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Book Review: Surviving the 21st Century

Surviving the 21st Century Humanity’s Ten Great Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them is Julian Cribb’s latest book. I was halfway through Chapter Two when I thought, “This book should be mandatory reading for every politician around the globe.” Everyone, politician or not, can benefit and learn from the insights and information Cribb shares with us.

Cribb takes complex global issues and distills them into a crystal clear picture of where we currently stand. Surviving the 21st Century will not be as easy as our leaders would have us believe. After my thought of required reading for politicians, I read the dustjacket reviews. I know, I know – odd timing, convention suggests I should have read them first, but I prefer to make up my own mind.

One of the dustjacket reviews by Professor Clive Hamilton, author of Requiem for a Species and Earthmasters:

With astonishing breadth of knowledge and acute observational skills, Julian Cribb has given us a book that is a kind of report on the state of life on the planet. At the centre of life on earth, he tells us, is the creature known as homo sapiens – self-deceiver, degrader, destroyer, anything it seems but sapiens. And yet, if we peer through the gloom is that a spark we can just make out, the spark of wisdom?

Jenny Goldie, past president of Sustainable Population Australia writes, “This is an important book. Few others deal with so many confronting problems in an integrated way.” The added emphasis is mine. This is what I see as the greatest value of this book to any reader: scientist, politician, educator or layperson. Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas says, “… absolutely essential reading for all politicians and policy makers, voters and young people everywhere. … Grandparents should read the book with particular care.”

Ten Greatest Threats

Cribb takes the ten greatest threats to human existence and suggests we do “the very thing we humans have always done best: understand and find co-operative solutions to life-threatening challenges”. He doesn’t just describe the threats, he offers solutions.

Cribb got me in the first chapter, Homo suilaudans. The Self-Worshipper. He describes how we ended up with the sapiens tag simply so the father of taxonomy could avoid a massive dispute (or possibly worse, given the era) with the religious fanaticism of his time. Heaven help anyone who suggested humans were not some form of divine special creation. Cribb asks the question, did this actually set a terrible trap for humans? Perhaps it did. “A name is who you are.” Or who you think you are, or want to be. As this book so clearly describes, we are not wise. Not at all.

A Topsoil Fact

Some of the facts Cribb covers I was already aware of. But I have learnt much. One learning that I found particularly interesting involves topsoil. Cribb relates how today’s crop varieties are developed to grow in modern, degraded soils. Such crops are lower in micronutrients and higher in carbohydrates and this situation is a major driver of the global obesity pandemic and other diet related diseases. I look at such things from a personal perspective – is this likely to be contributing to the ever increasing and as yet unexplained incidence of auto-immune conditions? I share this to illustrate we are ALL impacted, all readers will find relevance. All of the threats are relevant to all of us – it is our survival at stake.

The water situation globally is horrifying. Deforestation. Population growth. Bringing all these problems together is what Cribb does so well. Big problems, readily solved. If we use some wisdom.

I don’t want to share spoilers – this book is one each reader needs to discover at their own pace. I could not read this book in one session. It is damn scary. It is also immensely encouraging because while the facts are disastrous, Cribb clearly shows there are ways we can get through this. Ways to ensure surviving the 21st century.

If we stop being Homo delusus.

The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe.” – Voltaire (Surviving the 21st Century, p 171)

Like, you know, “clean coal”.

Fund Science

One conclusion I came to is the current trend of many in power ignoring science, of slashing funding for scientific endeavour, has to stop. That, my friends, is up to us, the voters.

I’ve never demonstrated or marched – been tempted a few times over the years, but never did. On Saturday, April 22, I marched. For science. I’m interested in surviving. I want my grandchildren to survive. I publish this review on ANZAC Day. My father fought in World War II – he didn’t fight so we could become extinct – at our own hands.

March for Science

Honour The Sabbath, But Clearly In A Clearly Optional Way OR Why Tony Is The Only True Conservative Left!

Recently I’ve speculated on how the Christian Right have found clear evidence about the Bible’s opposition to gay marriage based on highly ambiguous readings of obscure verses here and there, but not one of them has come out and condemned the reduction of penalty rates on Sundays. I suppose one could argue that they see it as a sin anyway and whether one is paid double time or not is hardly the issue. However, I would expect that someone like Neil who graced us with his presence in the comments, or Lyle Shelton would have been jumping up and down and complaining about the abolition of penalty rates leading to more sin…

Yes, the wages of sin is death… But you do get to pick your own hours and the working conditions are pretty good!

I don’t know why I chose to start talking about penalty rates. I’m really much more interested in the coming leadership challenge which leaves us with a Liberal Party 100% behind Scott Morrison… Or Peter Dutton, if they decide that he’s the only one who’s still friendly enough with the Tony to convince him to take the effing job in London before they have to revoke his citizenship under the recent changes allowing us to cancel it when dual citizens commit crimes such as sedition… Sedition can loosely be defined as trying to bring down the government, and they could even get a jury to convict Abbott on that.

Ok, ok, I know that Abbott isn’t really a dual citizen and that he revoked his British citizenship some time ago, but he won’t tell us when because it’s a deeply personal thing and therefore an operational matter. Of course, when I say that I know, I’m using the words “I know” in the same way that Donald Trump knows that nobody understands the world like him and he knows that climate change is part of a conspiracy between Hillary and the Chinese to destroy Trump Tower!

Anyway…

Tony decided to warn his colleagues that they were in danger of losing the next election because they weren’t conservative enough. The Tone decided to do this – not in the Party room where he was concerned that his mates may be asleep or not paying attention – but via the media. In the everyday world where most of us live this would be the normal way of doing things. If you had a problem with your boss, you wouldn’t blurt it out at a staff meeting. No, you’d publish it on social media in the hope that someone would bring it to his attention and he’d go, “Yes, that person had a point, I’ll change my ways!”

Peta Credlin rushed to Tony’s defence. He wasn’t being disloyal. He was just frustrated. She quickly added that she was no longer working for Tony and her reflections were just to help us all understand that it was his pent-up frustration and that she wasn’t speaking on his behalf. No, she was just presuming that he was frustrated, and she was just trying to explain what he gets like when he’s frustrated by not having his own way. No, she may no longer be his Chief of Staff, but she knows where he’s coming from!

Tony, we’ll all have you know, is simply trying to keep the Liberal Party together. And we all know that the best way to keep a party together is to criticise it in public…

Yes, Labor has disunity; the Liberals have “a broad church”.

And part of this broad church, in the Gospel according to St Tony, tells us that we should just get rid of all the nonsense that we pretended to believe in when we were trying to get elected. You know, like all that nonsense he pretended to believe in when he was studying to be a priest before he realised that he’d never be Pope.

I mean, don’t you all understand the threat of One Nation?

No, not the One Nation which encourages songs like “We’re all in this together” or multicuturalism. No, the One Nation that wants to exclude most people in our nation from anything approaching rights and thinks that penalty rates should just be abolished altogether and women get pregnant for the money!

You know, One Nation…

Remember, Tony did his bit by meeting with Pauline where they had a jolly good laugh about how he raised the funds to have her put in jail.

You know, One Nation…

Who’ve hired James Ashby. Remember him? He left the Liberals to go and work for Peter Slipper. That worked out badly and he had to leave because he alleged that Slipper was sexually harassing him, but his case sort of fell down when his reaction to a text about being spanked was to reply that he might like it. (This is not a joke. Unless Winston Smith has started to work for the government it’s easily searchable!) Now James is working for Pauline and Tony is saying that we need to be less consistent to what we believe and more like PHON!

You know, One Nation…

Whom Abbott seems to believe may take votes off the Liberals and are a threat.

You know, One Nation…

The Party that the Liberals decided to preference above their Coalition partners in WA. Of course, helping them get elected doesn’t mean that we support them and agree with them. We’re just doing it because we’d trade preferences with the devil himself if he it helped us get elected. I mean, at least we have sunk so low as to work with The Greens!

Yes, it’s a worry that people may start to agree with One Nation whose candidates have done such wonderful things as suggesting that a termite repellent can be used to treat skin cancer (or could, were it not for the fact that silly regulations have stopped it’s import, just because a few people have needed hospitalisation because they have large holes in their face) and the idea that gay people are using “Nazi mind control” to change our thinking. I can see more votes leaking to One Nation than the Labor Party or The Greens. God, doesn’t Donald Trump show how dangerous the left can be?

When I suggest that the Liberals will call a spill this week, it seems highly unlikely at the time of writing. However, in a world where Abbott was elected as PM and Turnbull is praising the virtues of coal and Bill Shorten looks the most sincere of the three*, then it’s a risky call to bet against me unless you’re getting good odds. Do I think, Malcolm will be PM by the end of the week? Probably… But I am prepared to suggest that the person who suggested that Turnbull would go on to be one of our longest-serving and most successful Prime Ministers must be wishing that they’d decided to write a column about the achievements of Lachlan Macquarie instead!

*I only said, of the three, AND I do know we could have a long discussion about it, but the idea that it’s even debatable is EXACTLY my point!

The Phone Call – Turnbull Is Assured Or So I’m Led To Believe By Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless!

From “The Sydney Morning Herald:

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has received Donald Trump’s personal assurance that a deal for the US to resettle refugees from Nauru and Manus Island will go ahead, despite the US President’s harsh immigration policies sending shockwaves around the world…

Mr Turnbull’s office declined to comment on the 25-minute phone call with Mr Trump. Fairfax Media has been told the President confirmed his administration would honour last year’s agreement, though it remains unclear how many of the roughly 2000 asylum-seekers held on Nauru and Manus Island will be resettled in the US.
Under the Obama deal, final details, including the number to be resettled, were not expected to be nailed down until the second half of this year, after US officials scrutinised applications and carried out security checks.”

Ok, now I really hope I’m wrong, but it does strike me that this is one of those ones where you say something’s happening and if we all go, “That’s good,” and forget about it then there’s really no problem. However, being a cynical sort of chap, I do have to wonder about three things in the SMH report.

1. Why, if the deal is going ahead, did Mr Turnbull’s office decline to comment?
2. “Fairfax media has been told that the President confirmed his administration would honour last year’s agreement…” BY WHOM? Turnbull’s office is declining to comment about the phone call, Trump’s press release merely said that they were happy that Australia is happy to do whatever the US wants in return for having its tummy-tickled while the President says, “Who’s a good boy then!”, so who was this anonymous person who told Fairfax about the agreement? Was it the same person who led the ABC and The Australian to “understand” that the deal was going ahead?
3. How on earth does it take the USA nearly a year to check out people who’ve had Australia checking them out for the past four years? Do they have to check everything again? And then check the people doing the checking?

Of course, if someone connected to the government was briefing journalists “off the record”, then why is it off the record? And if it’s on the record, why not say a spokesman for Mr Turnbull or the Minister for Information and Newspeak told us the Mr Trump said such and such. Surely, journalists would ask why they’re being briefed off the record, why this isn’t official statement! Surely, they wouldn’t just report someone saying, “Look, I can’t tell you this officially but Mr Trump said that he was totally ok with the deal, but we just have to say nothing for now, but you can report that it’s on. Trust me, I’m saying this on behalf of the people who are declining to comment. Yes, the deal is going ahead and the US will take some of the people on Manus and Nauru. No, we don’t know how many. No, we don’t know when. But it’s definite. No problem. Rock solid guarantee. Trump said he’ll take any that fit the criteria. What criteria is that? Not sure, it was a quick phone call and Malcolm only had time to ask how he was doing and to make a couple of jokes and to say that he was hoping that the TPP wasn’t dead yet, but if it is, well, that’s ok, because the USA has no truer friend than Australia even if, Mr President, I had to spend the first five minutes on of the call waiting while you found it on a map. We still love you, even if you love another more. Well, the criteria might be that they’re not Muslims. Or from Syria or Iran. Or any one of a number of other countries. And, of course, they can’t be law-breakers. No, being an “illegal immigrant” doesn’t count. Why not? Um, look, I’m just speaking of the record here so I don’t have any actual information, but you can just write that it’s going ahead, ok, and we can all get back to worrying about Jobs and Growth… Sorry, don’t mention growth. Jobs and innovation.”

For the sake of those on Manus and Nauru, I really hope I’m wrong. I really hope we see something official in the next few days, but given this government’s lack of follow-through with even the things they’ve announced, I have to wonder when Turnbull’s office is declining to comment. But hey, Mr Turnbull is probably preparing a press release as I write this and there’ll be a big announcement and a timetable for when the people on Nauru will be re-settled. And even a timetable for the ones on Manus who were found to be being held “illegally”. Yeah, all ok now. We can go back to sleep.

P.S. I’ve started tagging a lot of my posts “climate change” in order to waste the time of paid climate change deniers who’ll read the whole thing and then wonder why there’s nothing they can be commenting on. Alternatively, they may comment anyway, which’ll just prove that they’re not really interested in “discussing the science”. My apologies if you read it because you feel that you desperately needed to be informed about the topic and haven’t realised that you’ve probably read enough things that should prompt you to actually start doing something to counter the misinformation out there!

Jobs And Grr… Sorry, I meant to say Jobs and Gr…

Sorry, that was meant to be “growth” in the title but for some reason “growth” just stopped, and I think we all know the reason why it’s so hard to have any sort of gr…

Gro…

G-G-r-r-o…

Oh dear, it just won’t appear.

Anyway, I think we know the reason. It’s because of you.

Well, you all complained. You all ridiculed them about “Jobs And Growth”, so it’s your fault that the last quarter didn’t have any growth. It ran away because it didn’t like have to appear after “jobs” all the time. It couldn’t put up with the humiliation any more.

After all, it can’t be Scott Morrison’s fault that we don’t have “jobs and growth”. Couldn’t be. Ok, ok, maybe it’s not totally your fault. Actually when I think about it, like everything else, it’s Labor’s fault for blocking those company tax cuts. Now, I know Tony said that they were going to be a “no excuses” government, but this isn’t an excuse, it’s a reason. Besides, Tony’s not the Prime Minister any more…

Well, not at the time of writing, anyway, but if that changes before I hit publish then the rumours about him not launching a challenge until Malcolm’s approval rating goes so low that installing Ivan Milat as leader would give the Liberals a boost were wrong.

So, after giving the matter consideration, I think that we can safely say that the lack of growth can be put down to Labor’s decision to block the company tax cuts because reducing the government revenue from profitable companies would encourage all those unprofitable companies who pay little or no tax and the economy would get a boost somehow. I mean, remember the boost cutting the mining tax gave to the miners! Look at how cutting the carbon tax has the economy growing in a way not seen since the GFC!

And speaking of the carbon tax, thank goodness the Minister for Saving And Wrecking The Environment, Mr Frydenberg was able to clear up the confusion about an emissions scheme. Apparently when he said:”We know that there’s been a large number of bodies that have recommended an emissions intensity scheme, which is effectively a baseline and credit scheme, we’ll look at that,” he meant that they’ll view it, shake their heads, before announcing that they can’t consider it because not only is it the most cheap and effective way of reducing emissions but they can’t consider it because it was never on the table, unlike so many of the things that were on the table earlier in the year like the GST or the states having their own income tax. By “look at it”, many of those institutions peddling fake news like the ABC and Fairfax tried to imply that “look at” means the same thing as “consider”, in much the same way that they tried to imply that when Abbott said that he and Labor were identical on Gonski that it meant that they would both implement it, when Abbott merely meant that they had the same election policy. Really! Next they’ll be trying to ask us to believe that the jobs from the “jobs and gr…” slogan were meant to be jobs for people already living in Australia, which is the sort of xenophonic, racist nonsense that Labor and their union mates try to push…

Of course, if One Nation say exactly the same thing we should listen to them because they received nearly five percent of the vote in some states and you can’t ignore with people scoring that many votes in a democracy. In fact, you’re even allowed to disagree with them… but only after acknowledging that they have a point and maybe it is time that we replaced the High Court with the judges from “Masterchef”.

Anyway, it’s good to know that young Josh has come out and explained that on Monday he was misquoting himself when he talked about an energy intensity scheme and as our fearless leader, Malcolm Turnbull pointed out, there was nothing about an emissions intensity scheme in the review and that Josh Frydenberg was clearly being confused with someone who speaks on behalf of the Liberal Party when only Cory Bernardi is authorised to announce policy without checking with anybody on planet Earth.

Speaking Of History: Though I Disagree With What You Say, I Am Doomed To Repeat It!

Ok, let’s have a little think about Dutton last week, but before we do that, let me just state that I’m an angry white male just like that guy with the funny name that nobody can spell. You know, whatsisname… David… David… Leyonhjelm. That’s it. Honestly, I don’t think people with names that don’t follow good old normal Aussie spelling should be allowed to say anything controversial but I guess the politically correct brigade will be on me in a flash restricting my freedom of speech by telling me that they disagree with what I say. And that’s what makes me really, really cross. After all, I’m white and I’m male, so I should be allowed to say what I bloody well like in my own country without the likes of women and other minorities having the temerity to criticise and tell me that I’m wrong.

Now, Senator Leyonhjelm – or Grumpybum, as I’ll now refer to him because I can spell that without looking it up – has recently announced his intention to lodge a complaint against Mark Kenny with the Human Rights Commission for referring to him as having “angry-white-male certitude”. He intends using 18C which – as I’m sure you all know makes it an offence to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person because of their race or religion. Unfortunately, Senator Grumpybum assured us all that he wasn’t offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated so most thinking people would suspect that this puts a rather large hole in his argument. Sort of like when James Ashby was complaining about sexual harassment from Peter Slipper, but that’s a whole other story. The good senator tells us that he’s only bringing the complaint to highlight the absurdity of the whole 18C thing. In much the same way that if Scarlett Johansen were to speak to me and tell me that I looked pretty cute, I could attempt to bring a charge of sexual harassment against her, because even though I didn’t mind it at all, it shows how absurd it was anyone could object to being complimented on their figure.

So, I’m very, very angry that – like Senator Grumpybum – I can’t take advantage of all the privileges of 18C just because calling me a “fat white bastard” doesn’t upset me. Well, apart from the “fat” bit and I have to concede I could lose a few kilos without the adjective “gaunt” springing to mind. As for the “bastard”, well, my parents were married, but if one means it in the colloquial sense, I’d have to agree that I could hardly be upset by what is really a term of endearment.

And that’s why I was so angry when poor Peter Dutton had to defend himself when it was leaked that there were over 2000 cases of alleged abuse against asylum seekers on Nauru. The way people carried on, you’d think that we had an obligation to investigate complaints even if we don’t know if they’re true. I mean, don’t we need evidence before we start to look into whether or not something occurred?

Certainly that was the way newly elected One Nation senator, Malcolm Roberts, saw it on QandA last night. If he finds evidence that abuse is occurring, then he’ll support a Senate inquiry to look at the evidence, but until evidence has been found, then there’s no need to look at the evidence. Say what you like about the man, he was certainly consistent. When the subject later turned to climate change, he again demanded evidence. Not just that data that had been concocted by NASA and Bureau of Meteorology – an organisation, he reminded us, that Greg Hunt wouldn’t allow to be investigated, but “empirical evidence”. And until he was given such evidence, he found no need to look at anything that anyone was asking him to examine, because, well, if it wasn’t consistent with his position, then it was clearly “doctored” or “dodgy” or “silly” or “too full of facts and figures to be worth reading” or…

But back to Peter Dutton… As he pointed out, a lot of these things are exaggerated. You know the sort of thing, a guard gives a five year old a bit of a slap on the cheek and it’s reported as though it’s assault even though no bones were broken. And as for claims of sexual abuse, well, how often do people make up claims of sexual abuse?

All right, maybe not that often in the scheme of things. And before anyone starts bringing up how the Royal Commission is discovering all these cases of sexual abuse where the person wasn’t believed and the perpetrator was allowed to stay in their position, I’d like to remind people that these things happened a while ago. In some cases, it was last century; in others, it was as far back as 2012… Whatever, it was certainly, before these asylum seekers were sent to Nauru, so that’s a completely different thing.

I’ll happily concede that we should have believed the people who are testifying at the Royal Commission, because they were true blue Aussies, not foreigners. At least in most cases…

And when Dutton said that people were self-immolating in the hope of getting to a better place, clearly he meant heaven and not Australia.

So you can see why I’m angry. I live in a country where we now have to check the spelling of people’s names and I have to worry about people’s feelings and we can’t just be cruel to foreign people without someone complaining. God, this isn’t the Australia I grew up in.

I’d suggest that we should have a day to celebrate people like me and Grumpybum and Malcolm Roberts and Andrew Bolt, but I suspect you’d end up calling it “Sooking, Sad, Old White Man” Day!

On a Road to Nowhere?

As we all wake up today from our election hangovers, and stagger bleary eyed to work, many are considering the real implication of living in interesting times… and the real possibility that the Governor General may be forced to call a second election.  The double dissolution election brought on by #stabilityMal has surprised everyone, not least the Australian voter; who, after casting their #rageVote now wonders what they were drinking, and who it was they spent those huddled, sweaty moments with in that election booth. Therefore, in another empty attempt to make sense of it all, it’s time for more analysis and conjecture!

Battle of the Bastards
**updated 1800hrs 5 July** The current count on the AEC website has the ALP leading in 69 seats, and the LNP with 66. The ALP is trending in a further two seats, and the LNP in three, though all five are too close to call… which should probably be the subtitle for this election.  The AEC has five seats undetermined; four Liberal and one ALP, which according to the current tally are likely to remain with incumbents. If that is the case we are looking at a 72/73 split  between the ALP and LNP.

**updated 1800hrs 4 July** The ABC (i.e. Antony Green) has a slightly different tally, with ALP at 67, LNP at 68 **up from 64**. Out of the 10 ‘seats in doubt’ the LNP is ahead on slender margins in four seats, the ALP on a similar knife-edge in five, and Xenophon party fairly comfortable in one. Giving us a House looking like this:
TABLES-house2

One of the key factors in this election is that traditional conservative voters have felt betrayed by the Liberal and National parties.  Mining, CSG, the NBN, foreign ownership, constant cuts and privatisation have been a catalyst for conservative voters to look at what else is on offer. Some have realised that the ALP has policies they support; others have turned even further right. As a result, immigration is likely to be a continuing flashpoint, though this time around even Pauline Hanson supports socialised healthcare and the NBN.

Greens and Andrew Wilkie have a record of voting with the ALP, though Wilkie has stated he will not enter into any deals.  Cathy McGowan tends to vote with the Coalition. Previously Katter aligned with the LNP, though this time there’s no carbon tax on the table this time. Key issues for Katter are CSG, energy privatisation and land sales, all of which the ALP have made murmurs about, while the LNP are unwilling/unable to move on either. If that will shift the pragmatic Katter away from traditional alliances remains to be seen.  Xenophon has already said he will take the number of seats either party wins into account when negotiating agreements, so if that second seat in Grey comes to Team X then he will truly be the kingmaker.

Stiff Upper Lip
The new senate is going to be a mixed bag. Media and politicians alike may decry the election results as a circus as much as they like; but the people have spoken, just not coherently.

There are two truths in democracy: The voter is always right… and you get the government you deserve… and based on ABC.net.au and the AEC website, the senate is currently looking like this:

TABLES-senate

The trend for seats in doubt generally toward the right wing parties such as Katter, Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers, One Nation, and the various Christian groups.  As per predictions, the lions’ share will likely go to the major parties; though there is a chance that either Katter or One Nation will get across the line.

Given the wide range of voices represented in the senate, we need to ask the question: Where do the new senators stand on legislation?

The Sydney Morning Herald published this rough breakdown of each parties’ focus.  The Weasel takes a next step and looks at how the senators will likely vote on current key issues.

Positions garnered from official policy statements, news reports, and interest group websites.
Where there is no clear position, it can be assumed that senators will use the issue as a bargaining chip to further their own agenda.

Marriage Equality
Derryn Hinch:     Pro equality, parliamentary vote
Fred Nile:            Anti equality, pro plebiscite
Jacqui Lambie:   Anti equality, pro plebiscite, conscience vote for party.
Katter:                 Anti equality
Lib Democrats:   Pro equality, parliamentary vote
One Nation:        Anti equality, pro plebiscite
Xenophon:          Pro equality, parliamentary vote
see also Aus Marriage Equality site

Climate Change / Renewable Energy
Derryn Hinch:     No clear position
Fred Nile:            Sceptic, pro nuclear
Jacqui Lambie:   Supports action (in statements), pro nuclear, voting record unclear
Katter:                 Pro Action, stop CSG, extend emission target, boost ethanol production
Lib Democrats:   Sceptics, support mitigation, pro nuclear
One Nation:        Wants a Royal commission into climate science “corruption
Xenophon:          Pro Action, 50% reduction target by 2030

Recognition or Treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Derryn Hinch:     No clear position
Fred Nile:            Opposes Constitutional recognition, supports increased engagement
Jacqui Lambie:   Constitutional recognition, plus dedicated indigenous seats in parliament
Katter:                 Wants action, possibly prefers treaty
Lib Democrats:   Opposes Constitutional recognition
One Nation:        Opposes Constitutional recognition and treaty
Xenophon:          Supports Constitutional recognition

Education
Derryn Hinch:    No clear position
Fred Nile:           Improve education by adding bible study, and cutting Safe Schools
Jacqui Lambie:   Boost TAFE, introduce national-service style apprenticeship scheme
Katter:                 Pro funding boosts, also wants systematic education reform
Lib Democrats:  Stop Federal funding, pro deregulation, cut Austudy
One Nation:       Government subsidised apprenticeship scheme
Xenophon:         Pro Gonski, anti university deregulation

Royal Commission into Banking
Derryn Hinch:    No clear position, may support
Fred Nile:           No clear position
Jacqui Lambie:  Supports
Katter:                Supports
Lib Democrats:  No clear position, unlikely to support
One Nation:       No clear position, may support
Xenophon:         Supports

NBN
Derryn Hinch:    No clear position
Fred Nile:           No clear position, wants more infrastructure
Jacqui Lambie:  Supports FTTP
Katter:                Supports FTTP
Lib Democrats:  Prefers private competitive roll out instead of government
One Nation:       Wants high speed broadband, proposes wireless hubs for regions
Xenophon:         Supports FTTP

Federal ICAC
Derryn Hinch:    Probably Pro ICAC
Fred Nile:           No clear position
Jacqui Lambie:  Pro ICAC
Katter:                No clear position
Lib Democrats:  No clear position
One Nation:       Probably Pro ICAC
Xenophon:         Pro ICAC

Refugees
Derryn Hinch:     No clear position
Fred Nile:            Mandatory detention, prefers Christian refugees,
Jacqui Lambie:   Wants children out of detention, strict monitoring & quotas
Katter:                 Turnbacks, faster assessment, and supply work while on TPVs
Lib Democrats:   Mandatory detention, on/off shore processing, strict entry requirements
One Nation:        Turnbacks
Xenophon:          Dislikes offshore processing, increase intake, speed up processing

Healthcare
Derryn Hinch:     No clear position
Fred Nile:            Better spending, especially in aged care
Jacqui Lambie:   Supports socialised medicine, especially for combat veterans
Katter:                 Supports socialised medicine, wants more services for regions
Lib Democrats:   Abolish Medicare, privatise, The Market will provide… apparently
One Nation:        Supports socialised medicine
Xenophon:          Supports socialised medicine, focus on prevention

On the question of which senators get a six-year stint, and which three… well that is up to the senate.  There are two options:
1. Order-of-election; Out of the 12 state senators, whoever crossed the line first gets six years.
2. Recount; Votes are recounted treating the vote as a normal three-year cycle. Whoever would have been elected on that basis gets six years.
Which one the senate uses will likely depend on the three major parties, with Xenophon once again in position as king-maker. The inestimable Antony Green, of course, covers this question in more detail.

The anti-Islam voting block of Fred Nile, One Nation, and Lambie will bring up issues surrounding Muslim Australians and immigration generally; and likely to include senate inquiries into banning burkas or halal certification and labelling. The LNP could use this flashpoint as a major negotiating chip to pass other legislation; though that is unlikely to be the ABCC bill.

On practical and ideological matters of investing in education, healthcare, and infrastructure such as the NBN, the balance is definitely leaning toward the ALP.  Lambie, Katter and Xenophon have shifted to the centre on these issues, and the LNP can no longer rely on social policies to wedge support for their neo-liberal economic programme. Accepting a Federal ICAC may present the ALP with a ticket to govern, but marriage equality is unlikely to get anywhere unless the ALP can push an open vote. Action on climate will be problematic, expect another senate inquiry into nuclear power.

As predicted Derryn Hinch picked up the PUP and Ricky Muir vote, though really has very little to offer beyond his pet name-and-shame project, and animal justice.  Populist by nature, he could decide or shift his vote if a concerted push came from his electorate…

…and that is important to remember. You can write to your MP and your Senator to express your preference. This parliament is an opportunity for voters and community to have a real impact on the nature of the parliament, and what agenda the parliament pursues. Given that the independent parties may decide who gets to form government, the time to start writing is now.

Dystopian Reality – a Climate Change Future

A Climate Change Future

Predicting the future is a no-win scenario. There are so many variables that virtually anything is possible. Futurism inevitably becomes a matter of balancing likely outcomes from current trends, known factors and easily predictable future developments. Any attempt to predict the future will result in either one possible future or a range of possible futures. The one certain thing is that almost all the visions of the future must be wrong, because only one can be right.

This article offers one possible timeline for the next few decades, sketching environmental, socioeconomic, technological and military developments. This article considers the future between now and 2050 – well within the lifetimes of many reading this blog today. Consider it a thought experiment, designed to encourage consideration and discussion.

This timeline deliberately eschews disruptive events such as global pandemics, nuclear terrorism, asteroid impacts or the eruption of Yellowstone. These developments are possible, even (in the case of pandemic infections) likely, but placing them into a timeline would be entirely arbitrary, and the future may well unfold without them. Similarly, no deus ex machinae are included: there is no recourse to world-saving geoengineering or biotechnology developments. Altogether, what follows is a not unreasonable extrapolation of what the near future might hold for us, our children and our grandchildren.

These developments are all sourced in current literature and scientific research and linked directly to supporting evidence and analysis. These are processes that are happening now, and unless human civilisations immediately and radically change course, will continue to their inevitable end. An understanding of these likelihoods is necessary before we can honestly address the challenges of climate change, as the Paris agreements of 2015 recede into our past.

2016 – 2025

In the third world, civil unrest that arose in the early years of the 21st century continues unabated. Over the decades, the US and allies expend profligate effort to viciously subdue Islamic insurgencies in Syria and Iran, but new conflicts spring up more quickly than they can be put down. By 2025 the American people are thoroughly tired of continuing wars and American deaths and the US scales back its involvement, followed by its allies. The Middle East and large parts of the South-East Pacific dissolve into squabbles and conflict, swelling the ranks of refugees from tens of thousands into the low millions. The spark for all of these conflicts is increasing food scarcity and lack of drinkable water.

In Europe, the continued and growing influx of migrants contributes to the rise of right-wing political movements and a tightening of borders. In a desperate attempt to preserve the EU as member countries squabble over refugee policy and relative responsibilities, the Common European Asylum System border protection policy is progressively tightened and, slowly, refugee resettlement efforts give way to the establishment of giant refugee camps in barely habitable areas. The misery in these camps puts Australia’s Nauru to shame.

In Asia, China is pushing strongly for hegemony in the Pacific and the Arctic and Antarctic. Small chains of islands in the Pacific are claimed by China and forcibly pacified despite opposition. The territorial claims include oil fields and China doesn’t take long to start enforcing its ownership there. Other nations suffer as a result as they lose energy sources, but can’t challenge China. China is taken to international courts for a variety of cases, but while the legal proceedings drag on for years, China doesn’t hesitate to consolidate its hold, building artificial islands and industrial city-complexes as bases for its military forces. At the same time, enormous resources are poured into renewable energy generation. China begins to take a lead in solar and wind technology but does not share this technology easily. Large parts of China are becoming desertified at a rapid rate, with internal displacement of millions of Chinese into more fertile areas. Chinese cities, already congested, become ever more crowded and poor. China responds by commencing construction on new urban centres, completely powered by renewable energy, each built as industrial or research hubs.

Drilling for oil by US companies commences in the Arctic. However, China and Russia are also exploring here and not inclined to respect national borders and national territorial claims. This instability leads inevitably to clashes of forces, first between commercial enterprises (and, occasionally, environmental campaigners) and, later, military forces as all sides start patrolling the area with their own navies to protect the operations of their drillers. The distinction between US government and commercial entities begins to blur, to match the situation with both China and Russia. Meanwhile, the effects of climate change continue to accelerate. Tornadoes and freak storms batter coastal cities such as New Orleans, while unprecedented bushfires rage across large parts of the continental US and destroy many consecutive seasons of crops. Food prices, already increasing rapidly, escalate further.

In Australia, the narrow election victory of a Labor government in 2016 gives brief hope to many climate observers, but these hopes fade as it becomes clear that the new government, whilst not as outspokenly climate hostile as the Abbott/Turnbull regime it replaced, is still constrained by the narrative created by it and by the general attitudes of a climate-skeptical populace. Policy adjustments to reduce reliance on coal and oil and to increase renewables are slow and tentative, and by 2025 Australia is still heavily coal dependent and still exporting large volumes of coal and LNG. However, as predicted in the early parts of the decade, the demand for coal has decreased markedly as target markets accelerate their move towards renewables as well as their own domestic sources. Accordingly, the export price of coal and gas has fallen significantly, putting increasing pressure on Australia’s economy.

The economic downturn causes problems for Labor. The 2024 election sees a return to power of conservatives, but after eight years in the wilderness this new breed of liberals are far truer to the description and bring a raft of climate policies to the table, painting Labor as being “the friend of Big Coal”. By 2025, deep government “transition” subsidies to existing fossil fuel companies are on offer, but this disrupts the burgeoning renewable energy market which has until now been dominated by new entrants and innovators. 2024 sees the start of a process where most renewable energy companies and entrepeneurs will be bought up by BP, Shell, Exxon and others. By 2024, the first generation of university leavers, beneficiaries of Labor’s education investments, are graduating and entering the workforce.

It is likely that the first off-Earth colony will be established on Mars. Manned exploration of near-earth asteroids is either planned or commenced.

2025 – 2050

Rising sea levels, declining rainfall and frequent heatwaves are combining to turn vast swathes of South Asia uninhabitable. Asian and African countries are slowly but surely depopulating, both through climate refugee immigration and through deaths to disease, dehydration and starvation. Climate refugees are now an unstoppable tide numbering in the millions, swamping Europe as they arrive daily by the thousands. The EU is attempting to enforce borders with paramilitary forces but the refugees are too desperate and borders too expansive to be successfully patrolled.

Europe is now populated by two subgroups: Citizens and non-Citizens. Two parallel economies now exist. The grey economy is populated by and largely serves illegal immigrants. Not being covered by social support or healthcare from European governments, immigrant populations look after their own needs as much as possible, but are treated as second-class citizens. Crime, while still low on a per-capita basis, has exploded and public areas are now constantly patrolled by heavily armed police forces.

Populations already strongly influenced by hard-right governing parties, the first pogroms of the 21st century commence in some European countries.

In Asia, territorial wars are breaking out. Some are short skirmishes but the whole region is a simmering pot of conflicts. North Korea annexes South; without the US being willing to come to the aid of the South, the North has military superiority. However, within a few years the unified Korea is on the verge of collapse as, rather than benefiting from the economy and technology of the South, the whole of Korea starts to devolve towards its conquerors. By 2050, Korea attempts military expansion elsewhere but fails in its attempt at imperialism, and Korea collapses into a failed state. Japan is now fully self-sufficient, imports no oil and is falling behind economically; however, powered almost entirely by nuclear, the populace is relatively content. Rising sea levels are a concern for Japanese policymakers and resources are poured into levies and protection efforts. China is aggressively advancing its space exploration program and has a permanent settlement on Mars (and one on the Moon). It is starting to mine asteroids for rare minerals and metals.

China’s investment is starting to pay off, with thousands of high-level scientists and engineers living in custom-built technology cities, many completely enclosed in atmospheric domes: technology developed for their Mars colonies is now adapted for use on Earth. Inland desertification is continuing and food production is the country’s biggest ongoing concern. Coal is completely phased out for energy generation. At the same time, laws are passed banning export of fossil fuels. China begins construction of enormous enclosed farms for fish and crops, and continues an aggressive program of purchasing arable land in Australia and other locations. These efforts are now meeting with resistance as other governments see the signs but global courts and national economic systems are slow to react.

The global oil crisis plunges America into a deep depression, as the price of oil extraction climbs to make fossil fuels uneconomic. Attempts are made to leverage renewable and distributed power generation, but the process has been too slow and costs are extreme: the transition was not accomplished while energy was cheap. The US reduces its military spending to focus on a new insular approach – gone is the “muscular diplomacy” doctrine, as the government simply can’t afford to continue it and still put the resources into decarbonising the economy. Strong legislation is drafted to recraft the economy, putting caps on corporate and individual profits and ensuring a greater proportion goes to government revenue. Rebates and exceptions are drafted if individuals put significant resources into approved renewable energy projects. Belatedly the US starts subsidising renewable energy generation programs, but the oil crisis puts a significant brake on these efforts. Exacerbating the concerns for America, many of its cities are slowly becoming too hot for habitation. Americans still live in New York and Washington, but the hotter climate is having a measurable impact on productivity.

By 2030, China has banned the use of coal for energy generation, closing one of Australia’s major export markets entirely. India is advanced in its push to renewable energy and domestic coal sources, and the majority of Australia’s export coal has no buyer. The price of coal-fired energy in Australia plummets, putting downwards pressure on renewable energy research and take-up; nonetheless, major coal miners go out of business. The Australian economy is in terminal decline with high levels of unemployment nationwide and continual government deficits. New political microparties are in the ascendancy as both Labor and the Liberals suffer from public dissatisfaction, but the microparties do not have the strength or discipline to govern for the country’s future; governance devolves into a multitude of partisan interests, populist policies and pork barrelling. Australia has a brief advantage from an influx of technology students, but with few high-tech companies to employ new graduates and a new conservative government reluctant to fund placements and subsidies, many are forced to seek work overseas.

Some parts of Australia are becoming difficult to live in: the vaunted “New North” program is stalling due to high levels of heat stress, regular flooding and low productivity due to high wet-bulb readings. Towards the end of this period, the collapse in farmland, the continued sale to China and others of food-producing territory, and lowering aquifers and water levels are major concerns. Food prices are increasing. Meat, in particular, is becoming too expensive to eat regularly, and most Australians’ diets now include less meat overall. The 2040s see the last of the baby boomers retiring. Government revenue is insufficient to pay for comfortable social security for many, and the ranks of the elderly poor are swelling. Healthcare is also overstretched and death rates among both the young and the elderly are rising.

Beyond 2050

The world after 2050 may appear, to our 2016 eyes, as a dystopia, but this is no fantasy. There are no happy endings in store. The seeds which are planted over the next thirty years – both good and bad – will direct the fate of humanity as the state of the planet Earth continues to deteriorate.

By the 2050s, the Amazon rainforest is in irreversible decline. Deforestation by humans, combined with wildfires exacerbated by climate change, have had an irreversible effect. The eventual death of the rainforest is now a certainty, and as the forest itself plays a major role in regulating the planet’s climate, its loss is one further accelerant to climate change.

The most immediate outcome is the emergence of major human diseases. As climate change pushes humans and remote insect and mammalian species into direct contact and conflict, new animal-to-human diseases emerge with alarming regularity. Fortunately, most of these diseases are suppressed before they become airborne and cut a swathe through remaining human populations, but each new disease emergency has the potential to kill millions.

International flight has been curtailed: a combination of oil shortage and punishing carbon restrictions means that jet fuel is too expensive. There’s nowhere to go, in any case: people now want to escape tropical locations with their daytime temperatures in the 40s, rather than travelling there for holidays. The Great Barrier Reef has been dead for decades, and the annual vacation overseas is now, except for the very wealthy, an indulgence of the past.

By the second half of the 21st century, death from starvation is one of the major killers of humans. Large swathes of Asia, Africa and central Europe are becoming quickly depopulated. Deserts are spreading across the United States midwest, and it is likely that at some point in the century, one or more States may secede from the union. By 2100, it seems likely that the United States will be united no longer.

Disunity in the former European Union is no less severe. Pressures over resources and land, particularly water, lead to armed conflicts. The European wars of this era are localised and in many cases informal, but they are wars nonetheless. Some smaller countries are either annexed by their neighbours, or left without sufficient water resources to feed their own peoples. Other European countries are dealing with their own civil wars or popular uprisings, ostensibly on grounds of race or nationality, but triggered by food and water shortages caused by climate change.

By the late 21st century, capitalism as we know it will have been largely replaced by a kind of socialism. The loss of the oil economy has the effect of making individual prosperity much more difficult, as a large proportion of energy generation comes from state-owned solar and wind farms that dwarf those run by private concerns. Continued and growing pressure from an ever-expanding base of unemployed citizens requires an ever-increasing investment into social security. Governmental caps and curbs on individual profit gradually metamorphise into a socialist structure, and the most prosperous in society receive an increasing proportion of their windfall gains in non-monetary forms.

By the time 2100 arrives, it is likely that our planet will be harsh and unforgiving, covered in billowing deserts and rising oceans. Sea levels will continue to rise, unstoppably, for the next three hundred years at least, and by the time this process is over they will be a minimum of six metres higher than now. This will entirely cover the vast majority of current human cities, but sheer physics constrain how quickly this can happen, and human civilisation will have either collapsed or entirely changed by then.

If humans survive in this new world, most likely they will exist in artificial environments. These self-contained cities will utilise much of the renewable energy they gather for cooling, for water purification, and for agriculture. We are building a future where we will need to be terraforming our own planet in order to continue to live there.

Near-term future

The 20th century saw immense changes in human technology, civilisation and society. The development of mankind is an accelerating trajectory, and the first decades of this century have showed that we’re not slowing down. However, the effects of climate change place severe constraints on the direction of our species for the immediate future.

The one thing that can surely be said of the next hundred years is that the world in 2100 will be mostly unrecognisable to what we know today. The predictions made in this article are strongly supported by current trends and analysis, but may easily prove to be conservative. What we do know is that we will see this future coming to pass.

Humans aren’t great at planning for the long term: anything outside of our own lifetime is so remote that we don’t generally bear it in mind when making decisions. However, we are capable of making long-term plans for our own future – we consider our retirement needs, the schooling of our children, our investments into property. So consider this: those taking out a new mortgage now will see this future shaping around them. People are buying houses now that will be underwater before the mortgage is fully paid. Or, to put it another way:

This future is nine elections away.

Day to Day Politics: A party full of liars.

Sunday 24 April 2016 – 71

1 On NEWS 24 on Saturday morning I listened intently to yet another interview with Greg Hunt. I have previously called him the Coalition’s second biggest liar after Tony Abbott. He was typically using his best flamboyant language to say that Australia is the envy of the rest of the world for its direct action on climate change. As usual he was lying by omission. When asked about a recent declaration by the independent Climate Change Authority that Australia would have to decrease its emissions by 40/60% if it was to achieve its future targets he simply ignored the question and continued on with the absurd suggestion that we were, more or less, the world’s best performers .

In spite of all the science that has placed the problem beyond any reasonable doubt people need to recognise that half of the Coalition still don’t accept the evidence of climate change. This week we had the Attorney General (the same Senator who cannot use a computer) saying that the science is still unsettled.

Most of us accept evidence based, peer tested, evidence. There are three cohorts of people who don’t. Luddites like Brandis, religious nutters, and capitalists who worship profit before people.

The vast majority – in excess of 97 per cent – of scientific papers on climate change agree its causes are primarily man-made.

CSIRO Chief Larry Marshall said:

“The question has been answered, and the new question is what do we do about it, and how can we find solutions for the climate we will be living with.”

Senator Nash, who happens to be responsible for regional development, told Sky News there were “varying views” on climate science and she was of the opinion it was still up for debate.

An observation.

Asked where the Paris deal left Australia’s climate change policy, the expert adviser to the former government Professor Ross Garnaut said: “Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement – up shit creek.”

So how does a leader with firm well known supportive views on the subject cope with so many deniers in his party? Well the answer is he doesn’t. He allows them to lead him.

2 And the leader himself lies about the affect Negative Gearing will have on the value of peoples homes. His deputy lies about Labor’s debt. The Treasurer and his assistant use goobly gook words to confuse people about the state of the economy,ignoring the fact that there was a Global Financial Crisis and that they have themselves increased our debt substantially.

3 Not to be outdone in the lying stakes Sophie Mirabella, the bride of bitchyness, in a debate with other candidates for the seat of Indi says that her party withdrew $10million dollars allocated to the local hospital because she didn’t win.

Of course logic tells you that had that money been available it would have been a policy in her campaign. Her contemptuously  outrageous statement will probably cost her any chance of winning the seat. What it has done however is to reinforce the perception that unless you live in a marginal seat then your vote doesn’t count for much.

I live in the seat of Gippsland. The city of Traralgon is currently experiencing rapid growth. It requires a new swimming complex and arts district. On many occasions I have said that until the seat becomes marginal that it’s wishful thinking. The current Member is Darren Chester who holds the seat by around 14 per cent. In the last reshuffle he was made Infrastructure Minister. Guess what?

4 On other matters Bill Shorten has said that Labor will accept the umpire’s decision on Penalty Rates which will be handed down at some point during the campaign. It will probably go against the grain and upset the Union Movement but as he says:

“I’ve said I’ll accept the independent tribunal,” “just like that”, it was ultimately up to the commission” he said.

“I’ve got my opinion. At the end of the day though, the way minimum wages get set in this country is through evidence, it’s through the submissions of workers, their representatives and employers.”

5 A small but important point from the last IPOS Poll suggests that Labor needs to do more to attract the young vote.

At 32 per cent, the Greens’ primary vote among 18 to 24-year-olds is seven points ahead of the Coalition and just one point behind Labor’s 33, highlighting the century-old social democratic party’s problem with losing voters from the left.

Labor’s vote is 20 points down from its peak of 53 per cent in mid-2015, the height of the Abbott government’s political woes.

It was only a very small sample but never the less is a concern. It does also of course reflect just how unpopular the Coalition is with the young.

6 This week’s final Crickey Bludger Tracker combined poll analysis has the Coalition on 50.1 and Labor 49.9

“It’s close but no cigar for Labor in the latest reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which projects the Turnbull government grimly hanging on to a parliamentary majority.’’

My thought for the day.

It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who dont’.

 

We have failed.

There is no need to spend more than a very few words on this post. For the first time in recorded history, probably the first time since our species’ primitive ancestors crawled out of the sea, we have reached the point of two degrees above normal. Two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Think about that for a moment. That’s the figure that the world’s scientists and politicians have agreed marks the advent of dangerous climate change. It’s the figure that has been the de-facto goal of global efforts to avoid, ever since the Kyoto agreement in 1997 and agreed and reinforced innumerable times since. Two degrees is the figure the world has come to view as the mark of success or failure of our efforts to halt climate change. It’s half a degree above the goal agreed at the recent Paris accords.

Two degrees is probably enough to trigger tipping points, starting a chain of unstoppable changes that will irrevocably, radically and rapidly change the planet we live on to something unrecognisable.

We have just reached two degrees of warming, and we show no signs of even making progress towards reversing the trend. The two degrees figure incorporates the effects of a powerful El Nino effect in record heat for February, the hottest month ever recorded. It is possible that heat readings for March may be less terrifyingly extreme than February. Perhaps we’re not yet permanently two degrees above normal. Regardless, the trend is undeniable.

Climate change continues. Climate change is accelerating. Mankind is making no real effort to stop it. We will not survive this. If this milestone does not spur governments to action, likely nothing ever will.

It doesn’t get any more stark than that. We have failed, we are failing, we will fail.

Day to Day Politics: No, I’m not rejoycing.

Friday 12 February 2016

1 The day has finally arrived. Barnaby Joyce has become Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. Now we have a Prime Minister who firmly believes in a Republic, equality in marriage and the science of Climate Change and a deputy who does not. The intellectual gap between them is of sagacious proportion.

It is said of Barnaby that he is the best retail salesman in Australia. I would suggest the public sees him as a person of mockery. It’s not so much his ocker image. After all, Hawke and Keating had colourful turns of phrase. It’s the depth of comprehension. The understanding of things beyond politics.

It seems incredible that a man who was one of the principle instigators in 2009 of the downfall of the then opposition leader can now be his deputy.

It also seems implausible that a Senator who has crossed the floor to vote against his party on 19 occasions can now lead it.

Remember what Joyce said about mining Antarctica in 2006. He went there for a month and came back spruiking the beauty of it:

The vastness of nature itself’. 

We staked a claim to a large part of it and signed an agreement not to mine it. Then he suggested on the ABC that we should:

‘We can really realise that [mining’s] the game … or we can stick our head in the snow’.

‘Do I turn my head and allow another country to exploit my resource … or do I position myself in such a way as I’m going to exploit it myself before they get there’ said Barnaby

In the same year Barnaby opposed the new wonder drug Gardasil for the treatment of cervical cancer. The drug is now common place and is administered to boys and girls in their first year of high school.

Barnaby opposed it because of:

‘The psychological implications or the social implications’.

‘There might be an overwhelming (public) backlash from people saying ‘don’t you dare put something out there that gives my 12-year-old daughter a license to be promiscuous’

It gets worse. On Climate Change, when he was a Senator he said, despite all the science, that he had:

‘Serious doubt about our ability to change the climate” and that “the climate change debate is an ongoing debate’.

In 2010 he said he didn’t believe that global warming is as bad as everyone says.

‘Why do I say that … not because I have the factual premise to debunk them on the science’ Barnaby explained.

Then he said that Climate Change was:

‘An indulgent and irrelevant debate because, even if climate changes turns out to exist one day, we will have absolutely no impact on it whatsoever’.

It doesn’t finish there. When he was asked about being identified as a climate denier he answered:

‘The whole terms repugnant. Climate change denier, like Holocaust denier … ’

On the subject of abortion he tends to lecture women. Whatever your view on the subject in Australia the topic is generally treated with caution by politicians.

In 2004 speaking to Mark Colvin he said. He’s:

‘Pro-life, unashamedly pro-life’ and that his ‘personal philosophy is anti-abortion’.

In 2005 he said that his greatest achievement would be to:

‘Stop abortion … The slavery debate of our time’ he was ‘philosophically opposed’ to Medicare paying for abortions.

He said that using the RU486 drug was like an act of murder:

‘So if I shoot a woman in the abdomen and do not kill her but kill the baby, I have not actually committed a crime’ Barnaby argued before the Community Affairs Legislation committee.

The absurdity of this statement was pointed out at the time by Women’s Electoral Lobby ACT convenor Rosyln Dundas who commented:

‘No, you actually have committed a crime by shooting a woman’.

He also gloated about being instrumental in the rolling of the then opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull.

bjt

Leadership demands more than just a ‘retail’ personality. It requires, in the sense of leading a country, a deep insightful world view. Anyone who has seen Joyce on a Q&A panel with guests who present an understanding of life in all its variances will acknowledge that he has not the capacity to appreciate life beyond politics. He is like Abbott, caught in a world that the rest of us have left far behind.

And so we have as Deputy PM the man who said a roast would cost $100 under Labor’s Carbon tax and who, when Finance Minister said Australia would default on its debt. The then Reserve bank Governor at the time said he was unfit for the job.

We deserve better.

2 Continuing on from yesterday and I promise you this is true. Greg Hunt, the man some people refer to as the Environment Minister in Opposition advocated for the protection of the Tasmania Tiger, extinct since 1936.

In Government he turned his attention to the Antarctic Walrus – population: zero. Walruses live in the Northern Hemisphere.

Asked where the Paris deal left Australia’s climate change policy, the expert adviser to the former government Professor Ross Garnaut said:

Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement up shit creek.

3 Regardless of whether Stuart Robert resigns, or is forced to won’t make any difference to the dodgy way in which political parties elicit donations and influence law making and policy.

4 The Guardian is reporting that the Catholic Church is telling newly appointed bishops that it is ‘not necessarily’ their duty to report accusations of clerical child abuse and that only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police.

What a morally bankrupt institution is the Catholic Church. After many years of constant disclosure of worldwide systemic abuse of children, we now find that they are no further advanced in protecting children. No wonder they are losing parishioners in the tens of thousands worldwide.

5 That’s enough for today. I have to go shopping. I promised my wife a gold Rolex for her birthday. I’m not faking either.

My thought for the day.

‘Love is when there is an irresistible urge for the need of the affection of another and the irresistibility is of its nature mutual. It has no gender‘.

 

Day to Day Politics: Hunting with hypocrisy.

Thursday 11 February 2016

1 The news that Greg Hunt has received an award as ‘Best Minister in the World’ will be received with much scepticism by many Australians. Even hilarity.

Mr Hunt told Fairfax Media he was “genuinely humbled” by the prize, but noted “this is really an award for Australia”.

The criteria for winning the award, according to the organisers, is that the minister should lead quality successful initiatives that serve the needs of citizens.

Any economist, environmentalist or climate scientist or journalist specialising in the subject would be aghast that a person who has done so much harm to environmental policy could be honoured with an award.

Politics in this country is rapidly turning to farce. First we make Philip Ruddock our Human Rights Envoy, and now this!

Internationally, in environmental gatherings Hunt is referred to as the man for all seasons. He has long been admired for his ability to put the case for Direct Action without ever explaining exactly how it might work. Or how it might be paid for.

He gained a masters with honours in 1990 with a brilliantly argued thesis for a carbon tax to reduce carbon emissions. Then he did an about turn when Abbott gained power supporting Direct Action. It was then that he lost all credibility and has been ridiculed ever since.

There is an award at every climate summit called ‘The Fossil of the Day’. The award is given by the international Climate Action Network to the country which has done the most to block progress at the climate change negotiations.

We are a regular recipient of this award.

2 The Polls are beginning to reveal the electorate’s disapproval of the government’s pathetic handling of the GST proposal and general Tax Reform.

It has become so silly that the State Ministers and Chief Ministers had to recently cancel a meeting on tax reform because they had no idea what on earth they should be talking about.

Essential this week has the Coalition 51/49 and Morgan 52.5/47.5.

“Morgan finds serious slippage in support for the Coalition for the first time since Malcolm Turnbull became leader, bringing it more closely into line with Essential Research, which continues to find the Coalition with a narrow lead. Morgan also finds serious slippage in support for the Coalition for the first time since Malcolm Turnbull became leader, bringing it more closely into line with Essential Research, which continues to find the Coalition with a narrow lead.’’

An observation:

Is it morally sustainable that in order to protect our borders that we should allow the indefinite incarceration of people? The sexual abuse of children. The rape of women and the murder of men. If it is so then by any fair judgement we must be a decadent society.

3 Health Minister Susan Ley said her department may outsource Government healthcare payments using innovative high-tech methods. I’m ok with that provided substantial safeguards are built-in and the work is conducted within Australia.

But the continuous floating of thought bubbles on top of an as yet unexplained narrative of why all these changes are warranted, is disconcerting.

4 The Stuart Robert scandal is taking a highly familiar road to nowhere. We have to wait on yet another report. The AFP are still to report on Mal Brough. We are still waiting on the report on parliamentary expenses and ICACs ruling on Arthur Sinodinos. Mounting a paper bill that might yet keep the paper mill in Morwell open. It is struggling because the government won’t buy its Reflex copy paper.

That aside, with the imminent retirement of Nationals leader Truss and Trade Minister Andrew Robb, Turnbull faces a nightmare of a cabinet reshuffle.

5 The ABC made a mistake in falsely reporting that a 5-year-old had been raped on Nauru. When it confirmed an error had been made it apologised. And correctly so.

I made the following remark on a Facebook debating site:

It’s a pity other news sources didn’t apologise when they make mistakes.

The following transpired:

Jack: Perhaps you could lead by example, John.

Me: Healthy thing to do, Jack.

Jack: You would be busy for quite some time bringing things up to date.

Me: How long do you think it would take Bolt, Jack?

Jack: I don’t believe Bolt lies – in fact the press would rip into him if he did. And that is irrelevant. We are talking about you.

Me: Two court cases and the Press Council think he does, Jack.

Me again: It would be a good idea if all media outlets corrected their errors.

Jack: Well that means nothing until proven guilty and I know you’re spreading lies and bullshit every time you post.

Jack again: We are talking about you, John Lord. Like all lefties you love to deflect and not take responsibility for your own actions.

Me: Two courts found him guilty of lying and the press council asked him to retract.

Jack: We are talking about you, John Lord. Like all lefties you love to deflect and not take responsibility for your actions.

Me: Jack, you are talking about me. I am not.

Jack: Like I said you deflect and won’t take responsibility for your actions.

Me: What am I deflecting from, Jack? All I suggested that it was a good idea for media outlets to own up when they make a mistake.

Geoff: Send them a terse letter, John. Let us know the response.

Jack: You are deflecting from my comment you should lead by example.

Rohan: That’s the AIMN guy’s modus operandi. Call all the media liars and de-flectors, then double down on lying and deflecting. Shouldn’t be surprised, Jack. It’s the only way they can cobble together their contrarian views.

An observation:

Social media has opened the world to a new method of communication. Unfortunately it has also given a voice to the nutters.

I recalled some lines from an old West Indian folk song:

‘It was as clear as mud and it covered the ground. And the confusion made me brain go round.’

6 Former PM Tony Abbott has warned disenchanted voters may be tempted to “flirt” with extreme right-wing parties.

What was it he was leading?

7 Gillian Triggs is reported as saying that the PM reversed a decision to include her on the selection panel for the sex discrimination commissioner and was not consulted about Ruddock being appointed Human Rights envoy:

My Thought for the day:

Never be burdened by the negativity of others. Wear positively as if your life depended on it’.

 

Fighting climate change is critical to controlling the spread of the Zika virus

By Dr Anthony Horton

News of the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil has prompted me to consider two environmental aspects affecting the control of infectious disease. Firstly, how changes in climate are influencing the abundance and seasonality of disease vectors which place humans at greater risk of infection. Vectors are animals such as mosquitoes that transmit viruses to humans or other animals they come into contact with. Secondly, how much we have learnt from recent history given that the link between vector-borne infection and climatic conditions has been studied for at least the last two decades (based on my review of the available scientific findings). My findings emphasise the importance of combating global climate change as a crucial factor in controlling the spread of the Zika virus and other vector-borne diseases in the future.

In 2000 the World Health Organisation (WHO) Bulletin published an article entitled ‘Climate change and vector-borne diseases: a regional analysis’ discussing the latest research at the time, looking at the role that rising temperatures play in increasing the transmission of vector-borne disease. This analysis focused on a number of regions around the world including Africa, South and North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Mosquito species are responsible for transmitting most vector-borne diseases

The WHO Bulletin noted that mosquito species are responsible for transmitting most vector-borne diseases reported to medical authorities – including the Zika virus, which is related to dengue fever, yellow fever and the West Nile virus. These species are very sensitive to temperature changes, both as larvae in aquatic environments and as adults. Higher water temperatures mean these larvae will mature quicker and produce more offspring. In warmer climates, female adult mosquitoes digest blood faster and feed more frequently, which means increased breeding rates and therefore higher mosquito populations. Higher breeding rates and larvae maturing faster means that there are more disease-carrying mosquitoes transmitting disease to both humans and animals that come into contact with humans.

Changing rainfall patterns have short and long-term effects on vector disease carrier’s habitats. Higher rainfall can increase the number and quality of breeding sites for mosquitoes, ticks and snails – all of which can transmit viruses to humans and other animals they come into contact with. Patterns of human settlement can also influence trends in disease transmission

Looking at this research, I was particularly interested in the WHO’s analysis of the influence of temperature ranges on growth and development stages of mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as the Zika virus. They noted that for many diseases, incubation in vectors is interrupted at 14-18°C as this temperature is too low to drive the required biological processes. As temperatures rise, malaria parasites and viruses complete their incubation period in female mosquitoes faster. At 35-40°C, disease transmission may decline due to higher vector death rates which reduce the number of breeding age mosquitoes.

The WHO report also pointed out that tropical temperate climates in Asia provide ideal climatic conditions for the spread of a number of diseases. These include malaria, dengue fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever and schistosomiasis. Research has shown that El Niño and other weather events may also play a significant part in making conditions more favourable to the establishment and maintenance of mosquito populations.

In additional research, September 2013 saw a team from the University of Arizona (UofA) School of Geography and Development investigate the abundance and seasonality of West Nile virus vectors in their article entitled ‘Regional and seasonal response of a West Nile virus vector to climate change’. Their article was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The UofA research team focused on the investigation of the vector Culex quinquefasciatus because it feeds on bird and human hosts, is found in urban environments, and is suspected to be the primary vector of the West Nile Virus in many southern US states. As changes in climate can differ between locations and over time, mosquito sensitivity to these changes is dependent on the seasonal timing and intensity of rainfall. Warmer temperatures can extend the period of time that mosquito populations are active. Therefore as virus incubation periods decrease, they can spread within the mosquito population faster, meaning that viruses can ultimately be transmitted faster.

Climate change will modify seasonal mosquito population levels

These researchers concluded that climate change will modify seasonal mosquito population levels across the US, and thus public health interventions must be robust enough to account for site-specific climate changes in order to implement the most effective strategies to control the transmission of the West Nile virus to humans. Further research is needed to better understand the response of birds carrying the West Nile virus to climate change. The implications of changes in land cover and land use also need to be investigated as these changes can influence how resistant the land is to drying – because if land is more resistant to drying, more water can collect, which can in turn facilitate the establishment of mosquito populations.

The Zika virus is clearly one that we need to pay close attention to from both human health and environmental perspectives

Based on what has been reported in the media to date, the Zika virus is clearly one that we need to pay close attention to from both human health and environmental perspectives. The health consequences are clearly horrendous and can’t be ignored. Based on the scientific literature, I would suggest that the evidence of a link between changes in climate and the spread of vector-borne diseases is also one that can’t be ignored.

As a scientist I would like to believe that the Zika virus outbreak could finally be the incident that awakens the world from inaction on climate change as we realise that it’s a vital component to the control of infectious disease. As a realist though, I fear that the next time a vector-borne disease outbreak occurs, we will give due attention to the symptoms but may not pay equal attention to fighting climate change which is critical to controlling the spread of the Zika virus and other similar infectious diseases.

rWdMeee6_peAbout the author: Anthony Horton holds a PhD in Environmental Science, a Bachelor of Environmental Science with Honours and a Diploma of Carbon Management. He has a track record of delivering customised solutions in Academia, Government, the Mining Industry and Consulting based on the latest wisdom and his scientific background and experience in Climate/Atmospheric Science and Air Quality. Anthony’s work has been published in internationally recognised scientific journals and presented at international and national conferences, and he is currently on the Editorial Board of the Journal Nature Environment and Pollution Technology. Anthony also blogs on his own site, The Climate Change Guy.

 

Malcolm Turnbull – Would You Buy A Used Government From This Man?

In the 1960 US presidential elections the Kennedy camp used a photo of Nixon with the caption, “Would YOU buy a used car from this man?” to great effect. It implied that he was sleazy and full of tricks, just like those dodgy used car salesmen.

Ok, ok, before I get all the used car salesmen commenting that they’re completely scrupulous and how dare I, etc, let me just say that I’m just reporting how a popular perception of the time was used to cast doubt on Nixon. And while it may seem like shameful, negative politics, Nixon’s role in Watergate suggests that they may have been onto something.

Anyway, I couldn’t help but think of Malcolm Turnbull and his corporate takeover of the Abbott government. (Yes, yes I know that some of you are going to say that it was already run by business, but corporate takeoever ARE companies taking over other companies.)  This is not a new government as the media are encouraging us to think of it – this is the rusted out engine of an old car, put in the body of something not showing the signs of wear and tear so much. “Come on, just look at the leather interior and the dash… No need to look at the engine! How could a car with this sort of shine on the duco be a lemon?”

I think that the line that he’s just Abbott in an imported suit has some resonance, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s going to be his lack of conviction that gets him. Or to put it another way, most people prefer a strong government to an indecisive one, even if they don’t like what it’s doing.

When Turnbull was first elected, I felt a little relieved. I didn’t actually think he’d change much, but I thought that at least he’d be pushing back against the barabarians. Yes, he’d had to keep his views on certain issues on the back-burner, but we knew that he had them, right? I mean, he’s a staunch republican, a supporter of same sex marriage and a believer in the need for strong action on climate change. Why, didn’t he consider joining the Labor Party at one stage?

Abbott, on the other hand, I always felt had a fervent desire to go further. It wasn’t just what he was saying and doing; I always worried that he was a man to whom compromise was just something you told people that you were doing when you’d lost. Abbott was a conviction politician with a dangerous agenda, but, Turnbull, well Malcolm was more like a leader. He’d draw a line in the sand, and we wouldn’t have the same level of absurdity. We wouldn’t have the Nationals invited to the party room meeting, or non-appointments made to positions just to eliminate potential opposition.

Lately, I’m remembering a relieving principal at a high school where I taught. As one of the union branch executive, I was at a meeting where we went through a list of grievances. He acknowledged the validity of our grievance in each case, before pointing out that he was only there till the end of term and it would be wrong to set up a potential conflict with our actual principal or to break precedents. (Although he had no trouble breaking a precendent with something later in the term, when he disagreed with it!) After we’d left one of the others commented on how reasonable he was. “But we haven’t changed anything,” I protested.

“Yes, but he was so much more agreeable than Boris#!”

Turnbull is starting to make me wonder if there isn’t an element of that in what he’s doing. We like to think that he really believes in climate change, but now he’s actually leader, then his only change is to stop attacking renewables with quite the same gusto.

On a side note, I know that there were plenty of memes juxtaposing open cut coal mines with wind farms after Joe and Tony’s complaint about how ugly wind turbines were, but I’d have really liked someone to ask either of them if they found electrical poles beautiful and, if not, why not we start putting them underground?

Anyway, back to Turnbull…

While some may think that he’ll ignore his Faustian pact with the Ridiculous Right in the Liberal Party once he’s legitimately elected, I very much doubt it. I suspect that he’ll still be too constipated with the fear that they could easily replace him with Tony Abbott. Forget the reality. Turnbull has hardly admitted that anything was a problem with the government except having the wrong leader.

We still have no replacement for Elizabeth Broderick as Sex Discrimination Commissioner – we’re told that it’ll happen soon, in spite of knowing about the position becoming vacant over a year ago. Nor do we have replacements for the members of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency whose terms expired, so it seems that it’s still his plan to abolish the agency.

And his statement in Parliament yesterday about needing off-shore processing so that we can allow persecuted minorities in from Syria suggests that, not only is it bad luck if you persecuted and part of a majority, but that the only asylum seekers likely to receive any benefit from the change of leader are those whose case is so compelling that it receives a public outcry.

So, while the current popular narrative is that Turnbull is a foregone conclusion for the next election, there are number of factors that make this something less than a certainty. As Yogi Berra said, “Making predictions is hard, especially about the future”.

  1. The GST is a potentially a great big tax on everything if it was applied to fresh food, education and health.  In reality, it is a great big tax on nearly everything. While there seems to be a collective amnesia about the fuss the Liberals made about the carbon tax, if they ever get to the point of spelling out the detail of a GST increase, I’d be prepared to make a guess that it won’t lead to a jump in support.
  2. If the priorities of the Abbott era were so unpopular, will the shine wear off Turnbull as  it becomes clearer that not much has changed and that rather than being a strong leader, Turnbull is more in fear of his back-bench than the Australian electorate.
  3. The media is making plenty over the approval ratings of the various leaders, and while it’s true that Toxic Tony was having a strong negative effect on voters, it’s worth remembering that he was elected with a poor personal approval rating. In fact, it’s rare that the Opposition leader ever leads the incumbent as prefered PM or Premier. The more significant figure is the two-party preferred, and while some have the Liberals leading by as much as ten points, others have it much closer, suggesting that the electorate is even more volatile than usual.
  4. Notswithstanding point 3, nobody is considering what might happen if Shorten was replaced. Kevin Rudd’s plan to ensure stability in the leadership by having a popular vote of the membership may be the reason that Shorten will be there at election time, but it’s also possible that nobody with an eye to being PM actually wants the job at the moment. Continued poor polling and the Labor Party may actually decide that they need another “save the furniture” moment. If that happens, they’d be foolish to go through the rigmarole of last time, I suspect there’d only be one candidate, elected unopposed. Until Turnbull’s ascension, it would have been impossible to replace Shorten without Abbott pointing out that Labor haven’t been able to stick to a leader for more than a couple of years while he’s been Liberal leader since 2009. Turnbull can’t make any claim to Labor’s leadership tensions, particularly if they had another “drover’s dog” moment, like the switch from Hayden to Hawke.
  5. There’s little doubt that the most recent good unemployment figures are the result of an anamoly in the way that the figures are being calculate. If this should correct itself in the coming months, we could have the appearance of a sudden spike in unemployment. Combined with the global economic turmoil and the massive increase in Australia’s current account deficit, the idea of the Liberals as good economic managers could take a bit of a beating. Granted a large part of this wouldn’t be their fault, but as Labor discovered during the GFC, the captain who gets the praise is the one who steered the ship on the flat waters, not the one who successfully guided it through the storm.

So, while we have Malcom “Shiny Shoes” Turnbull threatening a double dissolution over secret documents, most people suspect that he’ll wait till the second half of the year before going to the polls. That’s not only plenty of time for the public perception to change, that’s a whole Budget away. And even without any of the other possibilities, a Budget can do a lot to change public opinion.

Just ask Tony Abbott.

#Not his real name. Although when I think about it, he did have more than a passing resemblance to the actor Boris Karloff who played Frankenstein.

P.S. After writing this, I read about the CSIRO slashing about 300 jobs. I guess the Turnbull government wants to put the money into Innovation.

Malcolm Turnbull And The Ballad Of The Flat Earth Rapper

Ok, B.o.B makes a lot of sense. He’s the rapper insisting that the earth is flat. B.o.B, real name Bobby Ray Simmons, started Tweeting photos which show the horizon, and, he reasons, if the earth were really round like we’ve been told, then we wouldn’t be able to see objects so far into the horizon because the curvature of the earth would make them disappear.

And yesterday I read how a scientist was disputing his idea. Well, I don’t know what the scientist said, but it doesn’t matter. Just the fact that a scientist was disputing him is enough to make me think that his ideas were worth investigating. One should never trust a scientist, as the US Senate proved with their 50-49 vote telling us that climate change isn’t man-made. I mean, these ideas that climate change could be caused by carbon dioxide is ridiculous because carbon dioxide occurs naturally and nothing that occurs naturally could ever be harmful, right? You could never have too much water, right?

Anyway, I decided to do a little research and I discovered plenty of evidence. For a start the Bible talks about the “four corners of the earth” and the last time I checked spheres don’t have corners. Then when Colombus set out to prove that the world was round by circumnavigating it, he bumped into the Americas, which was the only thing that stopped him getting to the edge. And in past few years, Thomas Friedman released a book titled, “The Earth Is Flat”. And if all that isn’t evidence enough, let’s look at the most obvious thing of all:

If the world really was round and spinning, wouldn’t centrifugal force throw us all off?

Convinced, I immediately gathered all the evidence and rang a publisher suggesting that they give me a book deal, but like poor Ian Plimer who had trouble finding a publisher for his anti-global warming book, Heaven And Earth, I was confronted with a conspiracy from the publishers who wanted to know if I had any scientific – or indeed – any qualifications at all. When I suggested that was the trouble with the world, we give far too much weight to people just because they’ve studied the issue in some depth at formal institutions and far too little prominence to the opinions of those who’ve used the Internet to develop their ideas. Besides, I told them, I have a blog and a degree from a university which gives me one up on Andrew Bolt. At this point, they did ask what my degree was for and when I told them Creative Arts, they seemed rather less inclined to pursue the conversation.

A clearer example of pro-science bias would be harder to find. I mean, publishers are there to publish books and if they refuse to publish one it can only be because of some conspiracy – like the ones in our schools where students are told that it’s compulsory to be gay or how they’re expelled if they doubt global warming. (A friend of a friend knows somebody who was told about a child was given a detention because they tried to show their science teacher a graph showing that temperatures hadn’t risen at all, if you took out all the years with above average data. The school apparently argued it was because of the language the boy used when telling the teacher where to stick his climate change ideas, but we all know the real reason.)

Unable to get a publisher, I decided that the ABC was the next best option. Apparently their charter demands balance, so when somebody tells them something that’s true, they’ve obliged to also present the lies of the current Federal Government in the interest of showing all sides.

So I rang the ABC to try and get a spot to put this perfectedly credible theory to their audience, and talk about the conspiracy of book publishers who print far more copies of books suggesting a round earth than the alternative view. Talk about a lack of balance! Well, that’s exactly what they did when I suggested that I’d be taking this up with Malcolm Turnbull.  Unfortunately, it was me that they were talking about, suggesting that I was unbalanced just because I started yelling at them that they were all part of some plot started by Galileo to undermine the authority of the church.

Well, I rang Mr Turnbull, but, unfortunately, he couldn’t take my call as he was busy according to the person on the switchboard. Busy doing what? I asked. I mean, it’s not like he’s actually doing anything like pushing for a Republic, trying to fix the Budget emergency or implementing the Gonski reforms. And now that the US Senate has shown us that climate change isn’t man-made, he has no reason to be PM at all, unless he can find something new to do like push for the flat earth theory to be a part of the Australian curriculum.

The person on the switchboard suggested that I email him which I know is just so that they can store my metadata so I’m not going to fall for that one. No, I intend to write him a letter asking why the flat earth theory is being ignored and why members of his party are being censored because we know that surely there must be several who actually believe it and are just too intimidated to speak out.

And I’m going to send a copy to Tony Abbott. He may be able to use this get the leadership back if Malcolm wins the election for him.

Day to Day Politics. Extra. Breaking News. The world can breathe a little easier.

Sunday 13 December.

After twenty years of negotiations the countries of the world have finally reached an historic agreement on climate change.

200 countries have signed an agreement that will impose ambitious targets. Targets that will limit temperature rises and at the same time hold governments to account.

The deal known as the ‘Paris Outcome’ comes just six years after the collapse of the Copenhagen climate summit.

In essence the deal means that a consensus has been reached. That all countries have agreed to reduce emissions and at the same time rich nations have agreed to raise $100 billion dollars annually by 2020 to help poorer nations transform their economies.

The agreement whilst not legally binding it does send a strong signal that the days of dirty coal are numbered.

Quoting the Guardian:

“The International Investors Group on Climate Change, a network managing $13 trillion of assets, said the decision would help trigger a shift away from fossil fuels and encourage greater investment in renewable energy”.

“Although the target set at below 2% is aspirational the aim is to keep emissions at 1.5%”.

“We will be hearing a lot more about the agreement in the coming days and Australia’s commitment will be under the spotlight”.

“The government will now have to make it clear to the public just how it intends to really reduce our emissions and how it intends to pay for it”.

The time has now come for the end of the lying about direction action and for Hunt to get fair dinkum as we Australians are fond of saying.

If innovation is really in Turnbulls heart and jobs the catchcry then there is no better place to start than with the technologies of the future.

This agreement is not 100% ideal but it is one that the world can grasp without choking to death.

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