Saturday salon 21/3


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Hockey defamed?

Politicians rate poorly in public esteem, as in fact do journalists and the press. Do you have to have a reputation before you can be defamed? Is it possible to defame a politician? Does anyone place any reliance on what the press say anyway?

I suspect Hockey has done himself some damage by pursuing Fairfax for defamation. Most people don’t read Fairfax, but I’m sure now most people know that he’s been up to something that caused comment.

His lawyers think too that the process has harmed him. They are after maximum damages for what was published, plus extra for the way Fairfax conducted the case.

Essentially they are saying that Fairfax lawyers continued their “smear campaign” against Hockey in court. Fairfax lawyers say their cross-examination of Hockey was “properly conducted” and “robust” but did not “cross any boundaries”.

2. Palmer Coolum resort closes down

One thing is for sure, Palmer Coolum Resort has closed its gates. 40 staff have been sacked. But:

The golf experience will carry on. The Palmersaurus Dinosaur Park, Motorama auto museum and Palmer Grill restaurant will remain open during redevelopment.

A large proportion of the accommodation was time-share. Investors are out of luck, at least for the time being.

This ABC report was positive about refurbishment and new investment, but the TV news on Thursday was negative, suggesting it had plain gone bust.

I keep expecting the whole Palmer phenomenon to blow up in a puff of smoke.

3. Poll news

According to Roy Morgan, Mike Baird will win comfortably on 28 March, 55.5 to 44.5 for the ALP.

In Queensland, however, the ALP under Annastacia Palaszczuk would go down 49-51. However, Palaszczuk is the preferred premier, and for the first time more men (56%) prefer her. Overall she wins 61-39 over Lawrence Springborg.

In Victoria the ALP under Daniel Andrews is surging and would win 56-44 over the LNP.

4. Cooktown dodges a bullet

Cyclone Nathan slammed into the coast north of Cape Flattery, with winds at Cape Flattery in the Category 3 classification. Cape Flattery is well north of Cooktown. The indigenous community of Hopevale, 49 km northwest of Cooktown, was the nearest polulation centre and received no destructive winds. Even their banana farm, flattened by Cyclone Ita last year, escaped this time.

Cyclone Ita hit Cape Flattery as a Category 4 system and mauled Cooktown. This time they escaped.

Cyclone Pam, however, is regarded as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Vanuatu, and is up there as one of the strongest cyclone ever in the Southern Hemisphere.

Update: This post was originally published as Saturday salon 28/3 in error

4 thoughts on “Saturday salon 21/3”

  1. You might be interested in why swinging voters swung in the last Qld state election. Admittedly, the sample size was small but dislike of Newman got 21%, asset sales 13%, style of government 13%. With Newman gone one might expect that some swingers would be more happy with Springborg replacing Newman.
    At this point people are waiting to see before they decide about the ALP.

  2. John I reckon “wait & see” is very much the game.

    Our “accidental” premier seems to be going for a popular community style so far. Understandable since I don’t think she really expected the victory and needs some time to get herself in the right space.

    I was a bit disappointed when uranium mining was squished without a decent conversation. Like it or not, nuclear power may well be our means to power generation and the retirement of coal. For that reason alone it should be left on the table as a possible (albeit unlikely) option. That applies nationally.

    DecarboniseSA ( ) is a keen and seemingly well informed advocate for nuclear power and holds that technological advances will make nuclear safe and viable. They are also convinced that conventional renewables, for all their merits will be insufficient. If they are correct the Greens will have to overcome some deeply held resistance to nuclear. The irony of the Greens agreeing to adopt nuclear to keep the planet green sort of piques me. No disrespect John, just my twisted humour…

  3. GB: The last time I looked nuclear was going to cost more than renewables and came with a very very long term waste disposal problem as well as potential short term problems from bomb hits, plagues, waves etc.

    In addition, solar thermal with back-up molten salt heating can provide all the baseload (and peaking) power we will ever require in Australia. without waste and radiation risks.
    The nuclear tragics keep on talking about advanced technologies that may actually be a net user of nuclear waste and avoid some of the risks of current technology. These technologies may be successfully developed by the Chinese or Indians but this is not going to happen quickly and they may end up being thorium based (not uranium.)

    A key feature of all the advanced technologies that I have seen is that they will use much much less uranium than current technologies. Hardly a case for developing uranium mines in Qld.

    Politically, a key thing I have against nuclear is the way the skeptics keep raising nuclear as a way of attacking the Greens and suggesting we defer investment in renewables while the future of nuclear is determined.

    Politically,the ALP move was smart in the sense that it makes some Green concessions, helps differentiate the ALP from the LNP and does both these things without threatening jobs.

    FRom the point of view of Qld Labor.

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