The Gutter Trash

  • High Court finds Chaplains in Schools program is invalid
  • Millions spent on programs so far
  • Govt vows to fight to keep chaplains in schools

The Gillard Government is once again defying the High Court this time vowing to maintain the controversial “School Chaplains” program.

The program has attracted criticism for amounting to a form of taxpayer funded religious indoctrination, propaganda, and a recruitment channel for religious organisations who are given free reign to prey on vulnerable children who may be subjected to unwelcome religious “counselling.”

Originally founded by John Howard in 2006 and lauded by conservative Christians and the religious right, the schools chaplains programs has cost taxpayers some hundreds of millions of dollars on what many regard would be better spent on secular counselling services free from the influence of religious scripture.

Toowoomba parent Ron Williams successfully launched a High Court challenge against the chaplaincy program, arguing it violated…

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The Farnham Report

The following is an extract from Robert Gottliebsen’s article “Gillard’s Perfect Storm“…

The backroom people in the Labor Party must now realise that a series of almost irreversible forces are combining to increase the danger of an Anna Bligh style disaster if a federal election is held around the scheduled date late in 2013.

The first is, of course, the government’s carbon tax position.

Most businesses I talk to say the government underestimated the effect of the tax but its impact is really academic – Australia wide retail power prices are set to rise a massive 37 per cent between 2010-11 and 2012-13, including a 41.7 per cent rise in New South Wales.

Then we will have the mining tax. On the basis of current iron ore and coal prices the mining tax will yield nothing like current Treasury estimates.

By 2013 we will know whether the government…

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Message from reb

Hello fellow human beings (and Toilet Boss)

Tony has asked the question – “WTF is going on?” And I suppose it deserves an answer.

The following is just my view, and joni (and others) may have differing opinions; neither view is perhaps universally right nor wrong, and mine is just my own personal interpretation of how I see things. I guess I owe some sort of explanation.

As most of you know, virtually one year ago (can you believe it?) Tim Dunlop threw in the towel at with his blog site – Blogocracy. A few of us kept in contact via email, and from this early collaboration this new site “Blogocrats” was born..

The editorial content has been mostly written by me and joni with occasional guest posts from other bloggers. The debate has been lively and sometimes heated.

We have tried to be as open as possible – with anyone allowed to comment ‘without moderation’.

As you may be aware, joni and me both work full time, so we don’t really have time to review each and every comment before it is published.

Unfortunately, this has led to some occasions where bloggers have launched fairly personal attacks against other participants.

There have been calls for individuals to be banned, and in some cases this measure has been enforced.

I am sure I speak for both joni and myself when I say that I really feel uncomfortable with the idea of having to ban someone from participating, however this has been a step that some people have felt necessary to impose.

At this time I decided to open The Gutter as a no-frills, trailer-trash type of blog with no pretences about being anything intellectual or intelligent. I also wanted to maintain an “open comments’ policy.

Joni has been working on a new home to replace this site using new technology rather than the wordpress software. The new home is now working and live at

I imagine joni is making some final changes before announcing “The Launch” of the new Blogocrats web site, but for all intents and purposes people can start blogging there now. You will need to register before you can submit comments.

I think one thing that joni and I have always maintained is that Blogocrats belongs to all of us, it doesn’t belong to me, or joni. The site has evolved over time, with input from many of you, and is what it is at the new home.

I imagine that the lights will soon be switched off here soon, and you’ll be able to continue blogging at the new home…


Single-Sex Marriage & Labor Policy

I admire Rudd for many things, but this particular issue has me livid with rage.

The ALP conference has kicked off and there is a few members from the Labor Left who want to adopt single-sex marriage as Labor policy. A futile effort, but one that I think should be tried now, at the next conference, the one after that, and so on until it is adopted. Regardless of how one looks at it, restricting the rights of marriage to us hetero couples is simply prejudice disguised as “family values”. Everyone knows my thoughts on the matter for this issue and it is shared by a majority of the bloggers here – so I won’t repeat myself.

What I will do is highlight the bloody hypocrisy of Rudd and the Labor power-brokers on this issue. Rudd states the following (my emphasis):

I fully accept that its a matter of controversy and there’ll be debate – and there should be – this is an open society where we can debate and discuss these matters

Yet he and his power-brokers are working as hard as possible to bury the debate completely or, at least, out of view of the public. So what Rudd means is that Labor can debate it and decide on these matters without the input of the public and/or their rank & file members. Now if debate is good & this is an issue that should be debated – why are there such strong political manoeuvrings to remove this issue from public sight?

I’m guessing that might be because they know (as we all do now) that ~60% of the Australian public are for a national civil union / marriage scheme that doesn’t discriminate against single-sex couples. Assuming that the Labor rank & file represents the general public (and I personally think they are a little Left of centre, but am ignoring that for the sake of argument) – this would mean a vote on the issue would go against Rudd and the Labor Right dominated power-brokers. In other words, they wish to deal with the issue behind the scenes because the public / rank & file members support something the leaders / movers & shakers of the Labor Party do not.

I just love democracy – don’t you? It’s just lovely when we as a nation and the rank & file members of the Labor Party are not allowed to have our voices heard because those that manipulate things behind the scenes don’t want us to.

Oh, and Rudd claiming a mandate on preventing single-sex marriage is the lowest form of double-speak I can think of. He promised more for single-sex couples than the Coalition, and now tries to imply that the Australian public think that is all that should be done! I don’t know which is worse – setting yourself a low bar so you don’t have to achieve anything (single-sex marriage, carbon polution targets, etc) or introducing something you know nobody wants in the hopes you can make it permanent before people vote you out (WorkChoices).

This is the t-shirt image that joni will be wearing at the protest on Saturday.

T-shirt for rally

Flicrit: Milk Of Sorrows

New Cinema Takes review from MIFF 2009 (Melbourne International Film Festival):

Related post:

Melbourne International Film Festival: all publicity…

Kevin Rennie

The Nuclear Option

Whilst it is always amusing watching the Liberals fight amongst themselves (this time in regards to voting on the ETS); I have been thinking on the issue of alternative energy sources. After all, the two primary opponents of the ETS in the business community are the Energy & Mining sectors. Rio Tinto’s recent submission (alongside the government’s own Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) calls for reconsideration of the use of nuclear power in supplying Australia’s energy needs, especially in light of the ETS legislation.

Now personally, I am against nuclear energy for reasons of “disaster avoidance”. Chernobyl is still off-limits and will be for quite sometime. I am well aware that there are much more secure options in creating nuclear reactors, but I am a risk averse person. The idea of using an energy source that is as dangerous as nuclear fission (with long lived side-effects / waste) is a scary notion. I feel the same way about creating energy from nuclear fusion, should it ever become feasible. After all, the H-bomb is much more powerful than the standard nuclear fission weaponary.

That said, I try to be practical wherever possible. I personally don’t like driving yet own a car because, in today’s age, it is pretty much necessary for my children. I don’t the clergy (or those that act in that role) of several religions, yet I can understand their role in many people’s lives and am friendly toward them so far as we don’t insult one another’s beliefs. And so on. Nuclear energy may not be my favourite method of generating energy, but I like my technology and something has to power it. Coal is something I think needs phasing out, so I need to look at the alternatives.

In looking into nuclear energy though, I am finding that it is not the panacea it is made out to be by it’s proponents. Mostly because, like oil, there is a limited supply of uranium worldwide and the International Atomic Energy Agency predicts that (with current technology) there is only enough to keep a consistent supply (for current usage rates) for the next 85 years at most. This time period would, of course, be drastically reduced if we were to increase our use of nuclear energy to the levels required to reasonably reduce our carbon emissions. They temper this with a claim that “fast reactor technology” could lengthen this period to 2500 years.

However, from my (possibly defunct) research – fast reactors are few and far between and their development has not been pushed for some time (possibly due to the currently “low” cost of uranium). In particular, research & development into a breed of reactor Tony introduced me to, the Integral Fast Reactor, has been shut-down completely by the USA. Given the patent system being the way it is, it is unlikely that anyone else but the USA could re-instate this program. It would appear the fact that this reactor can easily produce weapons grade fissile material is of higher gravitas than its environmental benefits over standard thermal reactors to the USA and, as such, it is not likely we are going to be able to use this technology.

I am interested in other people’s perspective on this. As I said, I have a personal preference against it because of the disaster possibility. I am, however, open to reasonable arguments for the use of nuclear. I, however, get the feeling that there are alot more politics on the international level preventing the adoption of nuclear energy than there are domestic issues. The issues surrounding the development (or lack thereof) of the IFR nuclear option are a case in point.

Of course, feel free to talk about anything else as well – I’m just trying to kick start conversation and think this topic would be reasonably interesting to all.

Flick Crit: Last Ride – breaking the cycle

Latest film review at Cinema Takes: Last Ride: breaking the cycle

Kevin Rennie