Editorial

‘Stupid idea of the year’ award to Minister Paulwell

Tuesday, April 15, 2014    

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'Stupid idea of the year' award to Minister Paulwell

So, Mr Phillip Paulwell, the minister of energy, wants to reward the people who steal electricity — a criminal act — with a monthly flat rate of approximately $2,000.

The idea, he told the Standing Finance Committee meeting last week, is to have these people develop the practice of paying for the service until 2016 when, according to him, new capacity will come on stream. At that time, he added, those people will be called upon to pay the real cost.

That, no doubt, takes the 'Stupid idea of the year' award, because we can see no reason for persons who now steal electricity, and who are obviously getting away with it, to suddenly develop a conscience and pay.

What Minister Paulwell is encouraging here is a further entrenchment of the sense of entitlement that has been promoted by politicians for too long in this country.

Minister Paulwell should tell us what he, the Government and JPS would do if all law-abiding customers decide to start stealing electricity.

Egg on the face of Aussie PM Tony Abbott

No one can, in all good conscience, undervalue the enormous effort being made by the countries that have pumped resources into the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The past 38 days have probably been the most difficult ever in the lives of the search crews and, even moreso, the families of the 239 people on board the aircraft that went missing on March 8, 2014 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China.

In fact, we have seen reports of frustration expressed by the families of the missing passengers, especially after the Malaysian authorities were deemed to have been holding back on information.

But we can well understand the position of the Malaysians as they would not want to place in the public sphere information that could mislead or cause people to hope beyond the apparent reality of the flight's fate.

Unfortunately, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, inadvertently we believe, subjected the families of the people on flight MH370 to some amount of additional frustration and anxiety in his comments last weekend.

On Friday, Mr Abbott made headlines when he announced, during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, that he was "very confident" that signals heard by an Australian ship towing a US Navy device used to detect flight recorder pings, were coming from the missing aircraft's black boxes.

However, by Saturday, the Associated Press was reporting that with no new signals Prime Minister Abbott was warning that the search was likely to continue "for a long time" and that "no one should underestimate the difficulties of the task still ahead".

As we said, we recognise the dilemma that the authorities are having in this situation. However, their good intentions may be better served by measured announcements of developments in the search.

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