Saturday salon 26/5

1. The sad case of Carolyn Flanagan

    Carolyn Flanagan was like any mum – all she wanted to do was to help her daughter with a loan to buy a business.

    “I’d have signed anything for her, love,” she told counsel assisting the banking royal commission, Michael Hodge, QC. “If you can’t help your children, who can you help?”

That wasn’t exactly what Michael Hodge QC wanted to hear from the elderly lady who went guarantor for $165,000 for her daughter in 2010 to invest in a business that went bust. Westpac demanded her Sydney house with vacant possession, so they could get their money back. That was in 2014. Continue reading Saturday salon 26/5

Will Labor’s budget dream team prevail?

Chris Bowen’s has a copy of Paul Keating’s After words in his office, signed by PJK with the words “I write with faith and hope in your public life.” That is not a trivial endorsement, according to Peter Hartcher in Bowen seizes the chance to make history.

Keating says Bowen is “first and foremost a rationalist. He is a rationalist more than he is an ideologue.” Continue reading Will Labor’s budget dream team prevail?

Bowen articulates Labor’s budget plans

In his Budget Reply Address to the National Press Club Peter Hartcher in a piece Bowen seizes chance to make history reckons Labor’s plans amount to a trifecta:

  • First, it has promised a tax cut almost twice as big as the government’s for lower and middle income earners, $928 a year against the government’s $530.
  • Second, Labor has promised to spend more on its “inclusive growth” agenda centred around education, skills training and health care.*
  • Third, it has promised to return the budget to a bigger surplus than the government’s planned $2.2 billion for 2019-20, and to press on to a surplus of at least one per cent of GDP.

Continue reading Bowen articulates Labor’s budget plans

Saturday salon 19/5

1. Glyphosate shown to disrupt microbiome ‘at safe levels’, study claims

I’ve been aware of this one for a while and would like to investigate it further. Some say it is bigger than asbestos by far, with glyphosatye found in beers imbibed at the Munich beer festival. Meanwhile a new study has found that glyphosate disrupts the biome at ‘safe’ levels of application.

The study found disrupting effects on sexual development, genes and beneficial gut bacteria in rats.

    “Disruption of the microbiome has been associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as obsesity, diabetes and immunological problems.”

Continue reading Saturday salon 19/5

Climate clippings 223

1. Climate as an existential threat

Last September I half-finished a post on this topic, with a paper by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop as the centre-piece. Their 28-page report on the state of climate science, action and politics entitled What lies beneath? The scientific understatement of climate risks is introduced as a post at Climate Code Red, but I suggest you go directly to the paper itself. Read any part of it, and I can promise you will be alarmed. Continue reading Climate clippings 223

Flannery rescues the planet

Tim Flannery says A decade ago climate experts were deeply worried. Now they are terrified.

We need to perform superbly in the next 10 years, he says, but the task is doable.

Robyn Williams talked to Tim Flannery at the Planet Talks, part of Womadelaide, in April 2018. There is a transcript available at the link above. Continue reading Flannery rescues the planet

Budget 2018 – a fair and decent society vs small government, ideology and sloganeering

The ABC election team on Budget night suggested that the purpose of the 2018 budget was to generate talking points that the government could use in the forthcoming election campaign. It has been going on for a while. Turnbull ScoMo and all reckon they offer “jobs and growth” whereas Shorten is going to hit you up for $200 billion extra in taxes, and simply can’t be trusted to run anything.

Shorten says Labor is going to “bring the fair go back into the heart of the nation.”

To me the nation is at a cross-roads. One way offers a small-government straight jacket with firmly embedded tax provisions that permanently reward success. The other seeks to provide the necessary infrastructure (human, services and physical) for everyone and the nation to become the best they can be, and to take care of those on the fringe. Continue reading Budget 2018 – a fair and decent society vs small government, ideology and sloganeering

AEMO’s fast track electricity plan

The headline in the SMH was

Australia’s energy operator proposes ‘fast change’ scenario to cut emissions by 52 per cent by 2030

followed by:

    Greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector would be reduced at twice the rate proposed by the Turnbull government under a radical new plan outlined by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

    The “fast change” model puts the public operator on a collision course with policymakers after AEMO outlined a potential cut of 52 per cent to all electricity emissions by 2030, double the rate required to meet our Paris climate change commitments.

The bit I’ve highlighted was wrong. AEMO charted a doable scenario double the rate specified by the Turnbull government, but it was derived from the ENA CSIRO Low Emissions Technology Roadmap, which looked at what would be required to meet the 2°C target under the Paris Agreement. Continue reading AEMO’s fast track electricity plan

Saturday salon 5/5

1. Macron – everyone’s friend

French President Emmanuel Macron came and went.

Andrew Tillett in the AFR reports that analysts do not think that Macron’s drive for an Australia-France-India “strategic axis” for the Indo-Pacific will amount to much in the long run. You can surge but it is harder to sustain. Realistically France is peripheral to what happens in the Pacific. Continue reading Saturday salon 5/5

Saving the Great Barrier Reef – seriously?

Back in February this year Malcolm Turnbull (acting for the Commonwealth Government, of course) stumped up $60 million to future proof the Reef. Now we have Great Barrier Reef gets funding boost as PM tells ‘doomsayers’ to be optimistic. Via the NY Times and Gizmodo There’s $500 million more now to save the Great Barrier Reef:

    including $200 million in funding to reduce agricultural pollution and $100 million for “reef restoration and adaptation,” which includes a project to grow stronger corals in laboratories. Other projects include killing off invasive species like the crown-of-thorns starfish and community engagement and enforcement

Everyone, except the ABC, is telling Turnbull, that’s fine and dandy, but won’t do much good unless we get serious about climate change. Continue reading Saving the Great Barrier Reef – seriously?

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff