1st December 2003 revised 5th December 2003


Among other things, your diarist is an engineer.  So perhaps you will excuse me if I comment on the 1.5 liter Toyota car (Prius).

Toyota took out a six page spread in "The Australian" (Rupert Murdoch's local flagship).  Reading between the lines, the gist of it was, Toyota has gone hybrid electric.  Brakes are now regenerative generators, steering (linear motor?), even the camshaft (which sounds as if it is controlled by a computer-synchronous motor hookup.)  Apparently Toyota have found a way to make a variable speed gear drive work.   The fuel efficiency must be mind boggling. (They claim that it uses 50% less fuel, but have not stated the baseline.)

They must have developed some very nifty technology.  The problem with electric motor-generators and batteries is that they are both very heavy.  Heavy increases fuel consumption.  (Then again, maybe there are a few bugs still in it.)

Being first off the block will mean that Toyota will have practical experience before everybody else.  Nobody else caught them on fuel efficiency/weight ratio, and I suspect after this that nobody will for a decade.

This article is unsolicited.  However if a Toyota executive reads it, I wouldn't mind a freebie.


Looks as though Kim Beazley is about to become leader of the opposition again.

5th Dec- well I got that one wrong, the labour party elected a newer, younger, and reportedly thuggish leader, called Mark Latham.  It is regrettable that the new guard in Australia has been variously reported to be a bunch of thugs.

However, Latham claims that he has changed, that his old behaviour is now in the past.  In his favour, it has been said that (like Liberal rivals Abbott & Turnbull) he has at least two neurones to rub together.  I have not yet read any of his three books, the most recent titled "In the Suburbs".

Tony Abbott, one of the new star Liberal frontbenchers who is reportedly a bitter rival of Latham has also been accused of thuggery, both the violent kind, and in relation to political dirty tricks against Pauline Hanson.

Another Liberal intellectual who is attempting to break in to the Liberal party machine is Malcolm Turnbull, whose light was eclipsed when his coalition in a referendum to have a politician's President of "Republic Australia" failed.  His preselection for the seat of Wentworth has apparently foundered.

John Howard should be worried.  Johnny came back from the cold himself, which establishes that the Australian public does not mind politician losers.  In fact, in your diarists opinion, the Australian public seems to prefer losers.  It seems to produce humility (something incumbent Howard seems to have lost).  Your diarist was not sorry to see Crean go.  His suggested reorganization of TAFE education was (alongside Jenny George's) a disaster. Still, like all political losers, e.g. Hayden, Peacock, I suppose he will obtain an undeserved plum job, like ambassador to Paris or New York.  Never let it be said that Australian politicians do not look after their own.

Beazley's accession would have been bad news for Pauline's chances.  Latham is an unknown.  Let us give him a chance to either hang himself, or make good.  There is no hurry fo the originator of the "One Nation" party to declare her hand before an election is announced.  The party is preparing for the next election without her guidance.  She should concentrate on developing policies.  The shorter the campaign, the better for Pauline.