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Abbott, Briggs, Pyne: Memory Over Forgetting…

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”

Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

The release of the Energy White Paper, which coincidentally occured about the same time as the realisation of the need for a task force into the drug “ice” told the public some interesting things about the government’s position on energy.

Put simply, it doesn’t have one. It thinks that it’d be best to let “the market” decide. Which if nothing else, is at least consistent with the Abbott Government’s view that “the market” is in the best position to decide everything except how to deal with the “ice epedemic”. For that, we need a recently retired policeman, because, hey, law enforcement agencies have a much better understanding of how to deal with illicit drugs than health workers, economists or even businessmen.

Now those of you who read my blog the other day, may remember this:

“The Australian Government does not support reserving gas for domestic use. Reservation would result in less profitable production, attracting less investment, thereby reducing supply and raising costs.”

But Noam Chomsky once said that the best place to get the truth is the business pages, and strangely they told me something different. (Still Chomsky is a notorious left-winger and we know that means that his opinion doesn’t count, and if decent people had their way, their votes wouldn’t be counted either!) So imagine my confusion after reading this in the Business Pages of “The Age” in Peter Ker’s article.

“The timing of the supply deal will coincide with the peak of predicted gas shortages in Australia’s east coast gas market, as the Gladstone plants begin exporting LNG to international customers, and will allow AGL to buy gas from the southern end of the market and potentially sell it for more at the northern end of the market.”

Now, it does seem to me strange that the White Paper seems to suggesting that gas would be more affordable after the gas can be sold for more. But hey, I’m no economist, and the business pages are boring and not worth reading, right?

Although this little quote from Peter Reith in the same article also caught my eye:

“There is a lot of nonsense said about coal seam gas but here is a group willing to invest large amounts of money into the sector. It goes to show this brand new industry in Queensland is here to stay.

“It is a blow to the greenies because it shows these big companies are making big decisions involving large sums and have confidence that the Australian government will take rational decisions on developing our coal seam gas assets.”

 

(One presumes he’s using “rational” here in the sense of “economic rationalism” which is best understood by reading Jonathan Swift’s “A Moderate Proposal” where he suggested marketing babies as gourmet food in an attempt to solve Ireland’s twin problems of over-population and their poor balance of payments due to a lack of export industries. Swift’s satire was taken up by actual economists in the 20th Century who, by adding it to a couple of quotes from Adam Smith – I mean, who had time to read a whole book by some guy from a couple of centuries ago – invented what we now call “economic rationalism”.)

Now when Mr Reith’s statement is put beside this statement from the White Paper, it makes an interesting little discussion point for people:

“The Australian Government supports a technology neutral approach to our future electricity and transport fuel supply and will continue to support research, development and demonstration of new energy technologies, while removing unnecessary regulatory and other non-market barriers to future technologies.”

Unnecessary regulatory and other non-market barriers to future technologies???

I’ll leave you to think about that one, because I’m still stuck on trying to work out what “a technology neutral” approach is…

If you wantt to read the whole summary in PDF form it’s here. You’ll also note that there’s a section called “Fast Facts”, which made me wonder whether there’s such a thing as “Slow Facts”.

Although, the phrase “fast and loose with the truth” did come to mind.

But all this talk about energy reminded me of when that man with the grown-up name of “Jamie”, Mr Briggs attacked ANU for divesting itself of shares in various fossil fuel companies. His condemnation was soon echoed by Christopher Pyne and Joe Hockey. I even wrote about it at the time. From reading the graph in the article, I can see that Santos shares were trading at around $13 at the time.

Now, I’m the sort of man who’s always prepared to admit when I’m wrong. And when it happens, I’ll let you know. However, in this case, I’m wondering if any journalist will be brave enough to ask any of those investment advisers of Briggs and Pyne whether it would be good for the ANU to buy back their Santos shares. I mean, they are trading a $7.37, so they’d only have to invest about half as much money to get the same number of shares. Or whether they now agree with Credit Suisse who suggested in January that Santos shares were “worthless”.

Ah, memory and forgetting. As I’ve said many times, I strongly suspect that the next Budget will be sunshine and lollipops, with the plan to go to the next election this year, before the fan is hit with the stuff that usually comes out of Joe Hockey’s mouth. Then, when re-elected, they’ll argue that things have changed and we need a mini-Budget to take away the lollipops and block that sun because all the solar panesl are putting our friends in the fossil fuel industry at risk.

But, I could be wrong.

There’s a very real chance that we may actually remember what a dunce Abbott really is. Well, even if we don’t, there’s a very real chance that – during an election campaign – he’ll find ways to remind us!

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14 comments

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  1. CMMC

    Maybe ‘unnecessary regulations’ mean Newtons Laws of Thermodynamics.

  2. Kerri

    Excellent article Rossleigh! Yep even the dimmest of us recognise that selling our gas overseas is a wedge to force coalseam gas to be accepted just as we dummies out here in voter land recognise that those expensive lifestyle communities in outback Western Australia are probably sitting on some sort of mineral that can be exploited by Gina or Twiggy or Rio BHP Billiton etc.

  3. Harquebus

    We are being governed by fools and are going to die prematurely because of it.

    “Extreme energy requires extreme, high risk finance; and perhaps more importantly a political and regulatory process which turns a blind eye to those risks”
    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2817551/underground_coal_gasification_hellfires_threaten_tyneside_and_the_north_sea.html

    CSG has failed everywhere else every time.

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein
    “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” — Albert Einstein
    “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein

    My two cents worth:
    Population reduction and control is the only viable solution to pollution, scarcity, resource depletion, climate change, the sterilization of our oceans, the destruction of our environment and energy shortages.

  4. Ross in Gippsland

    Is it just me or does anyone else think it passing strange that we have to pay much more for our gas so that some business can now get first dibs and sell it all overseas. Who’s resource is it? I’ve run it through the calculator and it just not add up.
    And don’t ever ask about the utter total rip off petrol prices are now in rural areas.

  5. stephentardrew

    We are living in giant ponzy scheme perpetrated by the wealthy and powerful and controlled by the one percent. Everywhere we look there are devious deals being done to empower the corporate oligarchs of which the TPP is the nail in the coffin for financially and environmentally regulated nationalism. Divide and rule is the mantra whereby each country is beholden to the same banking and finance system linked across political and national boarders encouraged by the World Bank and IMF. US, Russia, China, Europe, South America, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia Singapore etc. seemingly have localised governments and political parties of various stripes who, in the overall scheme of things, are playing the same game with bells and whistles thrown in to pacify the local populace. The more I observer the military industrial complex it becomes apparent that war has benefits for the oligarchs regardless of winners and loosers and they are quite happy to keep encouraging wars simply for the sake of war. US activity and devious crossed alliances in the Middle East is so glaring obvious as to be irrefutable.

    The resource sector is no different. This is why the truly progressive left have been so marginalised by the right and center because there is no longer a viable progressive movement having been vilified as communists, socialists, lefties etc. while the middle are now labeled lefties by the right thus undermining the true left and progressive movement. The equivalent of the Labor party internationally play the pretense of so called socialism while being thoroughly entrenched in neo-con supply side, trickle-up tomfoolery. The game is ridged the final quarter is coming while the poor are going to suffer for a very long time if something is not done to stop the ship of greedy malevolent fools. My friends opposite is a farcical manipulation while we give mutual respect to cruelty intolerance and greed.

    Just reviewing articles on and critiques on AIMN this year sends a shudder down mys spine at the cumulative effects of corporate fascism. Rather than improving the lot of the poor and underprivileged they have been vilified internationally as the left moves to right of center and the true values of justice and equity fall into decay and despair.

    My purpose is not to encourage conspiracy but to be very clear about what is going on and the fact that the old political paradigms, including Greens, are missing the fundamental logical and rational connections between science, justice and equality. To my mind many academics avoid responsibility through appeals to the skeptical mantra when they need to take a full frontal stand against social Darwinism and economic rationalism. Many academics also strive to confront injustice and environmental destruction however there is no dominant body that represents the rights of the poor, marginalised and underprivileged. Many NGO’s are divided while struggling to meet their specific goals devoid of a central organisational body of progressive political activism.

    The psyche evidence clearly demonstrates people need hope and a sense of awe and wonder to fight for something worthwhile so science must find some metaphysical grounds for hope and wonder at the vast unknowns and potentialities available in the future. We must stop viewing people as corporate commodities or categories for scientific study and set an agenda for social justice and equity by choice and volition. It can be done however ideologues, dogmatists, empiricists, atheists, agnostics and independent thinkers need to compromise to find common ground urgently. Vilifying religion is just going to cause endless conflict so how do we reach a rapprochement?

    Do unto others, least harm and the Platonic good are fine starting points.

  6. stephentardrew

    We are living in giant ponzy scheme perpetrated by the wealthy and powerful and controlled by the one percent. Everywhere we look there are devious deals being done to empower the corporate oligarchs of which the TPP is the nail in the coffin for financially and environmentally regulated nationalism. Divide and rule is the mantra whereby each country is beholden to the same banking and finance system linked across political and national boarders encouraged by the World Bank and IMF. US, Russia, China, Europe, South America, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia Singapore etc. seemingly have localised governments and political parties of various stripes who, in the overall scheme of things, are playing the same game with bells and whistles thrown in to pacify the local populace. The more I observer the military industrial complex it becomes apparent that war has benefits for the oligarchs regardless of winners and loosers and they are quite happy to keep encouraging wars simply for the sake of war. US activity and devious crossed alliances in the Middle East is so glaring obvious as to be irrefutable.

    The resource sector is no different. This is why the truly progressive left have been so marginalised by the right and center because there is no longer a viable progressive movement having been vilified as communists, socialists, lefties etc. while the middle are now labeled lefties by the right thus undermining the true left and progressive movement. The equivalent of the Labor party internationally play the pretense of so called socialism while being thoroughly entrenched in neo-con supply side, trickle-up tomfoolery. The game is ridged the final quarter is coming while the poor are going to suffer for a very long time if something is not done to stop the ship of greedy malevolent fools. My friends opposite is a farcical manipulation while we give mutual respect to cruelty intolerance and greed.

    Just reviewing articles on and critiques on AIMN this year sends a shudder down mys spine at the cumulative effects of corporate fascism. Rather than improving the lot of the poor and underprivileged they have been vilified internationally as the left moves to right of center and the true values of justice and equity fall into decay and despair.

    My purpose is not to encourage conspiracy but to be very clear about what is going on and the fact that the old political paradigms, including Greens, are missing the fundamental logical and rational connections between science, justice and equality. To my mind many academics avoid responsibility through appeals to the skeptical mantra when they need to take a full frontal stand against social Darwinism and economic rationalism. Many academics also strive to confront injustice and environmental destruction however there is no dominant body that represents the rights of the poor, marginalised and underprivileged. Many NGO’s are divided while struggling to meet their specific goals devoid of a central organisational body of progressive political activism.

    The psyche evidence clearly demonstrates people need hope and a sense of awe and wonder to fight for something worthwhile so science must find some metaphysical grounds for hope and wonder at the vast unknowns and potentialities available in the future. We must stop viewing people as corporate commodities or categories for scientific study and set an agenda for social justice and equity by choice and volition. It can be done however ideologues, dogmatists, empiricists, atheists, agnostics and independent thinkers need to compromise to find common ground urgently. Vilifying religion is just going to cause endless conflict so how do we reach a rapprochement?

    Do unto others, least harm and the Platonic good are fine starting points.

  7. eli nes

    Great job, rossleigh!
    It is articles like this that makes me wonder why dr karl’s dribbling endorsement of abbott’s vision should be treated differently to any other moirologist but he is plastered all over foxtel and is making an easter sunday of a political document.
    Still the assumption that science is more driven by fact than ‘phantasy’ is as silly as thinking scientists are apolitical as both are driven by money and, despite the boy’s debt crisis, which the softly spoke authoritative scientist bleats as the excuse for us all lifting the load, there is always plenty of cash for the pork barrel.
    Shame on you Karl!!!!

  8. stephentardrew

    Sellout Karl makes a parody of the science opinion divide.

    The guy just completely lost any respect I had for him.

    There are as many dumb scientist as any other cohort in our society. So dear people be wary of the silky tongues of scientists unless you are willing to do follow up research.

    Though many scientist don’t like it Thomas Kuhn’s “Theory of Scientific Revolutions” and incommensurabillity of the old with new revolutions in science he does demonstrate that science is, in the large meta-theoretical respect, open to change and radical reformation.

    This has been obvious since the discovery of relativity, quantum mechanics, dark energy, cold dark matter and the consequent paradoxes and counterintuitives. It pays to be skeptical of the skeptics.

    It may not seem much to the ordinary punter however recently it was discovered that cold dark matter, which interacts with ordinary matter and helps to hold galaxies together, does not interact when galaxies merge. Therefore Cold Dark Matter does not seem to interact with itself. Such a simple result has profound implications for cosmology and thus the old assumptions are incommensurable with the new. Scientist still have no idea what cold dark matter is.

    Bit technical but makes the point.

    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-galaxy-clusters-collidedark-mystery.html#jCp

  9. Annie B

    Great article Rossleigh …I ‘think’ I enjoyed its content – certainly did enjoy the way it was written.

    Not too fond however, of the thought of ‘sunshine and lollipops ‘ … which no doubt will happen, before this awful government pulls the rug out from under us – again. … Probably will shut off or shut down more good works in our country – through what they blithely call – ” regulation ” !!!

    …..

    Stephen – you dazzle us / me with science, but you always prompt me to go do some research. Which ultimately has me spending much time on the computer, trying to understand what it is I am reading … ( but I do understand some of it – so not quite still in kindergarten at this point ). …. I appreciate that – seriously.

    Your first 3 paragraphs instantly brought to mind, that you were describing the ” New World Order ” … or its assumption. However, I still don’t know if the NWO is fact or fallacy. ??

    …….

    eli nes – – – ref : your comment –

    ” Still the assumption that science is more driven by fact than ‘phantasy’ is as silly as thinking scientists are apolitical as both are driven by money >>>> … ”

    I think that’s a wee bit harsh. …. have always believed that science is constantly in a state of flux, and is somewhere between fact and fantasy, most of the time.

    That is said in NO way to denigrate the great strides science has made, and that scientists contribute. Scientists become what they are – to prove / disprove whatever problem they are given or discover to solve – and they set about it diligently – money or not. ….. Abbotts’ deductions in contributions to science, ultimately will not stop them. …. what it most likely will do is see a brain drain of the best of our young enthusiastic ‘ solvers of improbables ‘ – to overseas interests. …. Not for their personal pockets – but for their research.

    Have had the pleasure and privilege of knowing one such scientist in my life – and if I were to ask her about her political affiliations ( which I wouldn’t ) … I rather think she might say ” politics – what’s that ? ” … before returning to her petrie dishes. …. ( that’s just an assumption on my part. !! )

  10. Annie B

    Ok – I know this is the wrong thread to post it on – but the image at the top made me think about it.

    Put that moustache on the current self-appointed ‘leader’ of the Reclaim Australia mob, and throw in the flag shown, and you have an idea of what he is, and who he is trying to emulate.

    Apart from being one of the greatest con artists around, he is either a) an extremely dangerous person who does indeed infect with charisma …. or he is a splash in the pan / a one day wonder.

    I do hope it is the latter.

    ( I will try and find the original post – and add a little more to this one – my Inbox at Gmail is a right mess !! ).

  11. stephentardrew

    Ross the madness goes on.

    Austerity will be the death of us yet.

    From Bill Mitchell’s latest blog.

    Friday lay day – The Troika is the enemy and its either exit or capitulation
    Posted on Friday, April 10, 2015 by bill

    “The Greek government paid €450 million back to the IMF bloodsuckers yesterday which apparently calmed markets (Source). How can a so-called bankrupt country afford to pay that sort of cash? Well it can by causing more unemployment and poverty. The Government is trying to appease the Troika (IMF, ECB and the European Union) so that they will given them more cash in the coming weeks. Appeasement is an appropriate word here. Just as in the historical context, it means going along with something evil that will ultimately backfire and cause more grief.”

    Friday lay day – The Troika is the enemy and its either exit or capitulation

  12. vivienne29

    The fact that CSG is something I am against is one thing…… but if it is so good and necessary for us, why don’t we get to keep any of it. Export it all? Where will the profit wind up – in Singapore? It’s all rubbish. We’re flogging off so much other real natural gas. Didn’t Gough want to build a pipeline across Australia. Isn’t that what we should be doing? Real infrastructure, jobs and benefits for Aussies all. So much makes me sick. Reith can eff off – just a well paid ex pollie blathering on about something of which he actually knows stuff all.

  13. gangey1959

    Is that a picture of a genuine DT front cover?
    Or an ad from one of the supermarkets, with the only salient point being the top right hand pink bit ?
    I am at a bit of a loss as to the stupidity of most people.
    I mean, how is it that our major race-horse breeders in the Hunter region have only just now realised that there is a great coal mine just over the hill?
    Does JoJo really think that we will believe him when he tells us that wind turbines slow down the wind? (Don’t tell him, but if we put the blades on backwards on enough of them all at once the planet will spin the other way, and all of the poor people will fall off.)
    BMW drivers still believe that this is the initials of Bavarian Motor Works. It isn’t. It is a warning to the rest of us that there is a
    Bloody Minded Wanker at the wheel. (And Audi drivers are so intelligent they display their IQ’s on their grilles too.)
    And now Julie Bishop is going to ask the Iranian government, which has at least questionable moral standards, to please take off our hands a lot of it’s own people who have managed to run away as far as Australia, but as they are dragging down our own International Refugee Management KPI’s too far, Iran needs to take them back. We know they will be treated with compassion.
    I don’t know. Maybe I’m just having a bad day. Or week.
    Or maybe it’s the thought that with April 25 fast approaching, and with tony abbott’s record of doing Australia proud on the International stage of shitloads to zero against, that on what is going to be arguably our most important Memorial occasion in living memory, some dumb pommy prat is going to be nothing short of an international embarrassment and disgrace. Again.
    I just hope he has his bags packed, because if he stuffs it up this time he had better just keep going, and hope that Sir Prince Phil the Greek and Queenie can find him somewhere to hide. Maybe under ‘Lexie Downer’s bed.

    Bye for now. Nursey says it’s time for my medicine and some sleep. Apparently I’ve been grumpy all day.

    BTW. There are some sensational articles being written. I only wish I was capable of such skill.
    I also wish that our members of Parliament (ALL of them) were made to read them. It might get some of them to wake up and smell the roses, and realise that bullshit is bullshit, regardless of who pays you to spread it.

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