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Sky is falling? Actually, no


Peter FitzSimons

The Fitz Files

<em>Illustration: Reg Lynch</em>

Illustration: Reg Lynch

You will recall that long after the ALP warned the GST would be a disaster for the national economy, long after it was proved that was not the case at all - and it was actually an excellent tax - the Labor heavies were still going on about it. But no one was listening.

Is it just me, or is the same thing now happening with the Coalition on the carbon tax? Tony Abbott's stark warnings that it would be a ''wrecking ball'' on the economy, that places such as Whyalla would become a ''ghost town'', are now in the category of ''demonstrable nonsenses''. Most of Australia has just got on with it and the main thing is it is working.

A mate of mine who works for a major polluter was telling me last week that because of the carbon tax, huge chunks of his company's energy is focused on reducing its emissions. This has been duplicated across Australia and, as Greg Combet revealed last month, there has already been a 7.6 per cent decline in emissions intensity compared with 2011-12. Triumph!

Despite all this, Abbott is still saying: ''The next election is going to be a referendum on the carbon tax.''

But, for my money, only the diehards who are happy for future generations to die hard are still vigorously protesting the tax.

The whole thing is working. In that context, how strong is Abbott's ''rolled-gold'' promise to scrap the tax? What support will he really gather from both the electorate and his own party?


Don reignites flame

Up Dubbo way, in the Barbeques Galore store, they have been serving a lovely gentleman - ''Mr Don'' (who turned 80 a few years ago) - for many years, filling his gas bottle, helping him with cooking advice and so on. Last Monday, he came into the store to thank the owner for looking after him so well, and to advise he was leaving town permanently.

Really, the owner replied, how so?

Well, Mr Don replied, a few months ago, he turned his calendar over and saw a message that said: ''Give an old friend a call.'' Remembering the date was the birthday of a childhood sweetheart, he decided to follow the calendar's advice and track her down through the old network. Several days later, he found she was living in Brisbane and he gave her a call. She was happy to receive this call from out of the blue, explaining that her husband had passed away three years earlier and that he had never remembered her birthday, and how nice it was that her old flame had.

''Well,'' our octogenarian replied, as smooth as silk, ''I'll never forget, because even though it was 58 years ago, you were the girl who stole my heart.'' Are you with me, tree-people? God bless you, because I am singing for you, too. For, you guessed it, the flame was reignited and they are a couple once again. Mr Don is moving north, where he can be close to her and continue their relationship.


Brand is blown

The response to Alan Jones's predictable rise in the ratings has been hilarious. ''Vindication!'' his supporters cry. Uh, no. Jonesy has built up a huge following with his particular brand of ''bogan bigotry''.

Of course, the recent controversy has only strengthened that brand and, of course, the numbers were always going to surge. That is not the point.

The point is the number of major sponsors that no longer want to risk association with that brand. 2GB's own cry about the ratings surge is that it shows Jones's listeners, not offended by his comments on Julia Gillard's father, are equally wonderful. Gee, really? When listeners have consumed that kind of bile for 25 years, whoever thought they would be offended?

The only amazing thing is that, of all brands, the once-mighty NRMA - whose brand is fundamental decency, but it's wavering - has returned to the Jones show, apparently at the direction of its president, Wendy Machin. What is she thinking?


Joke of the week

I would like to share an experience with you about drinking and driving.

A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends and had a few too many beers and then topped it off with a couple of margaritas, with some gin for a chaser. Not a good idea. Well over the limit, I did something I've never done before: I took a bus home! Sure enough, just down from the pub, I passed an RBT police ambush, but because it was a bus it was waved past. I arrived home safely without incident, which was a real surprise.

I have never driven a bus before and am not sure where I got it.



Hope you enjoy excerpts of my latest book, Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution, in today's issue. I am, frankly, thrilled with it.


They said ...

In response to the ... [story in Woman's Day alleging I was a stripper], I have questions. If I was a stripper, and I'm not, what's the crime? 
Brynne Edelsten. No crime at all, ma'am, and good luck to you!

Lower Manhattan is being covered with seawater. I am not exaggerating. Seawater is rushing into the Battery Tunnel.
Howard Glaser, director of operations for the state of New York.

[Meat Loaf's rendition sounded as] if it were emanating from a dying cat that just had its tail stomped on.
Gossip website Gawker takes a dim view of the singer's rendition of America the Beautiful at a Mitt Romney campaign stop. Where is Clint Eastwood — preferably in Dirty Harry mode — when they need him? 

One of the great pleasures of private life is that I need no longer be polite to nincompoops, bigots, curmudgeons and twerps who infest local government bodies and committees such as yours. In the particular case of your committee, that pleasure is acute.
This excerpt from a letter written by former federal Labor minister Gordon Bilney, to a public servant, was recalled this week upon his death, at the age of 73.

He is 34, I'm 48. People can see that Shayne is connected to the government and Shayne can deliver.
Shayne Mallard, a City of Sydney councillor with 12 years' experience, maintained that Shayne, Shayne, Shayne could do the best job taking over Clover Moore's seat in the NSW Parliament, and rival candidate Alex Greenwich was too inexperienced. Greenwich dusted him. 

The polls that count — that is on election day.
Deputy Liberal Party leader Julie Bishop utters the most hackneyed cliche in the political game, after the latest Newspoll showed a 50-50 split with the ALP. 

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