Friday, October 5, 2007


On Thursday 9th August 2007, Sarah Antico, Aleks Krajcer and I took an educational road trip to Canberra. It was precisely 11.37am that we stood to observe a House of Representatives standing committee hearing on Industry and Resources at Parliament House. This was not my first experience at such a location, however with a broadened knowledge and more vested interest in the Australian Parliament now as opposed to last time I visited when I was in Year 6, I found the experience a lot more worthwhile and not as boring.

My expectancies of a committee hearing were similar to what I viewed in question time on the ABC radio however, to my ignorance found that it was completely different and more enjoyable. I got to experience and observe first hand, a formal proceeding of the parliament that was made up of members from the House of Representatives and the Senate including both government and non government members.

The committee hearing covered the following topics:
The development of the non-fossil fuel energy industry in Australia.
A comparative study of the following renewable energy sectors: solar, wave, geothermal, tidal, wind and hydrogen.
A case study that examined the relative state of development of these sectors and their prospects for economically viable electricity generation, storage and transmission.

The main focus however, was on the state of the art solar energy world wide and how with the use of storage technologies we now see the future of solar energy in Australia. This was all demonstrated in a very civil and structured manner with one person talking at a time, and everyone taking on their own roles. The person that was speaking would stand up and everyone else’s focus and attention was on them. Each person spoke with power and confidence demonstrating their educated knowledge on the topics, with the all other members listening profusely with respect, curiosity and deep interest. Real life applications, pictures and PowerPoint presentations were used in aiding the expression of such information.

When I first heard the topics that were to be discussed at the hearing were alternative energy resources, I must admit I was a little disappointed as I thought there were plenty of other topics I would rather have been listening to. I then however realised how important such an issue is, not just to Australia but worldwide, and the severe impacts that carbon emissions have on global warming and in turn our precious planet earth almost then putting me in suspense and huge attention focus on what I was about to hear.

On the way home from Canberra Sar, Aleks and I discussed what we had witnessed and all concluded how disappointed we were in the fact that it was such a huge, relevant and vitally important topic, however the main focus of the hearing was on money and funding for the implementation and construction of alternative energy power stations. Their were concerns about the expenses that they would incur but what I don’t understand is that while the issue of global warming and its disastrous effects on plant Earth are always spoken about, funding cant be prioritised for an issue that is so detrimental to the future of our nation.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Question time - just a PR Stunt?

My first experience with listening to question time on the ABC radio was a very intense half hour. I didn’t know what to expect and never knew politicians to be so immature, yet humorous and conniving. It opened up my mind to the political happenings that are taking place at the moment educating me on both parties’ views and knowledge on different topics of relevance. With the election coming up the conversation and rivalry amongst the coalition and the opposition was intense, powerful and somewhat bitter.

Julia Gillard, the deputy leader for the opposition commenced question time asking the special minister of state, Gary Nairn about a community meeting where there were reports that his chief of staff Peter Phelps asked Colonel Peter Kelly whether or not “he compared his military experience in Iraq to that of Nazi guards at the Belsen concentration camp”. Such a comment was seen as very rude and offensive and created much background uproar and debate. The minister of state answered the question in ignorance in that he wasn’t at the meeting but believed that Dr Phelps went along in personal capacity and contributed to the debate like would have been expected.

The next question that was asked by the Honourable Member for Deakin, Phillip Barresi was aimed at putting the labour party to shame and was a bitter attack on Kevin Rudd. The question was addressed to Treasurer Peter Costello about informing the audience on tax rates and thresholds that apply in the personal income tax system of Australia. This question was tactically aimed at making the liberal party look well educated, powerful and informative on this topic, completely opposite to that of the opposition party. Opposition leader Kevin Rudd acted immaturely during this time turning his back on Peter Costello and the labour party refusing to listen to what was about to take place as quoted by Peter Costello, he “doesn’t want to front up to his ignorance on the tax policy’. He was put in the limelight for his lack of knowledge and interest on Australia’s economy and tax system as Peter Costello quoted, “He is naked when it comes to understanding the tax system’. This was all due to the fact that Kevin Rudd couldn’t answer questions regarding the personal income tax system. The attack went so far as to state that Kevin Rudd should therefore not be Australia’s next Prime Minister.

The question time then changed topics focusing on a question to John Howard regarding safety of school children. This question also gave the liberal party a chance to boast on their good doings as John Howard tactically changed the subject, noting the successful decrease in employment rates the Member of Bass has achieved. John Howard then noted all the positive things they were introducing for the safety of Australian school children, e.g. new buses in regional and rural areas with seatbelts.

Topics then changed to transport and regional services and expenditure on education. It was at this point that my concentration was beginning to decrease.

Public Relations was taking its toll for the Liberal party as they seemed to be using this question time as an opportunity to place themselves in the limelight as the most powerful, educated and well informed party.
It was interesting to note at this point how sly politicians can be in making sure they are putting themselves in a positive limelight by shutting down their opposition, attacking their faults and voicing all their weaknesses. I would not have ever thought politicians would behave in such a rude manner in question time, shouting at one another, talking over one another and simply refusing to listen at times that suit. I think I expected it to be a little more civilised and structured where one can view opinions and current happening that are taking place in parliament first hand, without the bias delivery from journalists that we otherwise receive. As I have a very small knowledge on the political system of Australia, it is hard for me to make an accurate judgement of who is right or who is bias. Question time is not really something I would choose to listen to in times of leisure however it has definitely changed my views on politicians and what goes on.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Hi Hotshots!!!!

well well well, im finally joining the blog clan!!!happy public affairs studying, cheers until next blog!!!!
Shout out to Miss Sar Anticoconuts!