Universal service of internet, and the cross-subsidy where the lucrative urban market subsidises the satellite and the wireless needed to service the outback and other remote locations, was once a very firm policy commitment of the Abbott government. But now when asked if it is government policy, Senator Fifield goes to ask his superiors, who direct us to a review they've set up- and we wouldn't be surprised if that review is a prelude to another canned coalition commitment.
Despite Senator Fifield stating there is "No change in prospect" regarding government policy on SBS advertising levels, Minister Turnbull refuses to rule out what options the 'efficiency study' has considered. Given this government's track record on promises, we're not at all confident in Senator Fifield's prediction of 'no change in prospect'.
One of the greatest concerns about the F35 Joint Strike Fighter is it's sub-par air-superiority performance, relative to the F-22. This was not helped in any way by the Chief of US Air Combat Command, General Mike Hostage,—saying on the 3 February this year: "If I do not keep that F-22 fleet viable, the F-35 … will be irrelevant. [It] is not built as an air superiority platform."
Scott asked our Air-Marshal to explain the comment, or the context which it was taken out of.
There are a number of divergent views on the flight-performance of the JSF, and many of them are not flattering. Yet we've been waived away again and again with the reasoning that it's a 'fifth generation fighter'.
But when put to question on what that term means, exactly- we've been told that "terms are open to interpretation for marketing purposes by aircraft manufacturers", and that the ways the JSF fail some 5th generation fighter definitions aren't important.
Given that the war-planes are planned to be based in Darwin, it was alarming to hear reports that the Joint Strike Fighter is currently restricted from flying within 40 km of an electrical storm. Scott asked some important questions to ensure that our 12 billion dollar war plane purchase wouldn't be grounded by regular weather.
Expansion in the LNG sector is sect to increase our greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 36 tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020. The impact of the government's direct action plan has not been modelled however, as it was *still* in 'development' at the time.
Scott asks some probing questions about whether the company behind the Ranger mine can even afford to rehabilitate the site and whether it is getting site approvals from government it mightn’t otherwise.
Senator Ludlam asked basic questions about the assessment process, and we find that the accident-prone uranium processing plant has since been given restart go-ahead by Minister MacFarlane before the Environmental Impact Assessment is even complete.
Scott is working with 40 or 50 people sleeping in their cars and in swags and in tents in a car park in Rockingham. He asks the government what he can take home to them about this government's policy on homelessness, and whether the cumulative impacts of the budget will be to throw thousands or probably tens of thousands more people into homelessness.
The Abbott Government has sacked anyone with any expertise on housing supply, cut $40m from the capital budgets of homelessness support providers and abolished the National Rental Affordability Scheme.
Senator Scott Ludlam has used Senate Estimates to ask the Government if it will forge ahead with plans to dump radioactive waste at Muckaty Station if a Federal court case deems the NLC did not follow legal or ethical practice.
Western Australia has a few projects funded under ARENA which is set to be abolished under the Abbott government. One of those includes a solar thermal project in Perenjori, near Geraldton. So is the funding secure and what advances have we discovered from renewable energy projects?