Weekly salon 20/10

I have to work today, helping my 89 year-old and his wife in the wilds of Upper Brookfield. We’ve had rain and you can see the grass grow.

Tonight my son Mark arrives from Sydney, and tomorrow I’m scheduled to do anther largish lawn because my ute is scheduled for repairs on Monday. So this is a quickie Salon ahead of the Wentworth by-election.

The experts say Sharma needs a primary vote of about 45% to be safe, and Karen Phelps could win from as low as 25%. Polling has them both in the mid 30s. However, in single seat polling it is difficult to get the samples right, so who knows?

What we do know is that the Liberals are desperate to the point where Scott Morrison will do anything to win the seat, except change his climate change policy, which some reckon is the most important issue this time around. And asylum seekers on Nauru, where the news just keeps getting more horrific.

What ScoMo has thus demonstrated is that he is not a serious politician in terms of running the country. Perhaps the worst stunt was to throw in the Israel embassy change (“just thinking about it”) which seems to have peed off just about everyone, including the 13% Jewish vote in the electorate. A Jewish woman from the area on the radio said all they want is peace, and changing embassies will just stir up more trouble.

Then the Nats poked up their heads, with Barnaby Joyce saying, I’m here if you want me. Apparently the Nats concern about leadership is real, but about a third of his colleagues do, a third definitely do not. The Libs are apoplectic about them airing this stuff three days out from Wentworth, to which the Nats’ reply was expletive-loaded.

Many of us just wanted to keep our heads under the blankets until this blew over, but the prospect is that after today, even if Sharma wins, the gloves will really be off.

78 thoughts on “Weekly salon 20/10”

  1. I don’t want to get over-excited down here in sleepy Victoria, but if the Govt were to lose this by-election, it may be seen later as being comparable to the earthquake that the Bass by-election was for the Labor Govt of Mr Whitlam, in 1975.


    Crown Prince: where is Mr Kashoggi, if you don’t mind my asking?

  2. Update: Saudi Arabia says Jamal Khashoggi is dead, but died “in a fight”.

    This is not finished.


    BTW, Brian.
    You were helping “your 89 year old”.
    Is he your brother?

  3. Ambi?? one soggy old guy against 15 bonesaw and scalpel wielding secret agents, that’s got to be a fair fight, not. This is the trouble with low emps (narcissists), they can’t see past their own ridiculous ideas.

  4. Look, I’m not sure if they’ve claimed it was a fair fight. Some folk say the story is “credible”.

    Meanwhile, Australians let us all rejoice: our gutsy little Government has announced it’s not sending officials or Ministers to the big Khashoggi Games Future Investment meeting in Riyadh next week.

    That’ll show the blighters!!

    PS: what does a Turkish Immigration officer ask an arriving traveller who turns up at the airport carrying a bone saw? Are the cutlets they serve in Turkish restaurants really that challenging??

  5. At 7.31 pm daylight saving time the projected 2PP at this stage of counting is 57/43 in favour of Phelps with a 24.6% swing against the libs.

  6. Quite a swing!!

    Guardian lists top five candidates shares of votes (%)

    Sharma 36.8
    Phelps 34.6
    Murray 10.9
    Kanak 9.6
    Heath 3.3

    Any comments, Mr Morrison?

  7. It’d be unfair if the biggest popular vote getter doesn’t win the seat, right ?
    At least that was the argument the other day as I recall.

  8. Tanya Plibersek is crowing

    “This is historic. This is mammoth and it shows that the values of Scott Morrison are not the values of Wentworth,” she said.

    With ALP on about 11% she should think Wentworth loves Bill Shortens values even less.

    I think Turnbulls approach to this campaign vindicates the Libs for ousting him. He was a LINO all along.

  9. It’d be unfair if the biggest popular vote getter doesn’t win the seat, right ?

    No – wrong!

    [And now Jumpy will probably claim I’m stalking him.]

  10. Even though the greens were well below the 10% they were expecting they should be pretty happy.
    Phelps will vote in lock step with them in Parliament just like Team Xenophon.

  11. Care to elaborate …

    If you insist. Your recollection of the argument, which you so cogently expressed as ” the biggest popular vote-getter wins the seat”, describes first past the post systems.
    Apart from you, no regular commenter here has ever advocated a first past the post system (to my recollection).

  12. Exactly BilB, please remind Zoot how John D was complaining just the other day that Clinton should have won based on popular vote.
    He may listen to you.

  13. Aw, c’mon Jumpy.
    I can understand your not enjoying watching ALP or Green spokespersons “crowing”, but even you could bring yourself to admit that 24% is a fair-sized kind of swing in the Aussie context?

    Forget Trump/Clinton and the Electoral College for a moment, and focus on the big Parliament in Canberra.

    24%, I’d hazard a guess, must be several standard deviations away from the mean swing in Aussie Federal by-elections.

    Bass-like in its horror for the Govt of the Day.
    And Bass didn’t plunge St Gough into minority government, at least not in the House of Reps, where his main focus was [watch out, Gough, called the pantomime audience].

    Old codgers like me have seen one or two big by-elections in our time, but perhaps you’re too young?

    And please stop demeaning good,old, decent linoleum by calling Mr Turnbull LINO!

    You’ve been picking up some very poor habits by hanging around with them Tea Party blokes and sheilas I reckon. They hate RINOs. Many of us revere lino. We hold it dear.

    By the way, about the pundits.
    At the start of this year they were mostly saying, “The Libs won’t be dumping Malcolm, because if they replaced him he would resign and force a by-election which the Party might lose; and having a one-seat majority, they wouldn’t risk that.”

    Then the pundits dropped that line. Honeymooning with Scott, were they? Fickle bunch.

  14. Jumpy: Clinton would be president if the whole of the USA had been treated as a single electorate like Wentworth. She wasn’t because the electoral college runs on winner takes all for each state no matter how big the win was.
    Not sure but suspect Clinton would have won the 2PP if they had our preference system.
    In Wentworth Labor ran dead because they thought that Phelps had a better chance of winning than they did as long as she came second. Not sure whether the Greens put a lot of effort in either.

  15. BTW, Brian.
    You were helping “your 89 year old”.
    Is he your brother?

    No, Ambi, my bro is nowhere near that old!

    I’m kinda proud, because my efforts have allowed the old guy and his wife to extend their stay on the property they enjoy by a decade or two.

  16. Exactly BilB, please remind Zoot how John D was complaining just the other day that Clinton should have won based on popular vote.

    Complaining was he?
    Your aggressive misreading of others comments does you no favours.

  17. Jumpy the US is one stage worse than your ideal. There, when the people, the handful who can afford to take a day off work and get out there, cast their choice, another bunch of people look at the result and say “is that what you want?” “Na, this is what we want, so that is what you’ll get”.

    Here your vot actually matters because you get to say “if I can’t have her then I’d prefer that one out of the rest”., and it is your choice, not some random other group.

  18. Good on you, Brian.
    Most of us become very attached to a particular place or home.

    * * * *

    Majorities are good to have.
    I understand that the reason it’s illegal here to advocate refusing to mark preferences on your ballot paper in a preferential vote, is that the AEC doesn’t want the elected candidate (with highest total after distribution of prefs) to be elected with less than 50% of the formal votes.

    Which could happen, if enough voters marked just a 1, or a 1 and 2, then lost the will to preference further.

    Of course, anyone is free to do that.
    It’s advocating doing it which is illegal (or was, see prosecution of Albert Langer, now going by non de plume “Arthur Dent”, in Victoria).

    If there’s a Presidency on offer, I rather like the “run off” system, where the top two candidates in a first-past-the-post contest, run a few weeks later to decide it. Gives everyone time to think further, including voters who had supported the third, fourth, fifth place getters, and unsuccessful Parties to encourage their adherents to vote for Y rather than X in the deciding bout.

    Guaranteed then, that in the second round the winner will have a majority of the votes cast, though some votes for her will be cast “with people holding their noses”.

    Don’t like giving preferences? Well, don’t vote in the second round.

  19. Katherine writes powerfully.

    I would like to amend her punctuation.

    “get stuffed, you absolute morons!”

    Same meaning, but insert inverted commas, an exclamation mark and a comma.

    Pedants Anon
    In correspondence with Volcanically Grumpy of Wentworth

  20. Looking forward to more Guardian opinions on Insiders today.
    They’ll be giddy with delight.

    I don’t expect to hear Phelps referred to as “ Mz Luxury Harbourside Condominium “, wealth is only shameful if a conservative has it.

  21. Mr J, it was Credlin who coined the Mr Harbourside moniker. Nowadays opposition and us lefties do not need to flog the LNP, they do it to themselves. But by all means keep on digging when in a hole.

    Well sourced commentators predicting Julie Bishop to challenge Morrison soonish with help from Murdoch. Sky has already turned on him

    With this result my confidence in Australian people has grown again and plans to migrate to NZ put on hold.

  22. If Ms Bishop were to challenge, we would see whether or not the Liberal Party really does “have a women problem”.

    (It has irritated me to hear on the ABC over and over again, “the Liberals’ woman problem”, as if it’s an established fact. It is an allegation. It is a widely held feeling amongst women Liberal MPs. It came to the fore with allegations of bullying – how’s the investigation coming along, Mr PM?)

    Meanwhile there’s apparently a hint that the MP for Disgruntlement, Julia Banks, may stand as an independent at the next election. Perhaps Katherine’s prediction of a new tide of independents will finally come true?

    Don’t nick off to NZ, Ootz.
    We need you here.
    Don’t you feel adopted by us yet?

    Happy roesti to all.

  23. Mr Jumpy

    Let them have their fun on “Insiders”.

    Any excitement will do: Kevin’s fall, Julia’s narrow squeak, Julia’s fall, Tony’s triumph, Malcolm’s soufflé-like re-rise, Barnaby’s fall, Malcolm ambushed, Scott ambushed,…. Donald’s grabbing, Donald’s triumph, Boris – anything from Boris, etc.etc.

  24. With the counting of the postal votes (read postal time capsules) it is plainly obvious that as the voting day grew closer, sentiments changed from a safe win to an embarrassing defeat. Every thing Scott Morrison did to support his candidate just made things worse, times ten.

    Scott Morrison lost the election for the LNP all on his own. Go Scotty.

  25. wealth is only shameful if a conservative has it.

    Yet earlier you seemed to be saying Turnbull wasn’t a conservative, merely a Liberal in Name Only.


  26. Yes zoot, it’s simple enough that a simpleton could see it. When Turnbull pretended to be a conservative, and half the Country believed him, he was lambasted about his wealth.
    His rolling of Abbott was poll/media driven and the wet sook faction of the Liberals played their stupid games.

    Look, I agree the Libs are mostly shit at the moment and don’t govern the way they say they believe they should
    Even though the economy and jobs are going better than under ALP, Shorten will be out next PM so be patient and use the time till then wisely by conjuring up excuses in advance.

  27. When Turnbull pretended to be a conservative, and half the Country believed him, he was lambasted about his wealth.

    By Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff (newly retired).

  28. By Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff (newly retired).

    Hmm, she was the only one you mention, no one else ?

    Anyway, just watched Insiders, I was right.
    Fran Kelly even broke into song about Wentworth!

  29. Hmm, she was the only one you mention, no one else ?

    She’s the author of the phrase and to the best of my knowledge she hasn’t defected to the rabble of the left.
    So combining your statements here, it appears that conservatives will call wealth shameful if people pretending to be conservative have it, but wealth is only shameful if a conservative has it.

    Or something.

  30. Not what I asked in the slightest and you know it.

    In any event, have you watched Fran Kelly’s song and what’d ya think of it ?

  31. Well,well, well, the AEC have found “ anomalies “ in the count.
    In Phelps favour after “ readjusting “.
    That was quick. Hope they don’t lose a box or two if the margin closes again.

  32. Are you seriously suggesting the Australian Electoral Commission is cooking the books in favour of an independent??

  33. No, are you some sort of conspiracy theorist!!

    It’s obviously a matter of a meticulous process and ever reliable professional expedient diligence.

    ( { sigh…} some people [ shakes head ])

  34. Mr J

    There are many ways to doube check and cross check vote counts. Errors have been corrected in previous elections. IIRC it happened in one electorate in 2016.

    Do you know any AEC staff? Ask them.

  35. One of the safeguards our system has, is the authorised attendance of Party scrutineers, who I’m told keep a very close eye on every single ballot paper.

    (As many of us have said, give me AEC pencils over hanging chads and computerised voting machines any bl**dy day!!)

  36. Mr A

    Do you know any AEC staff?

    Do you ?

    ( don’t know why that’s relevant, just playing along)

  37. I believe it may be.
    He will probably clarify.
    The claimed EROI diagnosis I’ll rely on GM to explain.

  38. Zoot: It is one of the technologies I talk about from time to time but keep in mind that producing fuel from atmospheric CO2 or sea water recycles CO2 by converting the CO2 to renewable fuels that then pump CO2 back into the air when they are used. Net reduction requires some of the CO2 from the air to be stored in some way.
    At the moment, I am more in favour of using renewable electricity, air and water to produce liquid ammonia. Big attraction is that the expensive extraction of CO2 from the air is not required. Other attraction is that ammonia can be used to create fuel cell fuel. (It can also be used in conventional car engines with minor engine modifications.)

  39. The question about your acquaintance with AEC staff, was intended along these lines, Mr J.

    In my experience it’s easier to cast doubts on the professionalism of a group of people if you have never met any such people.

    As it happens I know two who worked as casual AEC staff for an election, and another few who have been scrutineers, and three who stood for State seats. Two failed, one was elected.

    Never the slightest indication that the counting lacked rigour.

  40. Jumpy: I know someone who worked for our electoral commission during elections on numerous occasions as well as having run a polling booth in the US. Have also acted as a scrutineer. Confident that the checks in the Aus system work.

  41. Jumpy, “Even though the economy and jobs are going better than under ALP” ….that’s not even slightly true.

    NSW is zinging at the moment because the Berejiklian government has spent in an incredibly short period of time, $40,000,000,000 (yes, 40 billion dollars) as infra structure stimulus package, and has contracts out for another $40,000,000,000 for their next term. That is all money that has to be paid back,..and….that is just NSW. Don’t be foolish enough to say that it ain’t so,..I was in the room when Gladys was announcing this, …..and…talking up a further $225 billion (mixed public and private) to be invested into a new “technology city” in the Badgery’s Creek second airport

    Lets go back and have a look at all of the crap that you spread around over Rudd’s $42 billion stimulus package,….for all of Australia in the face of a global economic crisis, shall we????

    Just to put some reality on the table here is Australia’s GDP 2008 to 2018. here you will see that under Rudd and Gillard Australia’s GDP steadily rose until when the economically illiterate Abbott took power when the GDP took a nose dive until TurnBull, the guy the right wing crazies seized failure from the jaws of some success.


    Don’t you dare come around with that “the Libs are the economic managers” BS again. They are a total disaster, exactly as Trump is in the US.

    The only thing conservatives are good at,…is SAYING how good they are.

  42. Jumpy (Re: OCTOBER 21, 2018 AT 8:00 PM)

    Don’t know if this is too good to be true.
    Be good if it is.

    Indeed. Thanks for the link, Jumpy.

    From time interval 2:30, Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering says:

    Alternatively, why don’t we just change the fuel? The price to you at the pump will be the same.

    Big, bold claim – fabulous if it were true, but I’d like to see the numbers, before accepting this claim. And I’m sure ‘hard-nosed’ investors would be doing the same before sinking money into this tech.
    Energy in vs energy delivered. i.e EROI analysis.
    Input monetary costs vs expected revenue. i.e. Fiscal analysis.
    Scalability analysis would also be handy.

    From time interval 3:16, the question is asked:

    Why isn’t the world rushing to Squamish BC and saying: Can we please make a hundred thousands of these?

    Excellent question. The answer:

    We’ve really just got to proof of concept here, and it’s working. So, the next step for our business is to expand across the globe, build carbon-neutral fuel and when the scientists and the governments decide that they need to do negative emissions, the technology’s ready.

    I’m a bit more cautious than that- the tech is at “proof of concept” stage like the US Navy project that John D keeps promoting. The next step is “pilot plant” stage to demonstrate scalability and commercial viability. IMHO the tech is not ready yet to deploy, but it will be interesting to see how the claims hold up.

  43. BilB

    Don’t you dare come around with that “the Libs are the economic managers” BS again

    Oh I most certainly will dare.
    You seem pretty emotional, and I don’t care.

    I’ve explained why GDP calculation that contain government spending are misleading, I’m not going to do it again till you calm down.
    After that we can deal with GST calculated in US dollars and exchange rates.
    Perhaps touch on the differences between deficit spending and surplus spending and the longer term ramifications.
    If all that goes well we can chat about how the US have cut taxes and increased tax revenue at the same time ( good old Laffer effect )

    I’m not optimistic you can be mature, honest and arithmetically non selective enough but miracles do happen.

  44. And speaking of deficit spending how high has #45 ramped up the deficit with his tax cuts?
    But there’s nought to worry about because Mitch McConnell has announced it will be paid off by cutting Welfare and Education and all those other unnecessary fripperies which, let’s face it, are wasted on the poor. (No mention yet of how they’ll pay back the money they’ve borrowed from the Chinese and the Saudis)

    I’m so, so grateful that it’s not my circus, not my monkeys.

  45. GeofM, the fallacy in Jumpy’s GM link is in the notion of using renewable electricity to make fuel (good so far) to burn in internal combustion engines (loosing it as the standard ICE is 30% efficient on a good day),..the guy goe s on to say that this fuel is suitable for powering aircraft (good recovery as even the proposed electric aircraft all require liquid fuel just less a lot less of it)…then he continues with no one is making electric tractors (not exactly true but functionally true however E95 engines are in production which makes it a poor choice of target). The guy then moves into wrong direction overdrive in suggesting that cars should be powered by this path,…just remember 70% inefficient relative to taking the electricity and powering the cars directly. What he did not get to say was that the most efficient use of the captured CO2 is to fuel algal oil production as per NASA’s Omega programme as that is still renewable energy but from solar energy captured from the surface of the water, ie extending the renewable energy production platform far further. Certainly the GM fuel for aviation gets the big tick, though.

  46. Jumpy, where pray tell have you “explained” anything. Government spending…not a component of GDP? Really? Government spending is simply agency spending. The governement is an agent to the public and provides goods and services juat as does any other performer in the economy. The problem that conservatives such as yourself have with it is that they are generally very efficient at deliving those goods and services as they ar, at least under leftist governments, a non profit enterprise which makes the greedies livid their being excluded as they are. That is why when the rightists get a chance they just take that profit in the form of tax handouts (always mostly to them selves)

    I know it bites that the historical outcome clearly demonstrates that the LNP are disastrous economic managers. Truth hurts huh!, and that is why they routinely take the narcissistic deflection approach (what about you when you…what about him… scientists are all greedy criminals…etc) to avoid facing up to their failures and hide the facts from the public. That is the ral genius of Murdoch. He realised that the conservative secret could not be kept hidden for ever so he built the worlds greatest narcissistic denialist machine, even greater than Hitler’s, Fox News, to deflect attention away from the glaring level of fiscal and economic theft by conservatives in many countries. And for that effort he collects taxes in the form of corporate advertising fees.

  47. Bilb: You are right to point out that a battery powered EV converts generated electricity into transport energy much better than a system where renewable energy is converted into transportable fuels such as renewable ammonia or Jet A fuel. However, there are a number of caveats:
    1. The specific energy of batteries is much much lower than that of the transportable fuels. for example, Wikapedia dataconverts to 12.9 kWh/kg for petrol and 5.2 for liquid ammonia vs 0.1 to .24 for lithium ion batteries.
    2. Most people will want to charge their vehicle at night when almost all of the power will come from coal fired generation. A quick calculation that ignore grid and battery losses suggests that a standard Tesla 3 using coal fired power will be responsible for the the equivalent of the tailpipe emissions of a conventional car consuming 7 litres of petrol per 100km.
    3. Then there is charging time. Even with a high capacity DC charger a Tesla 3 will take about 15 mins to get enough charge to go 100 km.
    NOTE: Current thinking is that liquid ammonia will be used directly or indirectly to run fuel cells. This makes ammonia more attractive compared with petrol than the specific energies suggest.
    The Tesla 3 weighs 1.6 tonnes and consumes about 15 kWh per 100 km. Battery drives will be a lot more attractive for vehicles consuming less energy with much less range than the Tesla. (For example, the e-scooter that I use to connect with high frequency transport weighs 0.007 tonnes, consumes 0.05kWh/100km, has a role appropriate range of about 20km and be scooted manually if the battery goes flat.)

  48. Zoot

    And speaking of deficit spending how high has #45 ramped up the deficit with his tax cuts?

    No, the tax cuts saw increased revenue.
    Increased revenue doesn’t increase the deficit silly, increased spending does.
    If the spending remained constant the deficit would decline due to increased revenue.

    It’s pretty simple really.

  49. Increased revenue doesn’t increase the deficit silly, increased spending does.

    Umm, isn’t that deficit spending?

  50. zoot, m’boy: what louche company were you keeping, to know about that Larry??

    But his attitudes and behaviour sure do sound like the kind of guy who might brag in a bus to his newest buddy, how the ladies love being grabbed by their XXXXXXXXX by him because he’s a celebrity.

    Fauntleroy, please pass the sick bag.

  51. I sure hop you don’t pay for that “investment guru’s” advice Jumpy. The tax cuts, as I understand it, don’t affect the government’s fiscal position until the April tax assessment when of those millions of people hold out their hand for their tax refund check. Till then everyone is paying tax as usual and at the strengthening position based on the minimum wage increases implemented by Obama, and the good government of places like Seattle who increased their minimum wage to $15 per hour. The article I believe is technically incorrect.

  52. Zoot

    Umm, isn’t that deficit spending?

    Yes, quite obviously increasing spending more than increasing revenue is stupid in the long run.

    Note to Trump, STOP increasing spending !

    In Australia, constant increases in spending is bizarrely called a cut by the ALP and greens.
    The weak gutted Lib/Nats don’t even freeze spending.

  53. BilB

    I sure hop you don’t pay for that “investment guru’s” advice Jumpy

    Why, has he run a few companies into bankruptcy?
    If he has I won’t beleive whatever he says from now on.
    That a personal rule of mine.

  54. Note to Trump, STOP increasing spending !

    So you actually agree with my comment?
    As usual you cherry picked one phrase instead of engaging with the actual gist of the comment.
    Do you think McConnell is being responsible in signalling a cut to the health, education and welfare sectors to pay for Trump’s the Republican’s tax cuts for the 1%?

  55. “La La La. I’m not listening!! La La La.”


    On your question of ranking mass murderers, Jumpy, I’d prefer not to rank them. A tasteless exercise, best avoided.

    In no particular order then

    Pol Pot (ne Saloth Sar)
    Stalin (ne Djugashvili)
    Lenin (ne Ulyanov?)
    Sadam Hussein
    Ayatollah Khomeini
    Boer leaders of apartheid South Africa
    Robert Mugabe

    A. Hitler
    Harry Truman

    Genghis Khan
    Alexander of Macedonia
    Rulers of ancient Babylon, other empires of yore

    Spanish Flu

    Open sewers

    Have a nice day!

  56. Ambigulous @ 4:48 pm: It pains me to admit it, but those games were a reflection of own experiences 🙁

  57. Zoot

    As usual you cherry picked one phrase instead of engaging with the actual gist of the comment.

    As you just did then, and always do, but show brazen hypocrisy in pointing to it.
    I’m wondering if there’s a shred of self awareness in you.

    I answered the bit with a question mark.

    ( standing by for a hail of questions marks I can’t possibly get to in the time available [ usual tactic])

  58. zoot, please step out of the confessional immediately.

    Why wasn’t I told? Larry sounds like an amusing guy to listen to. We Puritans would never misbehave, but some of us can admit to being mighty curious.

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