Weekly salon 18/8

1. Fraser Anning pours fuel on the flames

And some would say, vomits on the body politic.

You would have to be living under a rock if you didn’t hear about Fraser Anning’s maiden parliamentary speech, wherein he called for a return the White Australia policy, excluding Muslims and returning to Europe as the main source. The holocaust was evoked by a call for a “final solution”, being a referendum on immigration policy. From his speech:

    We as a nation are entitled to insist that those who are allowed to come here predominantly reflect the historic European Christian composition of Australian society and embrace our language, culture and values as a people.

And:

    The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote. We don’t need a plebiscite to cut immigration numbers; we just need a government that is willing to institute a sustainable population policy, end Australian-job-stealing 457 visas and make student visas conditional on foreign students returning to the country they came from. What we do need a plebiscite for is to decide who comes here.

Continue reading Weekly salon 18/8

Monsanto pinged in Roundup cancer trial

    In the first of many pending lawsuits to go to trial, a jury in San Francisco concluded on Aug. 10 that the plaintiff had developed cancer from exposure to Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used herbicide, and ordered the company to pay US$289 million in damages.

    The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, had used Roundup in his job as groundskeeper in a California school district. He later developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages to cover pain, suffering and medical bills due to negligence by Monsanto, plus an additional $250 million in punitive damages.

Continue reading Monsanto pinged in Roundup cancer trial

‘Populate or perish’ still a strategic imperative

Last week we passed the 25 million population mark. (See the ABS media release and fact sheet.) Apparently early this century we were forecast to add an extra million every seven years. Now we are doing it every two and a half years. Earlier this century we were told we’d hit 25 million in 2051. We got there 33 years early, and are told we’ll be at 40 million by 2048.

Some people are uncomfortable with this, but defence specialist Andrew Carr says that few acts would do more to undermine our long-term national security than cutting the number of migrants we take in. ‘Populate or perish’, he says, is still a strategic imperative. Continue reading ‘Populate or perish’ still a strategic imperative

Weekly salon 11/8

1. Preschool funding cut by $500 million

About the same as is going to be spent to save the Great Barrier Reef. No-one noticed until someone from the Mitchell Institute (a think tank at Victoria University) happened to be leafing through the budget papers. The Quality Agreement program for early childhood begun in 2009 is to be wound down and conclude from 30 June 2020.

    Director of the Mitchell Institute, Megan O’Connell, said Australia was already lagging the rest of the world by offering only one year of preschool for most children when two years was regarded as the international standard.

Australia ranks 23rd in the OECD in early childhood education (ECE) spending. Here we are from the NSW study A review of the effects of early childhood education: Continue reading Weekly salon 11/8

26 per cent emissions target means no certainty

The Turnbull government has effectively vacated the field on climate change mitigation. Until it shows that it is serious on the matter, there can be no certainty, no end to the climate wars.

The Energy Security Board working for the Turnbull government has come up with a National Energy Guarantee which does no work on emissions reduction, because the target of 26% will be met almost as soon as the policy becomes operational. From the post NEG becomes a farce, this is what is forecast to happen:

Continue reading 26 per cent emissions target means no certainty

NEG becomes a farce

Malcolm Turnbull specialises in scapegoating and threatening, while Josh Frydenberg sits there looking vacant, as well he might, until it’s his turn.

Danny Price in an article well worth reading, says Politicians have destroyed the trust needed to make the NEG work.

Kane Thornton CEO of the Clean Energy Council says NEG car is worth buying, even if tyres need pumping up, the flat tyre to him being the 26% emissions reduction target, which will be met by work under way before the NEG starts. If you want to use that analogy, the NEG is like a car without an engine, because it does no work.

David Leitch has two compelling articles – Energy (In)security Board and its modelling spreadsheet and Know your NEM: The ESB is becoming a laughing stock. If, however, you want to read just one article, read Simon Holmes à Court’s NEG promises death of wind and solar, and even battery storage. Continue reading NEG becomes a farce

Weekly salon 5/8

1. Australia responsible for ‘preventable’ death of asylum seeker

Sadly, for me this was the story of the week:

    On 23 August, 2014, Kehazaei presented to the Manus Island medical clinic with flu-like symptoms and a small lesion on his leg. The clinic did not have the basic antibiotic to treat his common tropical infection, and, despite treatment, Kehazaei’s condition deteriorated rapidly.

    Doctors on the island urged his immediate transfer to Australia but this was first ignored – including by department of immigration bureaucrats who didn’t read their emails for up to 13 hours – and then rejected by the department. Continue reading Weekly salon 5/8

NEG policy disaster won’t fly

On the weekend Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg gently reminded the Coalsheviks in the LNP Coalition that they should not be flirting with the idea of coal-fired power, because

    we have to factor in a “carbon-constrained future”.

He warns that they may be investing in what will become ‘stranded assets’ before they wear out.

Why doesn’t he tell them like it really is? Tell them to look out the window.

The heatwave in Europe this year has been assessed as ‘five times’ more likely because of climate change. The northern summer’s heat is being recognised as the strongest climate signal yet. Wildfires have raced through neighborhoods in the western United States, Greece and as far north as the Arctic Circle. Drought is threatening food supplies: Continue reading NEG policy disaster won’t fly

Climate scientist with God on her side

Or it may be God with climate scientist on her side. Whichever, Katharine Hayhoe is one smart lady. A New Scientist interview (no doubt pay-walled) caught my interest.

There is a longer interview at Carbon Brief which rewards reading. She’s one of the most informed, balanced and insightful climate scientists I’ve come across. Continue reading Climate scientist with God on her side

Weekly salon 28/7

1. ‘African gangs’

Here’s what started the whole business according to Margaret Simons’ report Looking for trouble in May:

    Victoria Police executive director of media and corporate communications, Merita Tabain, wrote a confidential email to the editors of Melbourne’s main media outlets expressing concern that aggressive behaviour by journalists might “exacerbate the current tensions.” She used the incident at the Tarneit shopping centre as an example.

    The incident, she said, had been provoked by the photographer’s decision to “move in to take close-up photos of a group of African teenagers socialising.” The teenagers, she went on, “had been doing nothing of public interest prior to the photographer’s decision to move in and take the photos and [the group] reacted to the photographer and what he was doing. This led to police being called in and a scuffle ensued in which police were spat on and arrests were made.”

    The photographer had apologised for provoking the incident, Tabain reported, but the published article makes no reference to this.

Continue reading Weekly salon 28/7

Super-Saturday here at last

Looking forward to it being over.

I’m tired of hearing that voters are turned off by politics, that politicians don’t listen to them, that the big parties are both the same, promise everything, even the Loch Ness monster and deliver nothing.

Antony Green has the lowdown on each of the seats. Click on the icons and all is revealed. Continue reading Super-Saturday here at last

BlueScope signs up with 500,000-panel solar farm

In the largest solar power purchasing deal ever by an industrial energy user in Australia BlueScope Steel will take the bulk of the electricity from the 133MW (AC) Finley Solar Farm to be built 100km west of Albury.

There’s more at RenewEconomy: Continue reading BlueScope signs up with 500,000-panel solar farm

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff