Saturday salon 30/12

1. Arsehat of the year

Crikey runs an Arsehat of the Year award. This year the nominees included:

    Barnarby Joyce, for humiliating the party he leads and hobbling his coalition partner with his shoddy paperwork, and then drearily whinging his way through the resultant byelection.

    David Leyonhjelm for welcoming Milo Yiannopoulos into Parliament House.

    Daniel Andrews for eroding civil liberties in Victoria.

2017 was a brilliant year for arsehattery. Worthy contenders who missed nomination included: Continue reading Saturday salon 30/12

Malcolm Turnbull has led us to a strange place

Last year around this time I did a post Will Turnbull be PM this time next year? Clearly he’s still here, but it seems a lot of people wish he wasn’t. Is he a dead man walking in politics?

The polls were diabolical back then – Turnbull had just chalked up his eighth losing Newspoll in a row. Now that has blown out to 25 and the situation has gotten worse. Back then the TPP vote was 52-48 in favour of Labor, now it is 54-46. Last year the Labor primary vote had nearly overtaken the Coalition, rising from an election deficit of 34.7-42.1 to 37-39. Now Labor leads 37-35.

Simon Benson writing in the Australian says Coalition close to a point of no return. In January 2001 John Howard was a dead man walking. Yet in November that year he won. Can Turnbull do the same? Continue reading Malcolm Turnbull has led us to a strange place

It’s all John Howard’s fault

When we think of worst prime ministers, the completely useless Bill (Sir William) McMahon comes to mind, followed by the negative, sloganeering bully Tony Abbott. However, if you are looking for a PM who did actual damage to the country’s economic and social fabric it’s hard to go past John Winston Howard.

Mike Seccombe has a brilliant article on the topic in the Saturday Paper, where you are allowed one article a month free, or can take out a sub for about $1.90 per week.

Continue reading It’s all John Howard’s fault

Seasons greetings 2017


Climate Plus wishes you a pleasant Christmas/New Year and health and happiness for 2018.

My friends from Erlangen are presently staying with their son and his family in Norway. They report that Norway is now a very secular country, where hardly anyone goes to church. In 150 Christmas cards there were dogs, cats and snow galore, four churches as part of village scenes, and precisely no nativity scenes. Continue reading Seasons greetings 2017

Not what we needed at Christmas

Here it is in pictures, a SUV ploughed into a crowded intersection in Melbourne’s Flinders Street, where people were simply crossing the road during peak hour.

19 people have been injured, four critically, with no deaths so far. Police say the act was intentional, but are not at this stage linking it to terrorism. The man at the wheel, a 32-year-old Australian of Afghan descent, has a mental illness and a history of ice addiction. Continue reading Not what we needed at Christmas

Paul Hawken’s Drawdown a ‘must read’

Much of the talk about climate action focusses on renewable energy and electric cars. The latest National Greenhouse inventory gives the following pie chart by sector:

Few have addressed the entire problem, not even the IPCC, until Paul Hawken, of Natural Capitalism fame, set to work.

Back in June John D sent me the link to the Vox article A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising with an exhortation Definitely a must read for anyone interested in doing something about climate change. Late, but here it is. Hawken says that if we carry on as we are in a realistically vigorous manner, we will fail. We can succeed, he says, if we adopt and optimise all the solutions available to us, with technology that already exists. Continue reading Paul Hawken’s Drawdown a ‘must read’

Corporate responsibility on climate change cuts in

BHP Billiton has thrown a significant spanner in the works of peak mining bodies lobbying on behalf of fossil fuels to the detriment of climate change. In the 26-page report BHP Industry Association Review downloadable here the company has made three decisions:

First, BHP has reached a preliminary decision to quit the World Coal Association “in light of the identified difference and the narrower activities of benefit to BHP from membership. BHP will invite responses from the WCA before making a final determination as to future membership by 31 March 2018.”

Second, similarly it will make a final determination on membership of the United States Chamber of Commerce on or before 31 March 2018, having identified material differences.

Third, BHP will remain a member of the Minerals Council of Australia, provided that it refrains from policy activity or advocacy that BHP disagrees with within 12 months. Continue reading Corporate responsibility on climate change cuts in

Queensland to set up it’s own NBN and become startup central

I wonder whether other states have a similar capacity, but it seems the electricity system in Queensland has a fibre optic network with plenty of spare capacity. They just strung it out on the poles, and presumably use it to run the electricity network.

During the recent election campaign I heard Steve Baxter, the Chief Entrepreneur, say that a decision had been made to open the fibre network to businesses in regional towns, which would give them internet speeds equivalent to those in Brisbane CBD. He rated it as the most important piece of state infrastructure since bitumen roads.

On the weekend there was an article in the Sunday Mail (probably pay-walled) which said the facility was already available to businesses on a commercial basis, and could provide an alternative for residents only reachable via satellite in some towns. Continue reading Queensland to set up it’s own NBN and become startup central

Saturday salon 16/12

1. Remembering

They say that if you remember the 1960s you weren’t really there. I remember quite a bit about the 1960s. Who could forget Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies, British secretary for war, John Profumo, and the Soviet attaché Yevgeny Ivanov in what was known as the Profumo affair. Christine Keeler died on 4 December 2017, a young 75.

She grew up for a time in a railway carriage, mixed with the rich and famous, and struggled thereafter, lacking the resilience of Mandy Rice-Davies. Here’s the iconic photo, from a life in pictures:

Continue reading Saturday salon 16/12