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Theresa May sends message to a Turnbull government of slogans, secrets and lies.

Stunned by what the press insists is a “shock” election result in Britain where, inexplicably, hollow slogans, austerity economics and Sir Lynton Crosby’s fear tactics fail to win the day for Tory crash test dummy, Theresa May, our political world is reeling this week as MPs joust with shock jocks in a knee-jerk war on terror while Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel obligingly offers our fearless leaders another chance to dodge any real commitment to climate change.

Political actors dig deep. Best mystery shopper is won easily by One Nation’s epic failure to yet provide a coherent, credible explanation of who paid for Pauline’s Jabiru, while stunt of the week goes to Adani’s incredible “Green Light to Carmichael” oratorio Tuesday, a stirring, religious work relayed faithfully by media and featuring standout performances from fossil fuel fan-boy Resources Minister Canavan and Queensland coal-lobby groupie, Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The staging of Green Light … reveals just how far faith-based decision-making has usurped reason across our nation and not just in Queensland. Coal worshippers surrender critical faculties for the sublime irrationality of a cargo cult.

Adani cult followers echo Melanesian millenarians who believed that ritual projects such as building a runway would result in the appearance of coveted western goods. Everyone stopped anything else to await largesse from a great silver bird returning to their sky. Today, we may substitute port or railway for runway, but parallels are disturbing.

A glance at the Adani cargo cult’s articles of faith reveals a supernatural power; the vise-like grip of group delusion.

Ritual chanting displaces communication. The mine is going ahead! JOBS. Thousands of jobs will now “flow” say the faithful. 10,000 jobs, Adani devotees chant. An ecstatic Canavan ups that to 15,000, this week, just because he can.

Reality check. In 2015, Adani’s expert, Jerome Fahrer, ACIL Allen economist, estimated ongoing full-time employment for only 1464 workers and only at the expense of 1,400 jobs in agriculture, manufacturing and other mining projects.

It may be fewer. CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj, boasts he will fully automate all of the vehicles used in the mine and the entirety of the process from the mine to the port:

‘When we ramp up the mine, everything will be autonomous from mine to port … this is the mine of the future‘

Jobs will be lost as existing mines are put out of business by Adani’s automated, hugely subsidised competition. Subsidising Adani makes our former car industry protection appear a bargain, writes Bernard Kean.

The $320, 000 royalty holiday -which will cost taxpayers $253 million over the next five years – which has recently been redefined as not a royalty holiday at all but an indefinitely deferred payment arrangement – promised by Palaszczuk’s government plus the NAIF billion dollar loan, means each job will cost taxpayers $900,000.

Part of the Green Light … stunt is a desperate gamble. The stakes are high. The government is already in over its head.

A state government which has invested $8 billion on coal-related infrastructure between 2009-2014, on an industry which provides only 4% of its revenue, may well keep a poker face, but this week’s press release – declaring a business is up and running without funding is a bizarre stunt which would get any local company into trouble with ASX rules.

In reality, Adani is further from opening its proposed monster mine than it was five years ago, while India turns to cleaner, cheaper solar energy and coal profits decline. India plans to be 60% fossil fuel free in energy in ten years.

No new coal-fired power station will be approved in India. Nor would it be economic. A Gujarat power station set to import half of the Adani mine’s coal, now believes it can’t afford to. No wonder nineteen banks have refused Adani finance.

Gautam Adani, however, is content to cynically blame activists, a theme embraced by the august upholders of traditional but doomed faith-based causes supported by our media, especially The Australian and The AFR.

“We have been challenged by activists in the courts, in inner-city streets, and even outside banks that have not even been approached to finance the project,” Adani claims,

“We are still facing activists. But we are committed to this project.”

Committed? None of Adani’s legal challenges prevent it from acting on its 2014 government environmental approvals.

A fascinating twist in the coal cult narrative come from Kooyong coal-raker, the terminally conflicted energy and environment minister Josh Frydenberg. He’s all for carbon capture and storage. Don’t we know that the world is full of CCS power plants? We had better get our skates on. Build some. Those in the coal cult are immensely encouraged.

It’s another delusion, if not a blatant lie. Although one small, 528 MW third, $5.5 billion over budget, plant will be commissioned, in Mississippi the reality is there are but two massively expensive plants in commercial operation. These compress CO2 to force previously unreachable oil out of defunct wells in an Enhanced Oil Recovery Process.

Never mind that in the process, 30% of the CO2 escapes back into the atmosphere. Never mind that the plant saves CO2 to avoid global warming only to extract more oil which will boost global warming. Never mind the expense. None of this matters to the true believer. Just don’t expect any of it to bear any relationship to reality.

Simon Holmes a Court calculates just to capture all of the emissions of the Loy Yang power station in Victoria, we’d need a plant 13 times bigger than Petra Nova in Texas. With currency and Australian labour rates, but allowing for some economies of scale and ‘learnings’, that could cost AUD$15–25bn.

Luckily, because we live in an eternal present, now that history itself has been effectively consigned to the dustbin of history, no-one asks Josh about ZeroGen our cute, little 2006 CCS plant project in central Queensland.

ZeroGen was a relatively tiny, 390 MW net coal-fired power station which would capture 65% of its emissions. It received $188 million in grants but after a projected cost blowout from $1.2bn to $6.9bn the project collapsed six years before its scheduled 2017 completion date, scuttling hundreds of millions of public funding.

Josh is on another mission, of course. He’s been ringing his party’s back-benchers to sell Alan Finkel’s cop-out Energy Review which tenderly preserves the pernicious myth that safe, reliable baseload power can only come from coal or gas – and not those fickle wind turbines that ABCs Chris Uhlmann blamed for the SA blackout.

Judging by his appearance on ABC Insiders, Josh has learned to speak softly and stare a lot whenever Barrie Cassidy asks questions:

So the Finkel Review suggests that you can reduce emissions and cut power prices and keep coal in the mix. It sounds too good to be true?

Bazza is right on the money but Frydenberg praises Dr Finkel’s report. In a vain and irritating quest for authority, he repeats Dr Finkel every chance he gets to praise the Chief Scientist.

Josh still pretends that electricity prices are high not because of his government’s Jihadist mission to privatise all public utilities according to the dictates of Neoliberal Ideology, the Liberal religion but because of something he invents called “regulatory uncertainty”.

Then he’s off, demonising alternatives to fossil fuel power generation. Renewables are dodgy, “a less stable system because we’ve failed to properly integrate wind and solar.”

Happily for the coal lobby, Dr Finkel’s report allows us to have half of our power generated by burning coal by 2030 but he doesn’t say who’s going to build the new ones we’ll need. Nor who will finance them. Nor how this will help us with our feeble Paris targets. Even given his soft sell, Josh is at odds with the review he is flogging. Finkel is clear

“Investors have signalled that they are unlikely to invest in new coal-fired generation …”

Luckily, few people still watch the ABC, increasingly a Coalition megaphone, – and Barry won’t press him on key details. He allows him to claim that CCS is a real possibility for future investment in lower emission technology.

While Finkel proposes a new regulatory framework, his review leaves open the central issue of a CET, a clean energy target, which it says is “a role for government”. No preferred emissions threshold is offered. The stage is set for the coal lobby and its allies to press to raise the bar high enough to permit the operation of current coal-fired plant.

Above all, although he promised the Senate that his review would help Australia meet its Paris agreement and reduce its economy-wide emissions by 28% below 2005 levels by 2030, The Chief Scientist’s report won’t help. The modelling Finkel provides for electricity sector emission reductions, 28% below 2005 levels by 2050 suggests a figure about half what it should be. His own Climate Change Authority Report confirms this.

Wages stagnate, consumer confidence is down, unemployment remains high and underemployment is huge. Since his better economic managers came to power with their jobs ‘n growth slogan, Scott Morrison has little to crow about.

Growth has slowed from 2.6% to 1.7%. While unemployment rate may have remained at 5.7%, wages growth has continued to fall below its then record low of 2.1% to an even lower mark of 1.9%.

Yet Morrison is all over the news in an orgy of self-congratulation and oleaginous good cheer this week.

Our Federal Treasurer says our economy is “transitioning” from a mining boom to a more diversified economy. Better times await us. It sounds like a slogan Theresa May sagely rejected. Ross Gittins, moreover, reminds us that mining accounts for 7 per cent of Australia’s total GDP and employs 230,000 people or 2 per cent of Australia’s workforce.

Transitioning is not reflected in investment projections. Mining investment is forecast to fall another 22% next year, and a 6% expected rise in non-mining investment will not compensate. Yet Morrison is mindlessly upbeat.

Despite our government’s worshipping the same neoliberal creed and embracing the same trickle-down tax cuts which bring income inequality in Theresa May’s Britain to 1930s levels, we are nowhere near technical recession here. Nowhere near.

ScoMo, our bullet-dodging Federal Treasurer, juggles dodgy figures to claim that we have overtaken the Netherlands in a record-breaking run of prosperity but only if we misread Dutch data, prefer GDP figures to GDP per capita, confuse job ads with real employment and hope that after mining and real estate, something will turn up.

Alas, Morrison fails to look to Japan. As Saul Eslake shows, Australia would need to avoid consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth until at least 2024 if it is truly to be able to claim this “world record” as its own.

Greg Jericho also points out Morrison is factually incorrect. Australia beat the Netherlands in June 2013. The Dutch avoided a technical recession for only 87 consecutive quarters. But technical recession is a “dopey” measure. We are being conned. In 1982, Holland’s economy had shrunk by 2.5% in one year even if “technically” it had avoided recession.

Similarly, in December 1991, three months into our golden run, the Australian economy was 1% smaller than it was the previous year. Technical recessions rely on GDP. If we use GDP per capita we have had two recessions since 1991.

Yet these are both arbitrary measures. We may as well use the percentage of working age people in work.

On this measure our record of economic activity is pathetic.

Australia’s economy grew by a whopping 0.3 % in the first three months. Nothing we could do about that, the Treasurer says. He blames the weather. It could be a genuine world first.

“Weather conditions during the March quarter did affect exports,” Morrison says. … Exports declined by 0.6% in the quarter, detracting from growth … particularly in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.”

Morrison’s waffle does little for the 730,000 Australians out of work and the 1.1 million who are underemployed but our national pride rallies after a full body Reiki massage from visiting US Alliance evangelist James Clapper, whose appearance is part of the total care package conferred upon the nation by our special relationship with Washington.

The most marvellous contribution of Coalition politics to our national well-being, apart from the politicisation of the public service including, now, our Chief Scientist is surely our nation’s US sycophancy, a state of servile dependency on one great and powerful friend given expression by “man of steel”, US lackey and war criminal, John Winston Howard.

“Lying rodent” Howard, as Russell Galt swears metadata pack-rat, AG Brandis called the then PM, was inspired to invoke the US Alliance while flying home post 9/11.

“While high over the Indian Ocean”, he lyrically records, he saw how we could join a “war on terror” proposed by the US. It led us to send troops to Afghanistan, from whence some were destined never to return, and to provoke a wave of international terrorism by illegally invading Iraq on a pretext of seizing WMDs.

Howard, as Albert Palazzo’s recent declassified report shows, aimed to boost our US Alliance, but his big success was simply in helping make Australia a much better target for terrorism, as Paul Keating pointed out last year. It’s been the elephant in the room ever since however much MPs gibber about how terrorists hate our way of life.

Howard’s grand claims are exposed. Enforcing UN resolutions, stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction and global terrorism – even rebuilding Iraq after the invasion, are dismissed as “mandatory rhetoric” – a term which also fits the treacle from a series of US VIPs visiting Australia recently to profess America’s undying love for us.

We love to be flattered. Happy clappers abound at the National Press Club’s US-Alliance revivalist meeting in Canberra, Wednesday, when former Director of National Intelligence, James Robert Clapper Jr drops in again for a post-retirement rub-down after his top-secret visit here last year. This week it’s a very public sharing of the love.

ANU kindly gives Lucky Jim a gig as a Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor and a spot at the ANU Crawford Australian Leadership Forum where the old spook will put the wind up the nation’s movers and shakers.

Keep an eye on China, he says. Beijing may interfere with your politics just like Moscow did with ours. The Russians are not our friends, he warns. The Donald is done for. Watergate pales in comparison to Trump’s Russian allegations.

While cooking Trump’s goose, Clapper is also here to remind us all how much the US means to us in trade and regional security and how we need to keep faith with our big brother and suffer Trump awhile. Our bonds go deep.

“The values (and interests) we share, the things that fasten our two countries together, far transcend a transitory occupant of the White House,” he promises. He’s not wrong: the US has been doing us over for decades.

We like it that way. Not one of the assembled hacks can bring themselves to ask soapy Jim why in 2007, only a few years after it was signed by John Howard, our AUSTFA, a “free trade” agreement supposed to increase Australian access to the US market led to the highest trade deficit we have ever had with any trading partner.

DFAT statistics reveal that the United States is Australia’s second-largest two-way trading partner in goods and services, worth $70.2 billion, as of 2015 yet, Australia imports more than double the amount from the U.S. and is 15th on the list of U.S. principal export destinations.

So much to fear, so little time. Clapper also adds a dash of Brandis’ Sinophobia as he warns how China may try to buy in to our democratic processes. Beware of donations and watch out for fake news, he adds, helpfully. Who would have thought?

Clapper would applaud our surveillance strategies; urge us to keep our metadata. No-one asks him why his NSA illegally collected data at all on millions of Americans or why he chose to deny this in 2013, before a senate committee, inspiring calls by US lawmakers for his indictment for perjury.

Such a challenge would amount to blasphemy. It is an article of modern Australian political faith that any self-respecting scribbler sing praise to our superiors, or their mates, including visiting American political mendicants.

Anything less would be heresy. And Illegal. As Gillian Triggs reminds us we are fast making it illegal to challenge our government. Triggs, of course, is by no means alone in voicing her concern over a government by secrets and lies.

Only October, for example, UN special rapporteur, independent expert Michel Forst recommended we continue to press for an Immigration Department that is open and accountable and which doesn’t hunt down whistle-blowers.

Forst’s report concludes that Australian governments have effectively gagged civil society advocates with secrecy laws, funding cuts and restrictive contracts that prevent them speaking up about human rights abuses.

It’s a theme taken up by Lenore Taylor who reflects on the Tory automaton Theresa May’s election loss. Scott Ryan, Special Minister of State and runaway winner of biggest family bible at government swearings-in is keen to tell groups they can get funds from government but only if they pack in the advocacy lark. Give up their reason for being.

Lenore is right. Democratic government is about enabling advocacy. Respect. And it’s about governing for all. If there were a message in it for Turnbull it might go like this:

You can’t deliver on your hollow promises of jobs and growth, so stop making them. Start listening. You’ll see that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

Heed the opinion polls. Stop the play-acting. Spare us the speeches and the sloganeering. To adapt a slogan on a billboard in the UK somewhere: Jobs and Growth, my arse.

Take a long hard look at yourself. If all you are is a front for the bankers, businessmen and big investors, if all you can do is subsidise a dying coal industry, still hell-bent on profit at the cost of life on this planet, stop faking it.

There’s never been a more exciting time to call a snap election.

If all you can offer are tax cuts to the rich, spare us the hokum; the empty cliches of trickle down economics. The drivel about flexible hours and delivery options. Stop the con about non-existent growth in jobs and higher wages.

Above all, stop pretending terror is cured by curtailing our freedom and riding rough-shod over our legal system. Get out of America’s wars, however, much you may be flattered by your wily big brother’s attentions.

Or continue to repress advocacy and free speech; repeat your meaningless slogans about national security. Persecute the poor, the frail and the elderly. But you won’t stay in government very long. You don’t deserve to. As May just found, the people are on to you.


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  1. David Tyler

    Thank you, Michael. Greatly appreciate your encouragement and support.

  2. Michael Taylor

    Always at your service, David.

  3. Florence nee Fedup

    Both went to unnecessary election. May, with shortest time possible, Turnbull dragged it out as long as he could. Both ended up with same result.

  4. Freethinker

    Excellent article.
    With reference to India and their no need of coal in the near future I just wonder if things have changed due to the melting of the Himalayan glaciers.
    This is a problem created by global warming but at the same time can be potential catastrophic for the hydroelectric plans on the dams.
    Are the Indians looking into plan “B” ?
    I cannot find any 2016/17 articles about the topic.

  5. Glenn Barry

    Seems like you had a few cups of coffee then composed one very beautiful, incredibly eloquent rant that covers all bases – I’d pay to see you deliver it as a soliloquy in a theatre

  6. Terry2

    Doesn’t bode well for Turnbull next time around, does it ?

    He managed to get back with a one seat margin in the House of Representatives in 2016 and that was in coalition with the Nationals. So does that mean that the Liberals will have to enter into a a dirty deal with PHON to cling to power next time around ?

    If Theresa May is a dead woman walking Turnbull is a zombie.

  7. Barry Thompson.

    Terrific article David.
    Politician’s of all persuasions would do well to heed the last paragraph.

  8. David Tyler

    Thanks Kaye. Amazing that no-one in MSM will call the little con artist’s bluff over CCS. Outrageous dishonesty. Farcical Frydenberg performance on ABC Insiders, for example. Disgraceful. So little time. So many lies.
    Appreciate link.

  9. Bill Plant

    Well, what an outstanding piece of research and clear writing. Keep at it!

  10. Kaye Lee

    It seems the ONLY way to make it in any way viable is to have a commercial application for the captured CO2 which, as you pointed out, is usually to boost production from flagging oil reserves.

    I am trying to learn more about it.

    “The following shortlist of ten CO2 reuse technologies could potentially meet this [commercial] requirement: enhanced oil recovery (EOR), urea yield boosting, enhanced geothermal systems, polymer processing, algae cultivation, carbonate mineralisation, CO2 concrete curing, bauxite residue carbonation, CO2 as a feedstock for liquid fuel production, and enhanced coal bed methane.”

    It is impossible to believe a word these guys say as, in the 2014 budget, the government cut $459.3m over three years from its carbon capture and storage flagship program.

  11. helvityni

    Big LOL…

    The Liberals’ tactic is indeed to speak softly (Josh), or fast (Scottie), or like Mathias in Flemish….

    Whilst the big boss Mal puts on a seductive smile and says to Leigh :Let me say this… Smiling stops as he takes on a somewhat more patronizing tone…

    The Barries and Leighs have to smile, the jobs at our ABC are getting scarce.

    PS. Did anyone see Jane Hutcheon interview Ms Gutthrie?

  12. Jimmy

    The best article i have read in many long time David.
    How do we get it out there to the masses.

  13. helvityni

    I’d pay to see you deliver it as a soliloquy in a theatre.

    I second that, Glenn Barry.

  14. Kyran

    Another wonderfully erudite analysis of our current clime and the interaction between so many issues.
    There is only one question remaining after such comprehensive analysis. If Theresa May has sent a message to the Turnbull government, will it be by way of a slogan, a secret or a lie?
    Given the Turnbull governments complete and utter incapacity to absorb any detail, their reliance on secrecy and lies, it will likely have to be by way of a slogan. Strength and stability, perhaps?
    Thank you Mr Tyler and commenters. Take care

  15. Johno

    Good stuff David, thanks !

  16. Barty

    Thanks David, good to see someone sticking with the facts.
    Given the level of misinformation coming out of MSM on a daily basis, what hope for the next generation? Are the newsreaders naive to the facts, eg. real number of jobs in Adani project or failure to date of CCS schemes etc, or do they have no right to modify news items and are simply protecting their income? Either way it’s a MSM Fail.

  17. David Tyler

    Confess I turned off the TV at that point. Notice that the event was heavily marketed. Nothing Ms Guthrie could say would atone for the damage she has already done. Never forget her comment that we ought to see more stories of successful businessmen. Above all, disgusted by her ABCs latest wall to wall tabloid terror porn.

  18. stephengb2014

    Fantastic article – thank you

  19. Mark

    Brilliant article! Thankyou David.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Guthrie made everyone in the executive and even some administrative staff sign a nondisclosure form – why I ask?

  21. helvityni

    Seeing that interview yesterday ,I thought that she was a rather unlikely choice for the position….

  22. David Tyler

    Amazing that Turnbull pal Guthrie could get the top job at the ABC with only one other candidate being interviewed by the full board of the ABC. Other aspects of the selection process are also alarming. The goalposts were moved during the process. The criteria were defined to be all about business management and not about content. Quentin Dempster writes insightfully about it in The Saturday Paper:

    “Only two people were interviewed by the full ABC board for leadership of Australia’s “most trusted and creative media organisation” and the salary of about $1 million that goes with it: Guthrie and an “impressive” internal candidate, David Anderson, a longstanding ABC executive and current director of corporate strategy and planning.”

    At the very least, the full board should be required to interview all shortlisted candidates, internal and external, for high-level appointments. That way, rejected candidates can accept that “selection on merit” was fair and trustworthy, helping to eliminate any suspicion that the process was manipulated by political influence.

  23. diannaart

    Hear! Hear! David Tyler.

    Apologies for late arrival.

  24. David Tyler

    Vanessa Guthrie is also a newly appointed member of the board of coal seam gas developer SANTOS, as of 1 July, and doubtless will be keen to see the ABC expose the price-gouging and rorting which make it cheaper to buy Australian gas in Japan than on the domestic market – not to mention help the ABC reveal the truth behind the industry-sponsored myth that Australia faces a gas shortage.

    Also look forward to fearless ABC analysis of how SANTOS peddled flawed economic modelling to persuade NSW farmers of ‘once-in-a-generation economic opportunities’ despite Australia Institute analysis which reveals that local economy benefits were tiny while huge environmental costs were simply ignored.

    Interesting also and highly relevant to readers interested in climate change that at SANTOS AGM last month, shareholders voted down Market Forces resolution that would have the company include the following:

    governance: the roles of the board and management in the oversight, assessment and management of climate-related risks;
    strategy: the climate-related risks and opportunities and asset portfolio resilience of the company’s businesses, operational strategy and financial planning to various climate scenarios, including both 1.5°C and 2°C pathways;
    risk management: how climate related risks are incorporated into the company’s risk management framework;
    metrics and targets: the targets used by the company to manage climate-related risks and performance against those targets; and
    public policy: the company’s public policy positions related to climate change, including those of industry bodies of which it is a member’.

  25. Matters Not

    Paul (Ned) Kelly again writing nonsense:

    Paul Kelly of The Australian has been quick to suggest that Jeremy Corbyn is a left-wing version of Donald Trump, riding a populist wave of discontent, but that interpretation is not borne out by early analysis published by the Financial Times. Labour did well among the young, among the well-educated, among Londoners, and among those who want Britain to remain in the EU. This is almost the diametrically opposite demographic of those who voted for Trump, and of those who have been voting for far-right parties in mainland European countries.

    Also, unlike Trump, Corbyn is an experienced politician. That experience is not in his connections with the party machine (in that regard Kelly correctly describes him as an “outsider”), but in his connections with the party’s supporters. Like Trump (and unlike Clinton and May) he spoke without recourse to scripted speaking notes, but unlike Trump he did not resort to dog whistles, lies, and ad-hominem attacks on his opponents.

    He spoke about things that matter to many people – the failure of privatisation, widening inequality, the need to sustain important government services, the loss of meaningful jobs, and, above all, the way the current political and economic systems have delivered the young such a bad deal

    Presumably the ALP was listening. And learning.

    IAN MCAULEY. Learning from the UK election

  26. Kaye Lee

    V Guthrie was previously Managing Director and CEO of uranium developer Toro Energy Limited and VP Sustainable Development at Woodside Energy. Woodside is the crew that screwed East Timor and who then employed Alexander Downer as a consultant/lobbyist.

    Wind and solar have a lot to battle against. The nuclear lobby are positioning themselves just as the fossil fuel lobby have done before them.

  27. David Tyler

    Impeccable credentials, really, for an ABC board member whose responsibilities include ‘the integrity and independence of the Corporation.’

  28. diannaart


    Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders (for that matter) have both been described as leftie Trumps.

    The reasoning behind such comparisons escapes me, Trump is a loud-mouth, gauche, bullying salesman while Sanders and Corbyn are experienced courteous politicians (‘courteous’ and ‘politician’ not always seen together either).

    Robust debate, a term beaten into meaninglessness by those such as Bolt, Abbott, which is a shame because anyone from the left who simply calls a spade a shovel is branded “Trumplike”. Sheesh.

  29. David Tyler

    Agree. The comparison is facile and based on a wilful misunderstanding of all parties.

    You are being too kind and generous to Trump however. Unlike Sanders or Corbyn, The Donald is illiterate in a wide number of fields, including political, emotional and moral and lacks what it takes just to read beyond nine bullet points.
    Salesman or con-man? Trump’s career is littered with bad deals and bankruptcies.

    Then there’s the consensus among experts as to his pathological narcissism not to mention his ghost-writer, Tony Schwarz’s experience that Trump lies strategically and does not seem to have a conscience about it. Great article here:

  30. Kaye Lee


    The Fitzgerald inquiry is about to get another airing this evening on Four Corners so, apropos to your comment, it is relevant to pass on what Fitzgerald said about “robust debate” in Australian politics….

    “A recent editorial valiantly suggested that ‘toxic debates test ideas, policy and character’, but a more orthodox view is that ethics, tolerance and civility are intrinsic elements of democratic society and that the politicians’ mutual contempt and aggressive, ‘end justifies the means’ amorality erodes respect for authority and public institutions and compromises social cohesion.”

    Democracy, ethics, tolerance and public civility

    I couldn’t agree more

  31. diannaart


    No argument from me regarding your opinion of Trump. However, I am not being kind or generous, I limit the amount of MY time spent on slime moulds such as the POTUS. He is a troll on a scale we must learn to never accept.

  32. Kaye Lee

    Fitzgerald went on to say……

    “insiders see problems with insiders’ eyes, recognise only some of the problems and few of the causes and suggest insiders’ solutions with voters as mere bystanders. The usual, and sometimes intended, outcome is a flurry of superficial activity, appointment of a suitable group of other insiders to report, lengthy discussion of their report, considerable navel-gazing, a feel-good pronouncement and business as usual.”

    How very apt for today’s government. Not only did we have the politcised Finkel report, the CSIRO were also tasked by the government with producing a Low Emissions Technology Roadmap which has just been released.

    “In April 2016, CSIRO was engaged by the Australian Government to develop the Low Emissions Technology Roadmap to inform the 2017 Climate Policy review. The objectives of the report were to understand the technology options Australia has at its disposal to meet its emissions abatement commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement as well as provide new economic opportunities for Australian industry.”

    And now we have Craig Kelly calling for more modelling.

    We are going to keep paying consultants until they give us the answer the coal lobby want.

  33. diannaart

    Thanks for the heads-up about 4 CNRS

    We are going to keep paying consultants until they give us the answer the coal lobby want.

    …and aint that the truth… more delaying tactics, more repugnant talk under the guise of “free speech” or “passionate” about whatever.

    Am I hearing an increasing level of noise from that backbencher, wotisiname? Abbott? – on the ABC airwaves.

    Not sure if I can stomach watching Q&A tonight.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Q&A is a must watch tonight IMO.

    Josh Frydenberg, Mark Butler, Alan Finkel and the CEOs of Energy Consumers Australia and the Climate Council.

    It may not be uplifting or informative but it will certainly give some idea of how the tide is flowing.

  35. Matters Not

    Yes Q&A should be interesting. Nevertheless it’s a great pity that we will hear from three politicians – Josh Frydenberg, Mark Butler, and the latest recruit, Alan Finkel – but we won’t hear from an uncompromised Chief Scientist whose role should be crucial in this ‘debate’.

    When science and politics conflate, the perceived objectivity of science suffers. Finkel’s diminished the Role of the Chief Scientist.

    One might ask the question tonight as whether Finkel was paid any additional monies for his contribution. Or did he ‘suicide’ his role for free?

  36. Matters Not

    What will also be interesting in tonight’s debate is the desired future role of Dutton and his determination to destroy the separation of powers. In particular the concept of judicial oversight:

    Lawyers, including the country’s peak law body, have condemned Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s latest citizenship crackdown as a power grab that threatens the independence of the judiciary .

    Under changes to be put to Parliament this week, the minister will be empowered to overrule citizenship decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, in a bid to put a stop to its “silly” rulings.

    Just imagine a situation when supposed silly rulings will be determined by none other than Peter Dutton.

    Remember, it was Dutton who argued in Cabinet (to much hilarity at that time) that it was wrong to let the Courts decide because they might let them off.

  37. Matters Not

    The real author (brains) behind Gonski was Ken Boston. Gonski himself never entered in to the deep and meaningfuls debate because he recognised he was just the ‘front man’. Nothing wrong with that. Happens all the time. Nevertheless, I get the clear impression that Finkel believes he has skin in the game in a serious way.

    Yet he has a tendency to use the we rather than the I. Will check out tomorrow the composition of his expert panel. Would like to know who the ‘brain’ was.

  38. diannaart

    Last night’s Q&A

    Apart from suppressing the desire to smash Frydenberg’s smug face with something large and spiky, I retained sufficient focus as Finkel explained his stance on technology; that is he is “technology neutral”, when pressed for an explanation, he admitted that his plans included both coal and nuclear as well as sustainable.

    Well, we have a new weasel term: Technology Neutral – which also means anything goes just so long as we stay within the Paris accord – am sceptical to see how Australia can meet its obligations given that the LNP believe Finkel has given coal a, er, ‘green’ light..

  39. David Tyler

    On Q&A, Finkel emerged as just another Liberal Party stooge. No attempt to explain how his rigged panel came up with its findings?
    Would a technology neutral review panel really need to include two or 50% fossil fuel power company executives?

  40. helvityni

    Yes David, Finkel was a Fizza…

  41. diannaart


    I have been intending doing a bit of background research on the rather Dickensian-looking Finkel. OK, so I am not up with every science advisor to the Fed government and that is no excuse because how many science advisors do the coalition refer to? No many, given inclusion of fossil fuel EO’s. Can’t let facts get in the way of vested interests.

    Had to admire young Amanda of the Climate Council – I hope she didn’t bite a chunk of her cheek in her effort to stay silent between Frydenberg and Finkel and Jones, who could’ve mentioned human induced climate change. Or do we only refer to what is happening to our atmosphere as just one of the many events of climate change throughout the eons, without reference that not all life survived all the many climate changes? Which IS a bit of a mouthful.

    Have to go lie down.

  42. Kaye Lee

    Finkel seems to have changed his tune from articles he wrote previously. This from October 2013……

    “The only way to meet the energy demands of the future, without sacrificing standards of living or undermining the economy, is to supply most energy requirements by electricity, a vision I like to call the ‘‘electric planet’’.

    The transformation to an electric planet takes place in two steps – the first, to replace our existing electricity supply with clean electricity; the second, to generate a lot more of it to replace the fossil fuels that we currently use for transportation and heating.

    Step one alone would eliminate 33 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions if implemented in the United States.

    For step two, start by converting all the cars and some of the heavier vehicles to run on clean electricity, thereby cutting emissions by another 18 per cent. To go further, generate even more clean electricity and replace a modest two-thirds of the fossil fuel burnt for industrial, commercial and residential heating to save a further 20 per cent.

    These savings combined would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70 per cent.

    If the shift were not rushed, it would not be significantly more costly than business as usual or compromise our high standard of living. Coal-fired electricity generators could be closed down and replaced with clean alternatives as they reached the end of their life. Electric cars could replace internal-combustion-engine cars as consumers upgraded their vehicles.

    Other problems are overstated. Losses through transmission and distribution are less than 7 per cent on average and the environmental effects of manufacturing batteries are small compared with the mitigated carbon-dioxide emissions.

    The combination of renewables and gas allows the economic delivery of an expanded electricity supply which, while not zero emission, would be very low.

    The engineering might be the easy part. To achieve the electric planet by 2050, we need to agree on the vision and set in motion an international strategy now.

    Even if the politics looks harder than the science, we mustn’t be deterred. Earth is the best planet we have.”

    Apparently now, the best planet we have is up for sacrifice for the best job Finkel has had.

  43. David Tyler

    A timely and interesting report, Kaye. The closer you look, the more it is clear how compromised the review is.
    In Finkel’s first draft last year he foresaw an “unstoppable” energy transition, driven by new technologies and the role of the consumer. But by the final cop-out version rooftop solar is an pale and pro-industry 11 per cent of total generation by 2050 – more of an echo of AGL’s plans for our future, than independent science such as our CSIRO which estimates up to 50 per cent.
    Fairfax’s Peter Hannam has a useful summary of how Finkel is a political rather than than a climate change solution.

  44. diannaart

    Alan Finkel’s tertiary qualifications:

    Dr Finkel has an extensive science background as an entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist and educator.

    Prior to becoming Chief Scientist, he was the eighth Chancellor of Monash University and the eighth President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).

    Dr Finkel was awarded his PhD in electrical engineering from Monash University and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience at the Australian National University.

    Finkel was educated at Monash University, receiving a doctorate in Electrical Engineering in 1981. He then served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian National University, before leaving academia to found Axon Instruments, a global science and technology company based in the US.[4] During this time, he invented a commercially successful device which substantially speeds up drug research.

    Since then, he has used his wealth to found the science magazine Cosmos, an environment magazine called G: The Green Lifestyle Magazine and contribute towards a number of research institutes. During a speech at Monash University’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner, he announced that he would be endowing a Chair in Global Health for the University.

    There is no doubting Finkel’s qualification as an engineer. His knowledge of neuroscience is the result of post-doctoral studies and research – NOT years of medical research and studies.

    Apart from a clearly demonstrable ability for science, Finkel has no tertiary background in Climate, Environment, ecology or even basic biology.

    I have to wonder if a scientist truly versed in the natural sciences would have sold out as easily as Finkel. He was already successful, wealthy and lauded in his career. So why water down his report?

    The irony is that the ‘denier’ faction of the LNP still see Finkel’s blueprint as a gigantic leap into action on climate change, when it is anything but. I thought narrow minded people were good at locating convenient loopholes for themselves. If I can see how Finkel’s report still allows ‘clean’ fossil fuels (which Adani claims to be), what is their problem? I realise the obvious answer is “stupidity” but not all neo-cons are completely brainless.

  45. Ted

    An article by Mel Mac re Finkel and Ziggy and their nuclear ambitions appeared @ AIMN a couple of years ago. This whole show is about softening the public up for the introduction of nuclear power to replace coal. Would have thought the Fukushima incident would have been enough to scuttle the concept forever and a day, but nope, there’s $ to be made.

  46. Arthur Baker

    Ted, there’s a big difference between nuclear power in Japan and nuclear power in Australia. A very big difference. Japan is in a major earthquake zone. Australia is not.

  47. havanaliedown

    Fulkushima – built on the coast of an earthquake and tsunami-prone country.

    I’d vote Labor if Big Power Bill promised nuclear energy instead of his unreliable and inefficient rainbow and unicorn power. I just wouldn’t trust his CFMEU thug buddies to build and operate it.

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