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Debate on Infrastructure Australia Bill 2008

Senator MILNE (Tasmania) (9.33 am)-I would like to raise a couple of general things before I get to my amendments. In particular, I would like to start with the definitions-and this is very important because it relates to the whole purpose of why we are establishing Infrastructure Australia. What the Infrastructure Australia Bill 2008 says is that the definition of:nationally significant infrastructure includes:
(a) transport infrastructure; and
(b) energy infrastructure; and
(c) communications infrastructure; and
(d) water infrastructure;

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You can afford the house, but the bills'll send you broke

This was orginally published in Crikey's daily email today, March 5.

Let's imagine for a moment that the policies put forward in recent days work and, in a few years, more people are able to pay the purchase price for new homes again. Let's imagine - and this is easy to do - that these policies are implemented in a vacuum, without consideration of other, interlinked issues. What might be the flow-on effects?

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Estimates transcripts on climate, biosecurity, agriculture, regional rorts and more

Catching up on the last few weeks, I've finally posted a pile of transcripts of Senate Estimates hearings to Christine's website.

For those with a bit of time on their hands - or fast readers - there's some choice tidbits there that are really worth finding.

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Car giant GM prepares for peak oil: Will Rudd finally heed the call?

Australian Greens Climate Change Spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, who has been warning the Senate of looming peak oil since her election in 2004, today urged the Rudd Government to put the shift to clean transport at the heart of its innovation program.

Senator Milne said "The very public acknowledgement by Rick Wagoner, Chief Executive of General Motors, opening the Detroit motor show overnight that peak oil is with us and we must move rapidly to clean alternatives, exposes the fact that Australia is utterly unprepared for this shift.

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2008 - the year peak oil joins climate change at the top of the agenda?

As a couple of our resident peak oilers have already pointed out in comments (while some of us were off resting over the holidays), 2008 began with a bang on the peak oil front, with oil reaching US$100 on the very first day of trading in New York. While much of the mainstream media were still attributing this to geopolitics, the falling US dollar and a cold northern winter, all of which undeniably played a role, OPEC blew the whistle on the aspect which only a few are yet publicly acknowledging - demand is outstripping supply.

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'Don't talk about the coal': Rudd and Howard's climate blind spot

Australian Greens climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, called on the Government and Opposition to heed warnings from opposite ends of the spectrum – former World Bank executive, David Wheeler, and Greenpeace – to tackle our dependency on coal for energy.

Senator Milne said "Both the big old parties will only talk about climate change when they think they absolutely have to, and neither is willing to challenge coal's position.

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"Greenspan is completely wrong" on Iraq war and oil – Minchin

The US' elder statesman on finance, Dr Alan Greenspan has got it "completely wrong" in his new book asserting 'what everyone knows: the Iraq war is about oil', Australia's Minister for Finance told the Senate today.
Greens leader Bob Brown quoted Prime Minister Howard from 4 February 2003: "No criticism is more outrageous than the claim that US behaviour is driven by a wish to take control of Iraq's oil reserves."

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