Where is heaven?

When I was really young there were no Easter bunnies around our place. The idea was introduced by the teacher of the small Lutheran Day School at Downfall Creak, near Guluguba, north of Miles, west of Toowoomba, when I was about seven or eight. We did have hens eggs coloured with dye, but no chocolate at all, let alone as eggs.

However, that’s not what Easter is about. It’s about the risen Christ, right? He conquered death and rose to heaven in a cloud, to sit at the right hand of God the Almighty, with a promise to return some day. So I was interested in an article What and where is heaven? The answers are at the heart of the Easter story. Continue reading Where is heaven?

Election 2019: follies 1

The Grattan Institute found that providing tax cuts in the never-never while reducing government expenditure from 24.9% of GDP in 2018-19 to 23.6% during the next decade will necessitate cutting existing programs by more than A$40 billion a year in 2029-30. That should have been the story of the week, but somehow it wasn’t.

That’s Scott Morrison saying the claim is “absolute complete rubbish”. I’ll come back to that. Worse was to come. By the end of the week Bill Shorten was accusing the Liberal Party of running a “low-rent, American-style fake news” campaign on a “ridiculous death tax scare”. Continue reading Election 2019: follies 1

Weekly salon 14/4: election edition

1. Tax scare campaign

In its first major scare campaign of the 2019 election the Coalition is claiming that Labor will impose ‘$387 bn of new taxes on your income, your house, your savings’ over the next 10 years.

This is really quite simple. Continue reading Weekly salon 14/4: election edition

Final chapter on Adani?

Probably not. There is more than one issue to be finalised before Adani can press ‘go’, and all the time the social licence to mine coal is fading.

Adani’s Carmichael coal mine site in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin, pictured in December last year.

Just before the Federal election was called, on 8 April 2019, environment minister Melissa Price signed off on groundwater approvals under clear and public political pressure from her Queensland colleagues. But the report from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia gave the Adani plans anything but a clean sheet:

One election coming up

Laura Tingle virtually announced on the 7.30 Report that Scott Morrison would be heading to Yarralumla tomorrow to kick off the election campaign. All the signs around Parliament House were pointing in that direction.

It’s almost bound to be 18 May. In any case it will be called by the end of the coming weekend, so I thought I’d do a short post so that we can compare notes here. Continue reading One election coming up

Weekly salon 7/4

1. ‘Kill Bill’ is alive and well

    “Labor has become a party of lies, negativity and grievance. They have nothing to offer but a long, dreary whinge, interrupted by falsehoods”; and for good measure: “Bill Shorten is a liar. He cannot tell the truth. There is no point being mealy-mouthed about this. He is a liar*.”

That was actually Malcolm Turnbull last July, but if you Google you get similar stuff going back to at least 2012. The asterisk was to a note saying the Turnbull had joined with Mark Latham, who had once said: Continue reading Weekly salon 7/4

Labor’s climate action plan 2019 – a “dog’s breakfast?”

While Labor’s 2019 Climate Acton Plan has been completely rewritten compared to the plan they took to the 2016 election the target of 45% emissions reductions (from 2005) by 2030 remains the same. I can’t recall whether they espoused zero emissions by 2050, as they do now, I think it may have been 90%. Their overall strategy is, I think, based on six considerations.

Firstly, Labor acknowledges the cost of doing nothing:

    Failure to act on climate change will expose the Australian people and environment to devastating costs for our economy, society, security, health and environment. Experts at the ANU, University of Melbourne and CSIRO estimate failing to keep global warming to below two degrees will eventually cost the average Australian household $14,000 per year.

Secondly, they say:

    Labor accepts the science of climate change and endorses the Paris Agreement to keep global warming well below two degrees Celsius as well as a more qualified commitment around a 1.5 degree threshold.

Continue reading Labor’s climate action plan 2019 – a “dog’s breakfast?”

The original Brexit

The first Brexit happened a very long time ago. According to Richard Webb in Brexit, 10,000 BC: The untold story of how Britain first left Europe (New Scientist), the white cliffs of Dover did not exist 450,000 years ago, just rolling hills. However, as usual, there was an ice age, and a glacial lake was formed in what is now the North Sea:

Continue reading The original Brexit

Weekly salon 31/3

1. Christchurch changes the dynamics of the next Australian election irrevocably

That is the opinion of Peter Lewis, who conducts the Essential report poll. Two nights before the massacre of 50 worshippers in a Christchurch mosque, Lewis was with a focus group of swinging voters in suburban Brisbane, asking people to identify which politicians were responsible for a series of incendiary public comments around recently passed medical evacuation (medevac) laws:

    The propositions included the following: that the people “coming in” are paedophiles, they will clog up our hospital queues, they will end up in cultural bubbles, that western values are sacrosanct.

People thought it must be One Nation, for sure, but it wasn’t:

    there was genuine shock and some dismay when it was discovered the statements came not from the radical fringe, but from the mouths of the prime minister and his senior government ministers.

Continue reading Weekly salon 31/3

Brexit crunch coming

Everyone knows that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be a very bad idea, except a cabal of very determined MPs. I’ll come back to that.

Everyone also agrees that Theresa May has done a staggeringly bad job at negotiating Brexit, but she’s still there. I’ll come back to that also.

Her latest speech telling the people that she’s on their side, but the other politicians are to blame has really upset everyone. Apparently the anger with politicians in Britain is real, and May has just made it worse.

Stephen Bush, political editor of the New Statesman, sends out a morning call. His last Friday effort is a good explainer. Continue reading Brexit crunch coming

Weekly salon 23/3

1. Jacinda Adern stars as PM

And just a top human being.

Jacinda Adern wears a headscarf in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks Photograph: Kirk Hargreaves/Christchurch City Council

Ambigulous drew our attention to the New York Times editorial America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern largely repeated in the NZ Herald. Continue reading Weekly salon 23/3

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff