This week he unveiled his new plan - allowing people who have previously used drugs, had asthma or have certain tattoos to don the khaki.
Giving people a new start in life sits well with the defence minister. While he covets the Liberal leadership today he's own background includes flirting with earring and the ALP.
In fact, as a recent profile in The Age observed: "The Costello camp - and the wider Liberal Party establishment - have contempt for Nelson
"They point with derision to his 20-year association with the ALP and reel off a long list of examples that paint Nelson as a grovelling opportunist who would do almost anything to ingratiate himself with whatever audience he needs to please.
"A particular sore point in the Costello camp is that while they were all busy warring with the Trotskyites on university campuses through the 1970s and early '80s, Nelson was an ALP member."
It may explain nelson's unctious zeal in prosecuting the ideological jihad against university student unionism while Education Minister, a sort of reparations for collaborating.
Next it was the mad hand-clappers rooting for ''intelligent design' that he sidles up to, in a sort of living refutation of the theory concerned.
And, Nelson's enduring legacy to the tertiary sector - the ideological pursuit of AWAs becoming the main criteria for public funding - not excellence in research, but an industrial instrument,
Nelson is the worst sort of Tory, the sort who strike the pose to get ahead - at least you know the muck where a Nick Minchin stands, with Nelson its way more slippery.
His on-going embarrassment at the Kovco stuff-up probably still has a few acts to play out. What is sure is he will shake it off nonchalantly, After all, reptiles need to stay moist.
CFMEU assistant naational secretary Dave Noonan faces the charges, as 107 Perth workers prepare to face charges that could see them fined up to $28,600 each.
Noonan faces fines of up to $2.5 million under legal action to be initiated by the Howard Government this week.
Lawyers for Mr Noonan have been informed that papers alleging a breach of the Trades Practices Act will be served on him as well as his union this week.
The action will be bought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission under secondary boycott provisions drafted by John Howard in the 1970's.
They allege Mr Noonan colluded with Bovis Lend Lease in terminating a Canberra sub-contractor's contract for employing independent contractors in 2003.
"This is a politically motivated attack from a government that is preparing to personally sue 107 workers for taking industrial action," Noonan says
"I am being pursued for standing up for decent conditions and job security in the building industry."
"This prosecution raises a number of questions about the political nature of supposed independent government agencies.
"First, why is the agency choosing the eve of elections for national secretary of CFMEU Construction, for which I am standing, to launch a prosecution against me after more than three years of delay?
"Secondly, it shows the extent the Howard Government is prepared to go in order to prevent union officials from protecting the rights of working men and women."
Last week's move to double GEERS cover for lost entitlements, to 16 weeks, has been criticised by unions who have seen long-serving members dudded millions of dollars.
Marrickville auto component manufacturer, Tristar, is a stark example.
If Tristar closes its doors after next month's expiry of its collective agreement, Andrews' GEERS changes would mean long-serving employees could be short-changed up to $135,00, instead of $141,000.
AMWU organiser, Martin Schutz, said entitlements were central to the retirement plans of many long-serving production workers.
"A lot of these people earn $700-$800 a week. Obviously a nine percent super levy isn't going to provide much of a nest egg," he said.
"Their families rely on the entitlements they have built up over decades of service and they are entitled to, it's their money."
Tristar has slashed its workforce from around 350 in 2001 when Tony Abbott accused them of "treason" for striking in a bid to protect their entitlements, to about 60.
Those left are long-term employees, with up to 40 years of service, and the most accrued entitlements.
Tristar agreed to take out a $17 million insurance bond to cover those entitlements but it is part of the collective agreement and, under Howard's regime, a company can apply to terminate an agreement, leaving staff with only bare bones legal minimums.
Nobody is saying Tristar will try it on but the threat exists and the fear amongst those left is palpable.
Unions, including the AMWU, have lashed GEERS as corporate welfare that rips off taxpayers as well as workers.
They have pushed for insurance bonds and industry-wide insurance schemes to cover defaulting employers.
GEERS was introduced after National Textiles, headed by John Howard's brother Stan, went bust in the lead-up to a federal election, leaving employees without accrued entitlements.
ACTU secretary, Greg Combet, said Andrews' adjustment to GEERS wouldn't even cover the average displaced worker until he or she found a job.
Studies show the average length of unemployment for redundant Australian workers is 22 weeks.
Combet said the federal government should be moving to protect jobs, rather than planning to lose them.
"What we are seeing is a federal government that has waved the white flag on Australian jobs and industries," Combet said.
"What displaced workers want is what they are entitled to - 100 percent of their entitlements."
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said it was time for a fresh look at portability and called for debate at the upcoming ACTU Congress in October.
While workers in the building and construction industry have long had the right to take entitlements from project to project, most workers never get the chance to access Long Service Leave.
"What we are seeing is an increasingly mobile workforce where the idea of keeping a job for ten years is not even on the radar," Mr Robertson said.
"Because of this rights like Long Service Leave are simply being whittled away - and withy it the valid need to have breaks from the workforce to undertake study or simply recharge the batteries."
"Rather than getting bogged down in structural debates over issues like a unitary system, we should be talking about creating new rights relevant to a new generation of workers.
The Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers Association (QRTSA) is flogging a $750 deal to show bosses how to bypass award conditions.
An advertisement posted on the association's website promises to let bosses in on the secrets of how to:
- make casuals work more than 30 hours per week;
- combine meal and rest breaks;
- chip away at public holiday rates;
- use a flat weekend rate;
- cash out annual leave;
- make workers pay for till shortages;
- make workers pay for their uniforms; and
- have workers provide medical certificates for one day absences.
The ad says an agreement with these conditions "may make your business more attractive to potential purchasers!"
"In fact, your workplace agreement could be one staff meeting away!"
ACTU president Sharan Burrow labelled the association's approach "the ugly side of the Howard Government's new IR laws".
"The QRTSA is even encouraging retailers to take advantage of the Federal Government's new IR laws to exploit young people by requiring juniors to work short shifts and avoid paying for a minimum block of three hours," Burrow said.
"If one employer takes up the opportunity that the Federal Government has given it to cut wages and conditions you can be sure that it won't be long before others are forced to follow suit."
Awards, such as the National Fast Food Retail Award, require a minimum of three hours paid work for each rostered day.
Market-friendly AWAs have started to roll out across the 1500-strong Medibank workforce, located in over 100 locations across the country.
The individual contracts average the 38 hour week over 12 months, remove limits on the days or times an employee can be directed to work and cut overtime payments for late night or weekend work.
The targeting of working conditions is made easier by increased powers employers have under WorkChoices, according to CPSU National Secretary Stephen Jones.
"With women forming the majority of our members, often working in branches with small staff numbers, balancing work and family life is a top concern and a constant juggling act.
"These AWAs make it easier for staff to be directed to work whenever management wish, while removing incentives like overtime that will strike a real blow on already stretched family budgets," he said.
With the Government making no secret of its plans to sell off the national health insurer, maximising the share price before any sale by driving down labour costs is proving a powerful incentive to management.
"It's a classic case of workers being hit with a double-whammy - much tougher bargaining laws due to WorkChoices and the proposed sale of Medibank," Jones said.
"Not only will any sale of Medibank have a negative impact on workers, we believe the sale will be bad news for the community, Medibank members, premiums and the health system in general.
"Not one of Medibank's three million members has even been consulted about the plans to privatise.".
In response, the CPSU has kicked off a national campaign that raises questions over the Government's plans to sell the latest piece of the family silver.
Since releasing a survey this week about the planned sale, Jones said the union had received hundreds of responses.
Find out more on the campaign to save Medibank by visiting http://www.savemedibank.net.au
The Anglo Australian company refused to talk to striking workers at Chile's Escondida copper mine until the country's Socialist president, Michelle Bachelet, intervened, last week.
The mine's 2000 unionised employees - 97 percent of the workforce at the world's largest copper mine - had been on strike for a fortnight when Bachelet sent her Labour Minister north.
Immediately after discussion with Santiago's representative, BHP upped its wage offer from three to four percent, along with a $16,000 a head sweetener.
Earlier, BHP Billiton had refused to talk to the miners' union because, it claimed, a blockade, in support of their action, was "illegal".
Miners in the country's north developed a reputation for militant resistance after Chile's democratically-elected government was toppled by a US-backed military coup in 1973.
Bolstered by Washington and Britain's Margaret Thatcher, the Pinochet regime used murder and torture to suppress democracy and put Chile on an extremist economic course.
Last week's record, $13 billion BHP profit announcement is also being tainted by revelations at the inquiry into the rorting of the UN's oil for food program in Iraq.
BHP Billiton has been linked to AWB efforts to bribe former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.
In Australia, the company runs a strong anti-union line.
BHP Billiton led the field in using AWAs to try to deunionise its workplaces
It's hardline industrial policies were fingered by an independent safety inquiry following deaths at three of its Pilbara sites in 2004.
Perth solicitor Mark Ritter, found those policies were a "factor which has impacted and continues to impact on the successful implementation of safety systems"
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has reported growing concerns from Drug Control Officers in the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority about home testing.
National secretary Stephen Jones said officers were concerned about the potential for confrontation due to the lack of clear guidelines for home testing.
"Our members feel a bit like the meat in the sandwich," Jones said.
"We need clear and agreed standards regulating the conduct of testing at athlete's homes in order to preserve the good working relationship between Drug Control Officers, athletes and sports organisations.
"Everyone wants to see professional sport drug free and we accept that ASADA has the power to conduct testing anywhere and anytime. However, there needs to be a recognition that home testing is, by its nature, invasive and increases stress and tension for athlete and tester alike. "
Rugby League Player's Association (RLPA) spokesperson Matt Rodwell described the move as 'a great idea.'
Rodwell told Workers Online the current situation was confusing for players and there was a need to clarify the issues surrounding home testing.
He said players did not have adequate information about how home testing was supposed to occur.
"We think developing a Code of Practice deserves support," Rodwell said.
Tony Dempsey from the Rugby Union Players Association also indicated backed the proposal.
"We see it as a positive step forward and we'll be discussing the proposal when we meet with our counterparts from Rugby League and the AFL early next week," he said.
Opposition racing spokeswoman Sue Napier is howling about the lack of safety fences for greyhounds at Elwick racecourse, while her federal colleagues are dismantling OHS safeguards for humans.
Inside-runner Miss Trick was killed after it ran into a railing at the track.
Napier said she had written to the Tasmanian Racing Minister to have a safety fence installed.
"The owners didn't want to go across to Elwick in the first place but they had to and it's a really sad thing, even things like dog boxes originally being in the wrong places, a whole series of problems," Napier said.
Owner Walter Tusyn said Miss Trick was a good dog.
"I raised her from a pup and while she wasn't a super dog she was top-line," owner Walter Tusyn said. "But none of that matters."
Napier's growlings come as the Federal Liberal Government works on national OHS laws to reduce the accountability of bosses in workplace accidents.
Minister Kevin Andrews has given speeches stressing education should be favoured instead of punishing bosses for workplace deaths.
The Federal Government's WorkChoices legislation bars union safety training from workplace agreements.
Member of the Public Service Association will walk off the job this week, bringing House sittings to a standstill, as part of a growing backlash against $2.8 million in cuts to the public service.
NSW treasurer Michael Costa has earned the ire of workers, closing the MP's private dining room and bottle shop as part of across the board cuts.
But opposition leader Peter Debnam is no cheer leader for the workers, having set the target of 29,000 public sector jobs cuts if he wins the election.
Workers have placed a series of bans already including banning room service, cleaning MP offices, delivering mail and newspapers and refusing to issue security passes to visitors.
PSA assistant general secretary Steve Turner says the workers were taking a stand on behalf of all public service workers.
"These workers at the heart of public policy are facing the same cuts to resources, job threats and lack of respect as all NSW public service workers," Turner said.
The Australian Industrial Relations Commission green-lighted the ballot, after a four-hour hearing at which company lawyers tried to frustrate on-the-job resistance with legal and technical arguments.
WorkChoices allows employers to strip "protected" conditions and cut wages below award standards but imposes detailed technical and beuraucratic requirements on workers who seek to resist.
Employees who take industrial action before jumping through the legal and technical hoops imposed by Canberra face substantial fines and the possibility of unlimited damages.
The Australian Electoral Commission will conduct the Radio Rentals ballot in Adelaide, next week.
AMWU assistant national secretary, Glenn Thompson, said technicians were left with "few alternatives" when their employer sacked three union activists and unveiled AWAs that would strip the rest of core award protections.
Thompson said the company, represented by anti-worker Adelaide law firm, EMA, had torn up negotiated conditions and employed a dodgy corporate restructure to further its agenda.
Thompson said Radio Rentals had:
- told the union "categorically" it would not seek to impose individual contracts
- successfully applied to have the existing contract terminated
- sacked the elected delegate and two other activists
- introduced "sub-standard" AWAs
- tried to change the legal identity of the employer from Radio Rentals to Walkers Stores
Thompson said the three technicians declared "redundant" before the AWAs were produced had 30, 27 and 17 years of service.
As a result of the collective contract being terminated, the delegate lost $86,000 in redundancy pay as well as his job.
Thompson said technicians would be meeting, this week, to determine the forms of industrial action that should be included on the ballot.
While Chancellor Gavan brown is down-playing the push, Workers Online can reveal a team of outsourced HR warriors under the direction of Vice Chancellor Ann Brewer is driving the contracts aggressively.
National Tertiary Education Union NSW secretary Chris Game has fingered Brewer as the driver of the AWAs.
Brewer, whose background is in transport management ruffled feathers last year when she restructures the University's Human Resources Department and outsourced swathes of work to corporate firms.
These firms are now driving AWAs that make it easier to sack staff, take disciplinary action and strip back significant conditions.
They are backing the contracts with a glossy 54 page hand book and have established an 'AWA Service Centre; to administer the contracts.
"While most universities are paying lip service to the Howard Government's demand that contracts are offered to staff, Sydney Uni are leading the charge," Game said
Meanwhile, up Anzac Parade, Uni of NSW Vice Chancellor Fred Hiulmer is under fire for pushing voluntary redundancies among non-academic staff.
Unions fear the slashing of support staff. Already below the national average ratio, will drive academics away from research and teaching.
"Professor Hilmer may believe that this process workers at Fairfax when he was CEO, but he is showing his inexperience in higher education," Game says.
Chair Meredith Hellicar, whose actions in the massive tax-compo rort are still being reviewed by authorites, wants nearly $400,000 a year, in contravention of a 2004 assurance given to asbestos disease sufferers.
Longtime asbestos campaigner, Bernie Banton, confirmed James Hardie had promised not to seek increases for directors until a $1.5 billion asbestos compensation arrangement was finalised.
That arrangement, thrashed out with the ACTU and NSW government, is in limbo over the compensation fund's tax status.
Banton labelled the Hardie directors' latest cash grab "outrageous".
James Hardie revealed last week that it would put directors' fees increases to a vote of shareholders.
Part-time directors want fees doubled to around $130,000 a year, not including stock, while the proposal would see Hellicar's salary jump by more than 50 percent to $394,000 a year.
The move follows the company's decision to reward the two executives at the centre of the compensation scandal, after it was uncovered by a NSW government inquiry.
In October, 2004, James Hardie gave golden handshakes to chief executive, Peter McDonald, and chief financial officer, Peter Shafron, of $8.83 million and $1.25 million, respectively.
At the time, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission was considering legal action against McDonald and Shafron, after the Jackson Inquiry recommended charges be laid for breaches of corporations law.
Hellicar was a member of the Hardie board when it decided to relocate to the Netherlands in a tax manoeuvre that also saw it deny liability to compensate thousands of Australians dying from contacts with its products.
Evidence to the Jackson Inquiry suggested it misled the Supreme Court in its effort to rid itself of Australian obligations.
The inquiry was launched after a vigorous union campaign, spearheaded by AMWU NSW officials, Paul Bastian and Jan Primrose.
Last month, James Hardie gave new CEO, Louis Gries, a $2.5 million pay rise.
Last Thursday, Amcor reported a full year profit of $351 million, and its intention to axe jobs from plants at Box Hill, Scoresby, Brooklyn and Spearwood, WA.
Spokesman, David Brooks, confirmed the Spearwood paper mill would close, with the loss of 87 jobs, while another 122 positions would go with Box Hill's closure.
He flagged the loss of another 22 jobs at Scoresby and Brooklyn.
Amcor has pledged to meet all owed entitlements but AMWU official, Steve Walsh, warned Australian manufacturing was in a critical condition.
"The announcement that another 234 Australians are out of work is another symptom of the government's failure to support manufacturing," Walsh said.
"Just as we've seen recently in the car industry, pressure from big corporations is seeing work go offshore and Australian producers and workers are paying the price.
"Countries like Germany are out-competing China but the Australian Government is leaving our manufacturing to die."
Walsh said AMWU research showed another 200,000 jobs would disappear, by 2020, if federal government didn't develop a plan to support manufacturing.
In his latest escapade, the member for Leichhardt brushed invitations by fax, mail and, eventually, registered post to explain WorkChoices to constituents.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow was left to carry on at the Cairns public forum without the elusive Entsch.
The forum followed numerous occasions this year when Entsch has turned down offers to discuss the laws.
Electrical workers have held three protests outside his office to highlight the former fitter and welder's dodging of the debate.
Electrical Trades Union assistant secretary, Peter Simpson, said Entsch's refusal to debate was "getting to the ridiculous stage".
"Given he voted for these controversial laws, he has an obligation to publicly discuss, and respond to questions from his constituents about, their impact on people's rights at work and bargaining power over time," Mr Simpson said.
Entsch was also a no show at a July forum, attended by about 200 people, and chaired by Cairns radio talkback host, John MacKenzie.
National Industrial Relations Forum 2006
Ends with cocktail evening
Fair Go From Here?
2nd in the 'Fair Go' conference series
Hosted by the Australian State and Territory Governments, this one-day event provides an opportunity for employers, workers, social commentators and academics to engage in constructive and open debate about the real impact of the federal Work Choices legislation on the Australian workplace.
The forum provides an affordable opportunity to hear a balanced and broad range of views from reputed experts in academia and advocacy and will discuss the implications of the federal government's industrial relations changes examine ways of working under these changes and the implications for IR in practice and explore ways forward in the new IR environment.
Date: Thursday 24th August 2006
Location: Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney
Time: 9.30am - 5.10pm
Conference website: www.iceaustralia.com/ir
Fair Go website: www.fairgo.nsw.gov.au/Conference/index.html
Email: [email protected]
Concert of solidarity with Iranian Bus drivers
The International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker Communist Party of Iran is organizing a concert of solidarity with workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company in particularly and generally workers in Iran. This night of solidarity focuses on fundraising for as many as 44 sacked bus workers and their families. The aim of the night is also raising public awareness towards unconditional returning of these sacked workers back to work, and freeing Osanloo, President of the executive board of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company. (Sherkate Vahed Otobosrani Tehran va Hoomeh).
The Iranian singers will in solidarity and support of workers of Tehran and suburbs United Bus Company, presents a very happy night to the audiences.
Speakers from workers union including Andrew Ferguson the State Secretary of the CFMEU and Robert Coombs the Branch Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia will in support of these workers speak at the function.
Foods and drinks will be available in the hall.
Place: Granville Youth & Community Recreation Centre, 34 Memorial Drive, Granville
When: Saturday 26th August
What time: starting 7pm up to 12pm
o Adult $ 15
o Free for children under the age of 10
o Half fee for children over the age of 10
Please book - phone Nazeri on 0411-553-152
Rally for WA Workers
Sydney rallies to support workers on the Mandurah railway project. 107 workers face fines of $28,600 and legal fees under the Howard Government's new work laws for taking industrial action.
Sydney: 10am, Tuesday 29 August
Trades Hall, 377 Sussex Street, Sydney
Wollongong: 12noon, Tuesday 29 August
Corner Kembla and Crown Streets, Wollongong
Newcastle: 1pm, Tuesday 29 August
Civic Park, King Street, Newcastle
Make Life Fair Everywhere
September 20, Wednesday,
Union-Aid Abroad APHEDA Annual Dinner
6.30pm for 7pm start
Petersham RSL (7 Regent St)
More info: 02 9264 6343 or [email protected]
Rekindling the Flames of Discontent: How the Labour and Folk Movements Work Together
A Conference - Dinner - Concert
The Brisbane Labour History Association is holding a Conference/Dinner/Concert on Saturday 23 September. This event will explore the historical relationship between the labour movement and the folk movement in Australia with a particular emphasis on Queensland.
Why? To celebrate the history of the interaction between the Folk and Labour movements, and promote its longevity.
When? Saturday 23 September. Conference from 1pm. Concert from 7pm.
Where? East Brisbane Bowls Club, Lytton Rd, East Brisbane, Next to Mowbray Park
It is still in the formative stages, but to date the following are confirmed:
1-5pm CONFERENCE (will include music with the presentations):
Doug Eaton on John Manifold & the Communist Arts Group in Brisbane, Brisbane Realists
Bob & Margaret Fagan on Sydney Realist Writers
Mark Gregory on trade union & labour songs/music, nationally/internationally
Lachlan & Sue on international perspectives
5 - 7pm Drinks followed by DINNER
7 - 11pm CONCERT
Combined Unions Choir
Bob and Margaret Fagan
Pope Talks IR
Monday 25 September 2006.
Brisbane Work and Industry Futures QUT, and the Department of Industrial Relations Griffith University are convening a one-day conference that explores Work, Industrial Relations and Popular Culture.
David Pope, the cartoonist behind the Heinrich Hinze cartoons will be Keynote Speaker with his presentation - "Is the pen mightier than s356? Cartoons and Work" (www.scratch.com.au)
We welcome any paper that explores the manner in which popular culture is used by unions, management or policy makers or alternatively, how work and industrial relations is represented within popular culture.
Sub-themes for the conference include: - Policy, Influence and Modern Mediums - Which is Reality, Work or TV? - Popular Music: Is it the End of the Working Class Man? - Working in the Movies: What do we see? - Popular Culture as a Teaching Tool. Call for Papers. Abstracts are due 14 July 2006 Full papers are due 11 September 2006 Location; Southbank, Brisbane.
The convenors would welcome participants to submit proposed titles earlier to assist in preparations. For further information please contact Keith Townsend ([email protected]) or David Peetz ([email protected])
There is an epidemic under Howard's umbrella, for business to offer more jobs on a downgraded employee's work conditions
As a job seeker I see it on everyday basis it is a trend.
There is a unified co-operation and direction to lower conditions and wages, planed by government executed by business. It suits business Australia and the Federal Government. The push on behalf of the government is to work under any terms in order to claim lower unemployment.
It is selfishly for the political benefit of business and government-orchestrated on the back of millions of good Australian workers.
The skill shortages are also a false claim of the government to push pay down.
The unions know about it and it is your job to distribute the facts, the potential damage and danger to Australian employees from this biased government.
One thing never to forget: Jobs first to Australians and more important: job sovereignty to Australians
While Howard's partners in the Triad of the Trying have endured serious political damage from the Iraqi misadventure, the track-suited one strides through the quagmire unsoiled.
With the rationale for war exposed as a lie, an ongoing Civil War morphing into conflict across the region unifying Sunni and Shi-ite factions against the West, Howard has played a decisive role in making the world a more dangerous place.
Perhaps it is the absence of Australian body bags, apart from those that get lost; maybe a reaction to the previous Labor leader's over-blown anti-Americanism; or just a testament to Australia's increasingly insular self-absorption.
Now with the unrelenting upward spiral of petrol prices, surely the game must me up. But there he is shrugging his shoulders, saying petrol price are out of his hands and telling people to fill their boot with an LPG converter.
To his credit, Labor's Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd has begun taking on the PM on his Pontius Pilot act, drawing on the work of Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who argues the Iraq war has significantly impacted on global oil prices.
First, it has added significantly to wider instability in the Middle East with a flow-on effect to the risks in investing in oil exploration, extraction and production in that region; and secondly, the fact that Iraq's oil production itself had dropped to less than half its output compared with pre-war production levels.
Academic John Matthews adds detail to this argument in a recent article in Online Opinion.
"Before the war, Iraq was pumping around 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. Before the war, US Vice President Dick Cheney predicted that Iraq's oil output would return to 3 million barrels per day by the end of 2003.
"It has never made it back to pre-war levels, and in January 2006 it was down to 1 million barrels per day, with constant attacks on pipelines and oil installations by the Iraqi resistance.
"A loss of 1 to 2 million barrels per day has not been made up by other oil-producing countries. OPEC is at full stretch, while producers such as Indonesia are falling behind in their race to remain oil independent. This is where the effect of peaking oil supplies may be felt - in the inability of OPEC countries to ramp up their oil supplies in the face of rising prices.
"The makers of the decision to invade Iraq and establish a "democratic regime" - to which John Howard made Australia a party as a member of the "Coalition of the Willing" - cannot escape the consequences of their actions.
"Apart from the debated aspects of this Iraq adventure, such as an increased risk of terrorist attacks (rather than their containment), there is one unambiguous and incontrovertible fact about the Iraq War - and that is the reduction in oil output that has led to rising oil prices."
That's one part of the mystery solved: the more glaring riddle is why the media allows the PM to keeps on walking, when his people can no longer afford to drive.
As industrial relations is the pathway of economic management to the kitchen table, so is petrol prices the way global politics gets a seat. It is a political opportunity that should not be squandered.