Thursday, February 22, 2007

Australian Conservation Foundation likes coal

Tonight I met David Noonan, a nuclear free campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF). He told me a very interesting thing about the ACF's energy policy. The ACF disagrees with The Greens' position that the coal industry should be shut down by government due to its huge carbon footprint. The ACF believes that a national emissions trading scheme should be introduced and that coal should have to compete in that system like every other industry. For more detail, check out the ACF climate change policy here.

Their key points on why the ACF are against new uranium mines are as follows:
  • Uranium fails the test on exports and on public opinion;
  • Uranium is a high risk marginal export compared to the future of renewables;
  • Increasing the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons and of nuclear terrorism;
  • Disproportionate impacts on indigenous communities;
  • Failure of government regulation and corporate performance; and
  • Pressure for nuclear waste dumping increases on Australia.
Again, for the stats and detail to back it up - go to the ACF site on a nuclear free Australia.

Why I joined the ALP

Today I joined the ALP. Ok to be exact, tonight I went to my first meeting of the Telopea sub-branch of the Australian Capital Territory branch of the Australian Labor Party - I am still waiting for the membership paperwork to clear. I could go into a whole range of detail on my views on the various political issues but if I could sum up in a sentence or two why I joined the ALP, it would be this:

I want to be a part of a movement to invest in our community and build a bright future - economically, socially and environmentally. Given that I am an Australian and in Australia I think I should start here. I think the ALP is the best vehicle to do that and that Kevin Rudd would be the best leader for that movement. The ALP is not perfect and we don't have all the answers yet but I believe that sooner or later you have to stop firing your slingshot from behind the bushes.

"Government is a place where people come together." (PJB, WW S1 E12)

Enough said on that for now, back to the sandpit.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Internet advertising spend has overtaken radio, magazine and outdoor

Today’s The Age features the long anticipated report that Australia’s Internet advertising spend has overtaken radio, magazine and outdoor in terms of revenue earned and now sits behind television and newspapers. Revenue from Internet advertising grew 61.5% in 2006 to break through the A$1 billion mark and more than doubled over the previous two years, according to the Audit Bureau of Verification Services in its annual report.

According to The Age’s Graeme Philipson, one important aspect of Internet advertising is that its audience is much easier to measure. Television is maintaining its share of the advertising pie, but print is declining and I agree with Philipson that when more money is being spent online than in magazines, you know the world has changed.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Do you camp? Then you must try BarCamp-ing

Usually camping conjures up images of tents, lilos, bush, fires, mosquitoes, knots, nature, badges, stars etc and for some of us this brings back warm and fuzzy memories. For others it is the very worst idea of a good time. Thankfully I am one of the former but recently I have worried about the social acceptability of wanting access to my precious devices, or not finding enough like minded people with whom I could argue about the world and solve its problems.

Thankfully, some smart cookies have come up with a concept that solves both my problems - the BarCamp. According to them, a BarCamp is an "ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants." You should also be handy with a laptop and expect access to hotspots.

Participants (no voyeurs, you have to jump in) give a demo, a session, or help with one, or otherwise contribute in some way to support the event. All presentations are scheduled the day they happen. You must prepare in advance, but they say come early to register your slot on the wall. The people at the event will select the demos or presentations they want to see. Presenters are responsible for making sure that their notes/slides/audio/video are published on the web for the benefit of all. People are, and have held BarCamps all over the world, from BarCampTokyo , BarCampMexico, FutureCamp Seoul, PodCampWest San Francisco and many others.

I like this concept so much that I have to tell you that the first ever BarCampAustralia will be held from 3-4 March 2007. The event is in the early stages of planning, but it is decided that there will be at least four locations (check out BarCampAdelaide, BarCampMelbourne, BarCampSydney and BarCampCanberra) with the possibility of more (see BarCampPerth). Sponsors and venues are still being sought.

I might see you there.

Has the Howard Government finally jumped the shark?

Dan (be nice to one another) alerted me to the fantastic concept of "jumping the shark". In an episode of the TV series Happy Days, the character Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli jumps over a shark while waterskiing (still wearing his black leather jacket). This moment has been defined as "jumping the shark". Its creators describe it as 'the defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now's all downhill.'

Has PM John Howard and his Coalition government finally jumped the shark? It seems Malcolm MacKerras thinks he has, while Club Troppo appears less convinced. If Howard has jumped the shark, what was the defining moment? Was it Howard's attack on US Senator Barack Obama? Or perhaps the promise of 70 additional troops (advisers) for Iraq?

PM John Howard: where is your blog?

David Cameron, the UK's Tory leader, has started a blog. As the FT writer, Gideon Rachman, points out, when the world's least fashionable political party discovers a social trend, it is surely a sign that it is peaking. Ferenc Gyurcsany, Prime Minister of Hungary, posts new comments on his blog most days - sometimes twice a day. Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, President of Iran, has a blog. Of course Hillary Clinton has a blog. Segolene Royal, the French Socialist party nominee for president, has a blog. Lionel Jospin, former French PM and one time aspiring presidential candidate, has a blog. As pointed out to me by GoodToBeWithYou, Australia's alternative PM, (and now our preferred PM according to the latest Newspoll), Kevin Rudd, already has a blog.

So where is our John Howard? Is he going to be the last world leader to dive into the blogosphere? Or maybe he just doesn't have the ticker?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

2006 Hitwise Online Performance Award for Australian political websites

On Line Opinion has taken out the 2006 Hitwise Online Performance Award for Australian political websites. On Line Opinion beat all the major political party sites and reached 100,000 unique visitors a month. As pointed out on Larvatus Prodeo, this is hardly a challenge, "in contrast to both the US and the UK, Australian netcampaigning is stuck somewhere in Web 1.0 – most political party sites either being an archive of press releases, or tedious pseudo-blogs with no opportunity for citizen engagement."

Interestingly, this award is not based on the opinion of a small number of industry luminaries rather it is given for verifiable traffic. Hitwise states that their results are audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. On Line Opinion is published by Graham Young under the ownership of The National Forum, which describes itself as a virtual town square designed to provide free democratic space on the web for citizens, and shop fronts for institutions.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

GetUp! fires up on David Hicks and more...

Also, GetUp! continues to fire imaginations, this week helping drive the David Hicks campaign back onto TV and the front page through coordinated protest actions. I expect we will see more from GetUp! as the election approaches – the question will be whether they choose issues that are relevant enough to mainstream voters to trigger action. Recently GetUp! joined with other online political campaigners to form, a global online political campaign community.

Water allocations to be traded on eBay?

The digital realm has also been saturated with talk on water and climate change, especially around a new water trading system. One suggestion by the Wentworth Group’s economist Mike Young has been for household water to be traded on eBay. Young’s position is that only when a real price is put on water will people take action. I think eBay could also be used for carbon credit trading, enabling access by all sectors of the community.