The USS Quad Damage

They should do this in a nightclub

He who shouts the loudest gets the sorest throat?

Q & A lovingly called “Qanda” by the host, Tony Jones, looks like it’s shaping up to be a great TV program. I’m going to talk through the second show, with some notes:

What’s the effect of Fuelwatch and how will working families deal with increasing petrol prices?

  • Fuelwatch was tried in WA and succeeded to some extent (2c/l saving).
  • Greens: We should be doing what Germany is doing – getting the biggest fuel users to subsidise those who use cheaper forms of transport.

[SK: This is the thing that shits me about the greens. They talk a lot but don’t give a real plan. How exactly do you do this? The impression I get from Bob Brown is that you spend billions on public transport infrastructure, which makes it cheap to get anywhere, and you tax petrol a lot. This is fine but there’s no transition to it (what do you do for the years where the infrastructure is being built?), and it seems like Labor’s plan is the closest thing to a transition plan. The Greens need to stop lamenting the failures of other parties and think “Right, in 2011 we might be government, how do we split the cash?”]

Side discussion – Governments shouldn’t be leaking documents, this is a sign of a bad government.

  • These documents are private and shouldn’t be released, because that would stop people from putting frank opinions inside.

[SK: The leaking side-point went down way too well on all members of the panel for my liking. I’d prefer if all internal chatter was published and monitored. I’d want it to be party policy that all meetings, conclusions, etc. were in the public eye. It wouldn’t really stop people from being frank. Once people got used to the idea that it’s OK to have an opinion and for people to disagree, even though decisions could be made based on facts, it would be fairly simple I’d assume. Private enterprise seems to work on this principle.]

We should try and reduce our reliance on oil.

  • Tania’s position is basically that there’s oil relief in Fuel Watch but there’s also money being put into, for example, public transport.
  • Bob’s strongest point here is that $9b is going to the fossil fuel industry, which could easily be diverted for better infrastructure and better fuel systems.
  • Tania’s response is that $20b is going to infrastructure in general across Australia.

Side discussion – Government is planning a hybrid car (among other things) which are beyond the next election

  • Tania dodges question

[SK: I don’t know why she did this. All she needed to say was that this was forward looking, and that’s a good thing. The idea is that the government is putting thought into what to do, which is more important than just focussing on “right now”.]

Side discussion – We’re taxing hybrid cars at twice the rate of normal cars (10% vs 5%).

  • Luxury tax of 33% on larger more expensive cars. (SK: Unfortunately hybrids often fall under that tax as well)

Side discussion (fucking politics and not sticking to the point) - Government’s position is inconsistent between raising oil prices (carbon tax) or lowering them (fuel watch).

  • Tania says they’re all about keeping a downward pressure on petrol prices.

bq.[SK: This wasn’t really dealt with because it’s basically sassing (Tony Abbott has so much sass he’s pretty much black), but I can understand the ultimate goal here – keep prices high on petrol through tax, but make sure the oil companies aren’t profiteering. However, that’s not what Tania said (wierd).]

NSW Government basically sucks at public transport, why?

  • Tania: They’ve been opressed by the Howard government. They will get better now.

Bill Henson is freaking sweet. Is he a pedophile?

  • Louise: Bill Henson is freaking sweet. He should be able to do whatever he wants, and we should be pushing the boundaries with art. He’s been charged with child pornography and the work is not "titillating"
  • Warren Mundine: It’s OK to be liberal, and sure it’s not tintillising [sic], but the real issue is that we have a society which is concerned about kids, and a lot of children are being sexually abused (case in point: aborigines) so we should at least have an arguement about this, and it’s legitimate to be challenged about whether his work is appropriate.
  • Abbott: Kids posing nude is not a good thing to be doing.
  • Audience: Does the girl actually have the capacity to consent? Would she look back at the work and regret it?
  • Tania: This is important and also an issue with the amount of information that is freely available on the web. Perhaps we should be having conversations with young people about not exposing too much of themselves either on the internet or on photographs.

[SK: IMHO I agree with Mundine here – it’s a complex issue and we need to talk about it. Amazingly, despite everything, Tony’s views are the most consistent — It’s not appropriate, no questions asked. If I was taking a first stab at the policy writing that would be my “simplest non-trivial” solution. Louise’s viewpoint is very extreme. She either believes there’s some sort of cultural elite who should determine whether a work is appropriate, or she believes that everything is fair game, including child pornography. The real problem here is that it’s hard to define “art”, so a lot of shit could pass through the barriers here. She also doesn’t address consent. I guess since I’m OK with everything being on the web, I suppose I have to be OK with consent.]

Camden is not full of racists!

  • Yes it is.

The rest of the questions were trolls or jokes, or side whinges by Bob Brown. Alternately things that didn’t pique my interest. In any case, this was an interesting show, and they have a fairly active forum, etc. This could be something worth joining.