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Why should we pay this carbon tax: it sucks

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Australians are not stupid.  They know a carbon tax would take money out of their pay.

They also know that a carbon tax would increase the cost of almost everything they buy. And they might lose their jobs because of it.

Julia Gillard wants to tax us more money.  Tony Abbott doesn’t.

That’s pretty simple.

When Julia Gillard is on TV talking about this, her aim is to convince people to pay more tax.

Doesn’t it always sounds the same :  ” yabba…yabba….climate change ….yabba …..yabba…..climate change.”

Sure, the climate changes,  but why should you and I pay more tax because of that.

The suits tell you that China is doing it, so we must do it too.

But that’s rubbish. China is building big dams to make electricity.  Why don’t we do the same?  We have big rivers and lots of water in Queensland. You’ve seen it on TV.

Carbon pricing is a 10 year old idea that has passed its ‘used by’ date. This carbon tax is a dodgy con job. And you are the ones being conned.


Written by ianandsue

May 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm

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European airline tax headed for turbulent skies

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Like Australia’s controversial proposal for a carbon tax, the airline trading scheme put forward by the European Union (EU) is facing some big obstacles.

For a start, the airline tax, which the EU rather optimistically suggests may operate from early 2012, has been vigorously opposed by airlines from China, the United States, Japan, South Africa, Singapore and even some  European Union countries.

The Americans and the Chinese may well challenge whether the tax is legal; a step that would have financial and timetable implications.

To further confuse the issue, other airlines may moves their bases in a bid to find loopholes in the tax.  This is because of debate and apparent confusion over whether the EU tax would apply for the whole flight to and from Europe, or just the part of the flight that is actually  in European skies.

Additional confusion seems to centre on what the EU intends to do with money raised from the tax.  Would this be directed to helping improve the airline industry – a move that would probably  be supported by all  — or just go into the coffers of EU member states. We’ve all heard about European economic management in countries like Iceland, Ireland and Greece.

Then there is the question of what the EU could do (if anything)  should the tax be simply ignored.  Any further heavy handed approach – like the media articles in non carbon price countries over recent days – might just invite retaliation.

And, like all these so-called Green programs, there is always the contentious issue of exemptions.  Who gets what …. and why?  And what about me?

Europe does not have a great track record in preventing fraud and profiteering in carbon emissions trading anyway  The whole airline carbon tax proposal begs the question of whether it will be yet another naive and massive handout to rip-off merchants.

Rather than the plain sailing suggested by some media outlets, the EU’s airline tax has a lot of turbulence to overcome before we see whether it has wings, whether it stalls on the ground, and whether it actually achieves anything.

Written by ianandsue

May 16, 2011 at 2:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Europe isn’t exactly a poster child for climate change

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Those who support the idea of a carbon tax on Australians are quick to point to Europe as a model.

From my experience, these people often talk about the “success” of a carbon tax in Sweden or somewhere – and then suggest that such taxes or carbon trading systems are inevitable everywhere.

Without wishing to dimish the exploits of a country with less than 10 million people and a history of high taxes and big bureaucracies,  the overall European picture does not exactly make it the poster child for climate change.

Among the engine-room economies, France abruptly ditched its carbon tax plan in the past year after the punters hammered the government at the polls; Germany is trying to untangle a mess of carbon trading fraud and abuse;  and in other countries including Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Holland, more than 100 people have been arrested as fraud and profiteering emerged in carbon trading — for the fourth time.

The Telegraph in Britain reported that last  March it emerged that some governments, in particular Hungary, had started “recycling” credits, or selling on old ones that had already been used for financial gain.

By the end of last year, criminals had stolen credits from Romania in a hacking attack, prompting the closure of its national registry, and allowances were also reported missing in Switzerland.  Then credits taken in another cyber attack bounced from the Czech Republic to Poland, Estonia and Liechtenstein before disappearing.

After the Czech fiasco, the European Commission finally moved to close the entire spot-trading market indefinitely.

In Britain, identity checks were said to be carried out on everyone who registered as a carbon trader.  However,  The Sunday Telegraph reported that the register contained  dozens of companies with addresses in suburban residential streets, sometimes unreachable addresses and Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo email accounts.

Carbon tax supporters in Australia are quick to claim that, for every incident of farce and crime, there have also been success stories. But, it’s impossible to deny that its history of carbon taxing and trading makes Europe anything but  some squeaky clean Green utopia.

In fact, its credibility generally is so poor that the European experience is hardly something to which Australia should aspire.

Earth to Julia Gillard, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott!!

Written by ianandsue

May 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

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If you really want to stop the carbon tax, then get political

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A word of advice for the movement against the Australian Government’s proposed carbon tax: get involved in the system and work with the Federal Opposition on a realistic, credible alternative.

I have no doubt that there is a huge well of discontent about this tax simmering just below the surface of Australia’s suburbs – and waiting to be tapped.

The way I see it, the tax and follow-up emissions trading scheme mainly appeals to the young who are yet to gather wealth, the old who have a decreasing need for wealth, Federal public servants, and extreme environmentalists.

The bulk of the community – with a lot more to lose by a sudden rise in the cost of living – should be easily angered by the proposed measures.

However, the range of groups and organisations currently organising protest should be aware that, by opposing the Federal administration, they are now playing in the big league — and much different tactics are needed.

Have no doubt that the Gillard Federal Government,  its public service, trade unions,and so called climate change advisers form a potent political force that thinks long term, knows how to run amateur rivals ragged,  and is focused only on the main prize.  For these people, there is no need to sell the idea of a carbon tax now, or even in coming months.  Their deadline is the next Federal election in 2013 – and the current anti-tax huffing and puffing, rallies, social media activities etc will not worry them much.

In fact, by announcing a proposed policy when only the bare bones were in place, the Government was probably aiming to draw out the opposition early. A ‘people’s revolt’ that peters out in a few weeks or months would be easy pickings.

The various opponents of a carbon tax need to concentrate all activities on a political level and pace themselves for a drawn out strategic campaign with the clear aim of forcing changes to the policy.  To really win, they will need to become a  bare knuckles, community-based political movement, focusing on the Federal Opposition, which is the key to success.

Blocks of votes can be delivered to Opposition candidates, in return for a credible alternative policy on climate change that does not affect the cost of living in such a severe way.  There is still plenty of time for the Opposition to hold its own public forums and fine tune its current dubious stance.  While community anger will play a role, in reality the carbon tax policy will be beaten only from within the system of government – and by a plan that people understand and support. While the Government is  tilting at so called  ‘climate change deniers’ in our midst, the Federal Opposition can be working away legitimately on policy changes.

Opponents of the tax need to help bring together the Federal Coalition,  business and community groups, conservative state governments and benefactors. The West Australian Treasury has already done a lot of work researching the  economic impact of a carbon tax on families, while the NSW and Victorian governments, for example, can help promote unemployment forecasts in their heavy industry zones.

It’s also obvious that such a campaign must zero in on the Federal Government’s glaring weakness: it’s lack of a majority in the House of Representatives.

Two of the Independent members who currently hold the balance of power — Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsor – must be decidedly nervous after results in their respective areas at the recent NSW election.  Opponents of the carbon tax need a specific Oakshott and Windsor strategy, which winds up the heat on these two as this campaign is unrolled.

And finally, money needs to be raised to finance an advertising campaign, because that is exactly what the Government has on the shelf – courtesy of existing taxes.

Forget today’s polls. To  eventually defeat the raw policy behind this carbon tax, opponents will need to do a lot more than going for a bus ride to Canberra.  They will need to get down in the gutter,play ball with the politicians and force policy changes —– over 15 rounds, not just three or four.

Written by ianandsue

March 30, 2011 at 1:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Do you trust websites?

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It’s not difficult to understand why corporate websites are almost irrelevant.

In this day and age, I’d be keen to know who still relies only on government or company websites to gain information?  Or, more interestingly, I wonder who still believes and trusts information from websites without also checking it with fellow net users?

As blogger, Jeremiah Owyang, said a little while back:

“The corporate website is an unbelievable collection of hyperbole, artificial branding and pro-corporate content. As a result, trusted decisions are being made on other locations on the Internet”.

Jeremiah correctly pointed out that many marketing types are still stuck in the belief that the best ways to reach people online are either corporate websites or on Google search results.

My wife is buying a new kitchen, which is a substantial purchase.  Some kitchen companies have urged her to check their corporate websites, where “you can experiment with designs and kitchen colours etc”.  However, the smarter firms have told her simply to ask about their products on consumer rating sites or social media outlets like Twitter.  And that’s exactly when she intended to do anyway: because – like me – my wife doesn’t much care for the marketing-speak and “positive” information that fills corporate websites.

The wave of transparency that is accompanying social media growth, is rapidly transforming government and company websites, as they shed much of their current ‘marketing’ objective.

The pace of this transformation will probably be increased by tools such as Google’s new ‘SideWiki’.  I was impressed by a demonstration of this tool at Frocomm’s recent New Media conference in Sydney, Australia.  SideWiki is a add-on to the Google toolbar which allows you to add comments to any website. So, if you believe a site is nothing more than a corporate or government PR blurb, you can say so – nicely of course – and leave the comment for others who Google that website.

Yay! More power to web users. Lets hope it hastens the end of useless corporate sites.


Written by ianandsue

March 20, 2010 at 4:45 am

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2010: The year of social media

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Social media is set to explode this year, led by the tremendous growth in the mobile web.

All indications are that everything that has come before will be dwarfed in 2010 – and the big loser will be traditional advertising and marketing.  The trend was signalled in late December, when Pepsi dropped its US Super Bowl advertising spend (after 23 consecutive years) to invest in social media in 2010.

One of the important spin-offs of this growth will be the absolute need for everyone who is serious about communications to undertake genuine monitoring of the social media conversation.  No longer can monitoring be restricted to traditional media, plus the odd website or blog.

My eye was recently caught by a report published by social media aency ‘We Are Social’.  The report reads, in part:

Social media goes up the agenda of organisations
In 2010. companies seem to have plans to invest seriously in social media.
According to BizReport, social media is a priority for marketers: more than half of respondents (56.3%) had planned to include social media in their mix.

According to Charlene Li, “social media will become part of everyday lexicon for business in 2010″ while for Adam Cohen, “Social media gets smarter”: companies will start using social media more strategically.

For Connie Benson, “social media will shift from being experimental to metrics and the loop will be closed so that social media monitoring is necessary and actionable”.

David Armano predicts the mass adoption of social media policies in companies in 2010. This year, companies will understand the importance of investing for the long term in social media, rather than just on specific campaigns.

What was already important for brands in 2009 becomes crucial in 2010: listening to and participating in online conversations as they have a real impact on people’s opinions. Even more so now that Google and Microsoft have incorporated the real-time social web at the core of their search algorithms: Today, when researching a brand; making a shopping decision; or looking to see what your local government representatives are doing, you’ll surely find tweets about it.

So, if you have signored social media, or even hoped that it would just go away, it’s now time to rethink – or be left badly behind.


Written by ianandsue

January 6, 2010 at 11:02 pm

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Women dominating the social side of the online world

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Interesting figures have shed additional light on how the social side of online media is increasingly dominated by women.

Google Ad Planner researched 17 popular social media sites and found a clear gender imbalance.

Of the 17, Digg was the only site where the majority of users were men.

The figures supported research earlier this year, which showed 75% of women who used social networks did so primarily to keep in touch and chat with family and friends.

Only 25% were seeking information, advice, or staying up to date with latest events.

Because most female social networkers are not looking for specific information, they tend to select the network that their friends are using – and then stay there.  Sites that cater for a broader objective, generally  have a more even mix of men and women.

In countries such as Australia, where the majority of buying decisions are made by women, these sort of findings are of particular interest to e-commerce operators, online retailers and their advisors in the PR and technology fields.


Written by ianandsue

December 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized