No government-mandated strategic reserve supply of fuel
by staff writers
A former army Chief turned senator has warned that the Liberal and Labor policies of turning Australia into a service nation could leave us vulnerable to attack from near neighbours.
The loss of any ability to manufacture on a medium scale, basic motor vehicles, parts or advanced weaponry and the inaction of government over a mandatory fuel reserve storage plan could halt any prolonged military protection for the nation by our troops.
Free trade has sounded the death knell for most Australian industries and the petroleum refining industry is no exception.
The Australian Institute of Petroleum says the domestic context of high operating costs, ageing facilities, increasing sea miles for the transport of crude to the refineries, shallow berths that are not suitable for large crude carriers, increasing technical complexity needed for refining of the broad range of crude oil and the high Australian dollar, put Australia at a competitive disadvantage, resulting in the closure of some domestic refineries that are no longer commercially competitive.
Jim Molan was the chief of operations for coalition forces in Iraq and will enter the senate next month, replacing former deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash who was forced out due to dual citizenship.
He has issued a stark warning about Australia’s readiness for war, saying the armed forces could be ineffective within 19 days if current stockpiles of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel run dry.
“We are almost unique throughout the world in that we don’t have a government-mandated strategic reserve of fuel,” Senator Molan said.
“There are things that we can probably never build in this country, such as the Joint Strike Fighter and the most advanced missiles,” he continued.
“But we should guarantee their delivery to Australia — which you can rarely do — or we should have them in warehouses.
“Unless we have a plan to get them when we need them … then I, as an ex-military commander, wouldn’t want to cross the start line in doing something militarily unless I had those warehouses behind me.”
The 2016 Defence White Paper warned Australia’s dependency on fuel imports was a risk given tensions in the South China Sea, which is a major shipping route.
US military assistance not guaranteed
Senator Molan has also warned that military support from the US is not guaranteed and the Federal Government needs to be more prepared.
“Australia should be thinking about the level of defence expenditure that we are prepared to commit ourselves if America was the centre pole of our defence policy and now may not be as strong as it once was,” Senator Molan said.
Senator Molan said US Defence Secretary James Mattis has raised concerns about the readiness of the US military’s readiness for war.
“That should be ringing bells all over the world,” Senator Molan said.
Half of Australia’s fuel is imported- five refineries left
The Petroleum Institute has thrown its weight behind imported fuel claiming the closure of the refineries will not lead to negative price outcomes for consumers. Australian fuel prices reflect an import parity price, which is the price in international markets.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was clear in its advice to the API committee that as a result of import parity pricing, the retail price for petrol is not impacted by refinery closures.
Australia can source its liquid fuel needs from a diversity of sources so that if one source becomes unavailable other sources can meet demand according to the committee report.
Following the closure of the Clyde and Kurnell oil refineries, refinery capacity in Australia will decrease about 28 per cent and leave five operating refineries.
Domestic refiners will produce just over half the fuel consumed in Australia with the remainder being imported. Consequently, concerns have been raised about the viability of Australia’s oil refinery industry, and the potential impacts of declining domestic refinery capacity on the economy, energy security and employment in the sector.
The most pessimistic view was that this is the beginning of the end of Australian refining, and the most optimistic view was that there is a future for Australian refining, albeit under increasing competitive pressure.
The committee noted that during the last decade the oil industry has invested over $9 billion in its Australian refineries.
The Liberal and Labor free trade mantra has all but destroyed our once great manufacturing base. No cars, no parts, no tyres, no fuel, no white goods, no military aeroplanes, no guns, only minute amounts of ammo, no boots, clothing or equipment for the military. All of it is imported.
From Larry Pickering, four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
How well did you know Schapelle Corby during the time you were in Kerobokan?
“I knew her very well.”
Were you in for the same offence?
“Well, not exactly the same stuff but it included Indonesian marijuana, and let me tell you it’s shit, but it attracted a sentence up to 15 years. I was set up!”
But isn’t everyone ‘set up’?
“Well, I was!”
“Sort of, she didn’t know about that lot. It was her brother, Mick and he’s a brain-dead f…wit yobbo. When I spoke to him, all he wanted to talk about was the shit quality of the Indo stuff. But Schapelle’s sister, Mercedes runs the whole show and let me tell you, she is a low bitch of a thing. Her husband, Wayan caught her playing up with a half Indian bloke and they split, but he still tries to help Schapelle. He’s a decent guy.”
14 July 2015: Responding to today’s news that Indonesia will only take 50,000 head of cattle this quarter instead of the 200,000 head rumoured, Federal Member for Kennedy and KAP Leader Bob Katter said his warnings to the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister in March this year had unfortunately proven correct.
In March Mr Katter asked a question of the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Parliament warning the Government to proceed with caution, lest the relationship with Indonesia be jepordised.
Mr Katter asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs “First Australians found that friction causes fire. Northern Cattleman got burnt, who next Minister?”.
The 50,000 import permits from Indonesia for Australian Live Cattle is less than half of the Quarter 3 (Q3) average over the past five years and less than a quarter of 200,000 head widely rumoured for Q3.
“In my lifetime I have never seen a Government go out of its way to provoke its neighbor as much as the ALP and LNP Governments in Australia.
“Elements of the Australian media indulge themselves making an issue of two drug traffickers and the Australian Government may have won themselves some votes, but it was at the expense of the Australian farmers.
“The most vulnerable people in the Australian economy, the poor Australian cattle farmer, has taken the hit once again,” Mr Katter said.
In 2011 the Gillard Government made the disastrous decision to ban live cattle exports to Indonesia which resulted in Indonesia dramatically reducing the live cattle quota.
In addition to a more respectful relationship with our neighbours, Mr Katter believes Australia needs a stronger Defence Force in line with the advice of Theodore Roosevelt who stated, ‘I walk softly, but I carry a big stick’.
“My recommendation to the Prime Minister and the alternate Prime Minister, is to have a decent Defence Force instead of the mockery we have at the moment. You keep putting our country in jeopardy, not just economically, how much offence do you think our neighbours will take?
“Currently our leaders have loud mouths, but they have no stick at all – our defence is a joke.
“Last time we went to war with Indonesia Australia had 1.3 million semi-automatic rifles, now we have 50,000. Good luck Prime Minister if you keep shooting your mouth off,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter’s electorate of Kennedy is one of the biggest beef producing areas in Australia and heavily reliant on the live cattle market to Indonesia.
Since the live export ban Mr Katter and northern cattlemen have continued to push to restore the market and restore relations with Indonesia, including numerous meetings with the Indonesian Ambassador, conversations with then Prime Minister Rudd prior to his meetings in Indonesia with the President and hosting the Indonesian Ambassador in the Gulf of Carpentaria to see first-hand live cattle export facilities and cattle stations.
Mr Katter and State Member for Mount Isa will next week visit the centre of the Northern Queensland Live Cattle area – the Gulf of Carpentaria – for a week long visit to communities heavily reliant on the industry.
“For every cattlemen there are livestock hauliers, mustering contractors, fencing contractors and people at the local store in the town that has no customers.
“The knock on effect here is dramatic,” Mr Katter said.
A plea from to the President of Indonesia by Robert Paul: Mcjannett Commonwealth Public Official and former Kerobokan prisoner for the life of Andrew Chan set to be executed.