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Cha-Ching!: Profits VS Lives


Okay, my choice of title is a little melodramatic and I maybe blowing things out of proportion, but perspective is akin to a hard cold shower.  

Let me start with a news story from the weekend and link that to the number one promise made by Tony Abbott in most recent election; that of STOP THE BOATS.  

The story I refer to was the blitz conducted by the police in NSW as well as other states. In NSW, on ONE night alone, police arrested over 700 people for violent or alcohol related crimes. Nationally 2000 arrests were made, the majority for drink driving offenses.  

Just to put this in perspective, apparently the Coalition is concerned that the ‘influx’ of 4000 asylum seekers may somehow infiltrate the country and rob us of Australian values. So to prevent this foreseen threat, the Coalition ranted on about STOPPING THE BOATS. But they ignored the threat already on the streets: young Australians engaged in life threatening behaviour.  

Lets say that alcohol fueled crime only happens on a weekend to appease the Australian Hotels Association. So we are only talking about say 50 nights a year. Such a small price to pay. Of course 50 times 2000 arrests is 100,000 arrests just due to alcohol.  

Last nights 730 Report on the ABC highlighted the trauma that excessive drinking causes. I enclose a link  

Excerpts below:  

KEIRAN WALSHE, VICTORIA POLICE: As a young constable out on patrol you would go to a pub brawl, most of it was fisticuffs. You may have seen the odd billiard cue used. But you didn’t see the level of weaponry in relation to knives, you know, the use of glasses etcetera that we are seeing now.  

BRENDAN NOTTLE, YOUTH WORKER, SALVATION ARMY: We see between 70 to 100 young people a night, and out of that group, one in three indicated that they either had a knife on them at that time or they normally carry a knife, and that was shocking.  

JULIAN BONDY, CRIME RESEARCHER, RMIT: It’s actually getting worse on a per capita basis. If you look back through the decades we are in a space where Australia is a more dangerous place  

Now I know statistics can be created to mean anything. Just listen to Scott Morrison as he rants about the governments in ability to stop the boats from arriving. He does not in any way mention the fact that these people are coming from countries where we have opted to go to war with our allies or were we have been unwilling to apply pressure on repressive foreign governments. Predominantly, they are from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka.

Mr Morrison wants us to not mention the war much like Basil Fawlty did with his German guests.  

Yet I digress. The 730 Report also talked about a proposal that has been used in Newcastle. A trial of reducing pub trading hours  that has reduced the rate of assaults by one-third. When the trial was originally proposed, the Australian Hotels Association claimed it would do nothing to curb crime. The recently published results beg to differ.  

NATASHA JOHNSON: Research published today into the effect of winding back pub closing times from five to 3.30 am in Newcastle shows a dramatic 37 per cent drop in assaults over the past 18 months.  

KYP JYPROS, RESEARCHER, UNI. OF NEWCASTLE: That’s a huge effect. In public health terms, you don’t see – there aren’t interventions which produce effects of that size so quickly and most of them would cost a lotta money. This intervention doesn’t cost anything.  


The AHA of course has its own statistics.  

SALLY FIELKE, AUSTRALIAN HOTELS ASSOCIATION: Our own research shows that those restrictions caused nine out of the 14 hotels in Newcastle to either close, go into receivership or change hands. It caused a drop in employment across the hotel sector in Newcastle of 21.7 per cent and absolutely decimated the late night economy of Newcastle  



So let me get this straight. The AHA claims the 9 out of 14 pubs have either closed down, or CHANGED HANDS. Hmmm. Why would you buy a pub if the business was bad?

And lets look at that second figure in regards to the 21.7 per cent of drops in employment. As stated by Ms Fielke, there are 14 hotels in Newcastle involved in this trial.

I’m only guessing here at staffing numbers per hotel, but I doubt it would be all that large. Secondly, lets take a harder look at the impositions put on these hotels.  

The trial is basically a 1am lockout and a 3am close.  That is it. Apparently this and this alone has caused a 21.7 per cent drop in employment. I think she doth protest too much.  

The call is now on to adopt this trial and roll it out throughout the country. And of course the AHA is determined this does not happen. They would rather have the nation bear the costs of lives lost and lives destroyed from alcohol, then to reduce the profits of the hotel owners.  

This brings me to the second major announcement in the news waves in the past 24 hours; BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers’ call for Australia to embrace a carbon price. Mr Kloppers’ call is not his first, but in the current political climate, it is clearly his loudest. It is another blow to the Coalition whose leader claimed that a carbon price would force BHP to leave the country; a claim he repeated in the election campaign. A claim he can no longer make.  

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi says Mr Kloppers was speaking out of self-interest because BHP Billiton is keen to pursue a nuclear agenda.  

“In share market parlance, people talk up their own book and that’s what Mr Kloppers is doing,” he told Sky News, adding the resources giant’s CEO was pushing alternative sources of energy such as uranium.  

Really Mr Bernardi? So you think BHP wants to forgo the millions of tonnes of carbon it mines and sells worldwide for a fraction of the tonnage in uranium mining?  

But there are more in the Cha-Ching brigade!  

Greg Evans from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), told reporters that the 350,000 were opposed to a carbon tax. He must have made a lot of phone calls awfully quickly to poll their feelings on the issue! But he obviously did not poll them quickly enough as the front pages of this morning newspapers report many major business groups advocating for the carbon tax.  

From the ninemsn website:  

His members (ACCI) want to see tax reform, but not necessarily tax increases, and are very concerned about the impact on profitability from rising energy prices.  


We even had the National Farmers Federation chime in. Ben Fargher announced”   

“Unlike BHP, we can’t pass those costs on. It’s not that we oppose a price on carbon, but at the moment we can’t pass the costs on, we can’t get access to offsets.”  


And there we have it! Cha-Ching!  

Stuff climate change, what about our profits.

My question to the ACCI and the National Farmers Federation and the Coalition is did they actually listen to what Mr Kopplers suggested?  

“Instead of treating this income as windfall revenue, the Government must find mechanisms to return this revenue to the economy – individuals and businesses – and let the markets work.”   

“I think that a price on carbon can only be effective if it is operated in a revenue neutral manner by a government.”  


Mr Kopplers is not saying anything that the ACCI or the NFF or even the Coalition has raised in their opposition of an Emmission Trading Scheme or a Carbon Tax.  

What he is doing though is what none of these are prepared to do: contribute to the debate.  

As I write this, the Coalition is still refusing to participate in the Climate Control committee.  But now business is urging Mr Abbott to get invovled and participate in an outcome that favors not only the country and the globe, but their blue ribbon support areas.  

Can you hear the call Mr Abbott? Here. Let me put it to you in a sound you are familiar with.  


A. Ghebranious        2010            All Rights Reserved  


Pub trading hours  

Carbon pricing

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