t see much in the way of price rises at all. For one thing, they say that the ACCC will be on the case, looking out for price increases which cannot be justified.
I have just finished a visit to Bendigo with the Coalition Online Safety Working Group. Our visit was hosted by Senator Bridget McKenzie, the National Party Senator for Victoria, and we were also joined by ACT Senator Gary Humphries and Tasmanian Senator Stephen Parry. We started the day in a meeting with the Bendigo South Football Netball Club, talking about the impact of Facebook and social media for a large, youth-oriented community organisation.
There’s been a lot of talk about last week’s budget. Was it a Robin Hood budget, taking from the rich and giving to the poor?
Was it a surplus budget, showing a new determination by Wayne Swan to keep the finances under control?
Yesterday the Parliamentary Committee which oversees the NBN visited the pleasant South Australian town of Willunga, in the wine growing district of McLaren Vale on the southern outskirts of Adelaide. The purpose was to have a look at the NBN installation in the town (one of the five first release sites on the mainland of Australia) and hear from some of the locals about the impact of the NBN.
Last week I raised questions about editorial content regarding the NBN in both the North Shore Times and the Sydney Morning Herald which appeared to be associated with payment for advertising.
NBN Co has conceded that the glowing article about the NBN which appeared in the North Shore Times and other News Limited local newspapers was written as part of a deal in which NBN Co paid for advertising, releasing a statement in which it said: “The editorial space was negotiated after NBN Co took out advertisements in the titles to inform people of the rollout”.
Yesterday I was in Darwin with the Coalition Online Safety Working Group, talking to school children at Essington School and Marrara Christian College about how they use the internet and whether they have had bad experiences online.
The Coalition Online Safety Working Group was established earlier this year by Tony Abbott, who asked me to chair it.