Passing of a person of faith

FotoSketcher - trevor

Dear Friends and Colleagues

It is with great sadness that I write to let you know that Trevor Davies passed away this morning Tuesday 14 June 2011.

Trevor was due to undergo an angiogram today but was taken to hospital yesterday and had a massive heart attack there. Doctors worked on him for many hours but were unable to revive him. It only became apparent when they operated on him that he had a congenital hole in the heart and an infection.

Trevor had only recently celebrated his 55th birthday.

Trevor was a member and Elder of South Sydney Uniting Church, the founding editor of the South Sydney Herald and long-time Secretary of the Darlington ALP Branch. Trevor was one of the foundation members of REDWatch and was known to very many people within the local community. Please pass word on to those you know who knew Trevor.

We will advise funeral details when known and will also post these on the Events section of

Sad Regards,


Geoffrey Turnbull




Say what? Run that by me again, Gerard…

“As followers of the US media know, there is almost no debate on climate change there.”

Yeah, I thought you said that.

Please explain:

…The perceived influence of "tea party" voters, who helped produce big Republican victories in last year’s elections, has accentuated the swing to the right. So have the actions of the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives and newly elected Republican governors. They are redefining conservatism, by proposing to turn Medicare into a voucher program, calling for draconian cuts in government spending and abandoning cap-and-trade energy alliances once favored by free-market advocates…

Like Romney, Pawlenty has absorbed conservative criticism for actions in governing a Democratic-leaning state. His most prominent turnabout as a 2012 candidate involves global warming, an issue that, polls show, represents one of the sharpest divides between Republicans and Democrats. Conservative skepticism about climate change has grown over the last few years, with two-thirds of Republicans telling a Gallup poll in March that the seriousness of global warming has been exaggerated. New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie, a rising conservative star, announced last month that he was pulling his state out of a regional cap-and-trade compact, saying it hadn’t worked.

As governor of Minnesota, Pawlenty was a strong advocate of curbing pollution via trading systems, in which power plants, factories and other sources of greenhouse gases that beat government-mandated emission caps can sell permits to companies that exceed them. He made a radio commercial in 2008 with Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, now a member of Obama’s Cabinet, pleading with Congress to "cap greenhouse gas pollution now."

But conservative opposition from Sarah Palin and others to what they branded as "cap-and-tax" blocked the measure in Congress. As a candidate for the Republican nomination, Pawlenty has said he was wrong to support cap-and-trade and has apologized, at one point saying it would be "a disaster" for a sluggish U.S. economy…

And so one could go on to nail what has to be one of the silliest sentences Gerard Henderson has ever written. Mind you he is right when he says: “For a nation that is globalised and has one of the best economies in the Western world, domestic debate in Australia is surprisingly insular. Political discussion is focused almost exclusively on the proposed carbon tax and asylum seekers.” To be fair too the rest of the article is rather better than that mad sentence, even if largely irrelevant to the issue of climate change.

But then it may be true that politicians who publish pics of their own dicks rate more attention in the US media…

Meanwhile here in The Gong, carbon tax or no carbon tax Bluescope Steel seems to have its share of woes. That’s the free world market for you, eh! Australia can’t compete in steel manufacture, except perhaps in very specialist niches.

BlueScope’s early retirement scheme, being offered to most workers over 50, is a bid to "swiftly" reduce the size of the workforce and allow "redeployment" of younger employees, the company has told the Australian Tax Office.

In certain divisions of the company, the scheme will be offered to all workers over 55, and all aged over 50 if they have had 20 years of service.

These employees, mainly at Port Kembla but also at BlueScope’s other operations, will be asked to take early retirement packages as the company is restructured in the face of tough trading conditions.

They will be offered a lump sum of $8126 plus a week’s pay (capped at $4064) for each year of service.

In a public ruling, the ATO has decided the early retirement scheme, which came into effect on May 18, is legitimate. At least part of the payments can now be tax-free.

BlueScope has told the ATO it wants to "swiftly" reduce its workforce "by voluntary means".

The steelmaker is facing mounting debt as it battles the effect of a high Australian dollar on its export contracts, while at the same time paying near-record prices for iron ore and coking coal…


See the quite splendid Gerard Henderson, and the Lone Ranger’s thoughts on a clumsy pedant … from Loon Pond.

… Uh huh. How pleasing that there’s almost no debate on climate change in the United States, except when it comes to bashing Al Gore … and Mitt Romney, currently in the lead in polls in the GOP candidate race (and The Book of Mormon has won nine Tony Awards – could this be the start of a Mormon trend? What a fun show it was …)

Well without wanting to sound like Mark Latham – though I wouldn’t mind breaking the odd Sydney taxi driver’s arm, if only in a metaphorical way – you can read the rest of Henderson’s piece, and come up with your own favourite bit of dissembling, and distortion of the truth.

For the most part, Henderson’s keenly interested in proving that the Productivity Commission doesn’t know what it’s talking about – no mandate, problematic findings – as opposed to Gerard Henderson, who of course – it almost goes without saying – does…