1. The future of humanity
Set aside an hour to listen to the IQ Squared debate on “Humanity is designing its own demise”
Toby Walsh, Professor of Artificial Intelligence UNSW, Signe Dean, science and health journalist, Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics CSU, and Kristin Alford, Futurist go at it with zest, intelligence and learning.
Unbelievable progress has been made, especially in health and wealth. Among the things I learnt was that we don’t need to fear AI, just the people behind it, and that Elon Musk is actually mad, but will have a colony of 1,000 people on Mars by 2050.
That might be a good idea, because like the dinosaurs we are doing nothing about developing the capacity to divert the next big asteroid. It was also said that we should be thinking about what would happen if a supervolcano blew up, giving us a winter for 6-10 years.
The last one was Toba about 70,000 years ago, which is linked with the controversial human genetic bottleneck theory. Seems there was Toba, there was a bottleneck or bottlenecks, but not sure one caused the other.
Clive Hamilton said that 70 Nobel Laureate-winners nominated climate change as the biggest existential threat. 71 actually.
I tend to disagree. The worst would be a repeat of Carrington Event in 1859 which if it happened today would burn out every transformer on every electricity grid on the planet, ending civilisation as we know it, because they take about a year to rebuild, and guess what, you need electricity to do it.
2. One Nation rabble
As often, Brisbane Times has the best story about how One Nation and Fraser Anning parted company as soon as he hit the deck in Canberra.
Pauline Hansen wanted Anning to resign so that Malcolm Roberts could be reappointed.
She was also livid with Roberts’ staff, who she thinks were encouraging Anning to jump ship to join Bernadi’s Australian Conservatives.
Anning who had expressed disinterest in running in the Queensland state election at Hanson’s urging, saying he wanted to pursue business in the US, at first couldn’t be found by Hanson, then changed tack and decided he wanted the Canberra gig.
All this and his rapid demise made ON look like a rabble, not for the first time, but one that has voted with the LNP 85% of the time. Here’s Hanson in a party room meeting:
3. Queensland election: One Nation question dogs LNP in leaders’ debate
The Guardian has the story. Sky News ran a leaders debate at the Broncos League Club, with Steve Dickson, the ON former LNP minister included, but not the Katter Party, who have two members in the current parliament, nor the aspiring Greens.
Galaxy Research selected 100 ‘undecided’ voters. When Nicholls and Palaszczuk were asked whether they would do a deal with One Nation, Palaszczuk, said, “Ah,no” explaining that she would go into opposition rather than depend on ON for supply or confidence.
LNP leader Tim Nicholls has a complicated answer to this, which sounds evasive, but amounts to “Yes”.
During the meeting the audience and everyone started chanting “Yes, or no!”, to which Nicholls kept repeating his standard schtick.
As a result, 60% at the end of the ‘debate’ said they would vote for Labor, 12% for the LNP, 10% ON and 18% undecided.
Suddenly the election is looking winnable for Labor, after the Adani distraction.
Palaszczuk’s biggest message is, ‘If you vote Nicholls you’ll get One Nation and chaos.’ It’s not a scare campaign, just scary, and what most of the ‘experts’ are saying.
In breaking news:
- Labor is neck and neck with Scott Emerson in Maiwar. That was supposed to be LNP in a canter, or Greens as a remote possibility. ReachTEL has Labor 10 points ahead of the Greens, Essential sees them close to a dead heat. Ali King for Labor is running a very ‘green’ campaign.
- The latest Newspoll suggests Labor to win.
- In that item you’ll see that Nicholls is about to take the gloves off and attack Paluszczuk directly and personally. That doesn’t always work, as Anna Bligh found with Campbell Newman.
Nicholls has been smiling until his face hurts. I wonder whether he’ll keep doing it while attacking Palaszczuk. Here’s the Courier Mail trying to make him look good and her shifty:
By the way, Dickson says he was in the Newman cabinet meeting when Nicholls proposed sacking 14,000 public servants after Newman promising they had nothing to fear, and it was Nicholls who wanted to sell assets via 99-year leases and pretend it wasn’t privatisation.
And guess what, Steve Austin, my favourite ABC announcer (not!) interviewed one only of the 100 attending the debate, and that one was one of the twelve. She turned out to be rabidly hostile to unions and thought the state was going to the dogs under Labor. Then he issued an open invitation for anyone dissatisfied with politics and how the state was going to call up and have a whinge.
4. Turnbull has a win, kind of
Some are saying Turnbull had a win with a clear ‘yes’ vote in the same-sex marriage debate.
He and others might be a little surprised that Abbott is now taking all the credit.
It was Peter Dutton’s idea, you klutz, just go away!
On Mark’s Facebook a gay Chinese Australian familiar with Western Sydney (I think she lives there) said don’t blame migrants or multiculturalism. She said the ‘No’ campaign was out in force with nasty homophobic stuff, basically hate-speech lies. And it scared people. She said the “Yes” campaign concentrated on the eastern suburbs, but more particularly when it ventured west it was white and middle-class in its messaging. In Chinese “Love is love” is meaningless.
She said that when she explained the whole thing to people who had already voted ‘no” they expressed regret and felt they had been duped.
The Oz has an article “Diversity shouts no” with a map of Sydney showing a dozen electorates conjoined in red. The gay Chinese Australian woman shouts back that they’ve gotten it wrong.
Elsewhere, Carol Johnson says Turnbull’s problems are far from over. The idea was to wedge Labor, but the LNP has wedged itself.
We should all understand that about a third of the population really don’t want same-sex marriage, and many are not at all tolerant people. They are the kind of people who think they know how we should all live.
There was a segment on the ABC’s Religion and Ethics Report, Does the same-sex marriage debate end with Australia’s ‘YES’ vote?
In that segment we hear praise for James Paterson’s bill, now withdrawn, from Canada as representing the international norm. A famous case in Canada upheld the right of a printer not to do work for a gay couple. It’s like “We don’t serve your type in here”.
Then there was Scott Stevens and Waleed Aly in a torrent of words, a virtuoso performance of two of our public intellectuals in The Same-Sex Marriage Debate: Are We Better For It?.
Finally we have this, from the Nationals:
A push for a banking royal commission is set to come from within government ranks, reportedly in retaliation over the bill to legalise same-sex marriage.
I heard Matthias Cormann say they can legislate all they like, but the Government won’t fund a royal commission, so it won’t happen.
I’m coming to admire Cormann, he does the deals that need doing, keeps the show on the road. Doesn’t lose his cool like Turbull.
5. Turnbull’s new zen
No doubt Turnbull is in trouble. Newspoll earlier this week saw the Labor lead open up to 55-45 TPP. If that is not bad enough, when people were asked how well Turnbull is doing his job, he came out at a net -29, compared to Shorten’s -19. Small comfort that he barely leads Shorten in the best PM stakes, with a 36-34 lead and 30 per cent uncommitted.
The Oz’s main headline was “Turnbull’s Horror Poll Slump”. Dennis Shanahan wrote about a seminal change in ministerial attitudes as senior ministers lose faith in Turnbull’s judgement over the citizenship saga. Four Corners program Malcolm in a muddle told us that the conservatives now owned the Liberal Party in Victoria, and were on the move in NSW, with the so-called Warringah motion. Ostensibly it brings democracy to the party. In practice it brings conservative control via unlimited branch-stacking. They need a 60% vote to change the branch constitution. If they don’t get it, there will be a meeting in Sydney with Cory Bernadi the guest and it will not be business as usual.
After Turnbull’s ‘win’ (Abbott had declared that 40% ‘No’ would be a moral victory), Chris Kenny is writing in the OZ that Turnbull has undercut his greatest victory since seizing the prime ministership. The summary line of the article reads:
- The same-sex marriage win will be overtaken by the energy crisis and citizenship fiasco.
The editorial is telling Turnbull he must sharpen the divide so that the conservatives can distinguish him from Labor.
Janet Albrechtson tells us that the Liberals badly need a plan to restore credibility with the electorate. Did she write the editorial?
Other front page news is that Keneally has wiped out the Liberal lead. Yes John Alexander has dropped 10 points, and he is now level pegging with Kristina Keneally TPP.
Philip Coorey in the AFR was apparently on the Asian trip with Turnbull. He says Turnbull was like on happy pills. Even Canada messing up the big trade agreement he was going to bring back as a trophy didn’t faze him. Turnbull has found his zen by understanding you can only control the things you can control.
While Matthias Cormann and Peter Dutton on their morning walks are talking about how to run the show, he’ll be OK. If they start talking about who is next, he’ll be powerless to stop them.
5. Other stuff
There is lots of other stuff going on, but on Monday I have my daughter, her man, and my granddaughter landing here for two weeks. We have an election on and Mark is coming up to be in the mix. He’s actually still registered here, I mean our place, so will be voting. No doubt we’ll see him at least once.
So after this outsized effort posting may be sporadic at best over the next two weeks.