Weekly salon 11/11

1. ScoMo’s magical bus tour to the deep north

PM Scott Morrison took a special bus tour up the Queensland Coast, except he flew in a plane because the bus was too slow, and the rest of the time he wanted to talk with Queenslanders, who weren’t to be found in the bus. Then he drank lots of XXXX beer and chomped on pies to show he’s a regular, fair dinkum guy bloke. Junkee has more, lots more:

I liked Mark David’s rendition:

ScoMo’s real problem is that there are 30 federal seats in Queensland, 21 held by the LNP, with 8 on margins of less than 5 per cent. So he needs to hang onto them all. He didn’t come to Brisbane that I noticed, which is a pity, because you can’t win Queensland by ignoring the capital.

2. ScoMo buys a truce with Katter

ScoMo splashed cash all the way up the coast, apart from Brisbane, because he wants people to love vote for him. However, the highlight was promising more than $200m to nail down Bob Katter’s support for his minority government. More accurately, he promised up to $180 million for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme on the Flinders River, Queensland’s longest which flows north to The Gulf, and a further $54 million to be spent on building Big Rocks Weir on the Burdekin River near Charters Towers in the first step of the massive Hells Gates Dam proposal.

This looks like a boondoggle that will have to be approved by the Queensland government, who strangely will want a feasibility study that shows up actual benefits. Still, ScoMo’s focus, if it goes at all past next week, is the near-term election.

It’s a big country up there. This is Katter’s Kennedy electorate:

Detailed map here. At 576,700 sq km Kennedy is more than twice as big as Victoria, which is 237,659 including water. Kennedy contains much of the Burdekin River Basin, which is 129,700 sq km, or 55% of Victoria:

Hells Gate Dam full on is a $5.35 billion project, which the Townsville Bulletin last month reported as at least 10 years away from construction.

Why? A recently completed feasibility study said the benefit-cost ratio of the project would be between $0.68 and $1.4 return on every dollar spent. As such, the project needs further work to de-risk it, do an environmental impact statement and a proper business case.

Currently the idea seems to be to grow sugar cane for ethanol on 49,000 hectares, and there is potential for electricity and pumped hydro. Hells Gate is 120 km northwest of Townsville, but is not seen as a water source for that thirsty city (population 173,800 with 8 per cent unemployment).

By annual volume of water I believe the Burdekin is the largest in Australia. However, it comes mostly via an average of zero the three floods per year between December and March. Big Rocks Weir is a subsidiary of Hells Gate, which is part of Katter’s dreaming of the Bradfield Scheme, but could provide water to thirsty Charters Towers, population 8,120.

There is plenty of electricity being planned and developed in NQ other than Hells Gate, and I’m not sure ethanol is what we need for future motoring.

The Hughenden Irrigation Scheme has also been the subject of dreaming, but again there is much local excitement but no business case and Qld minister Dr Anthony Lynham is currently outside the loop. There is something called the 15 Mile Project, a pilot project to grow 60 hectares of irrigated land for table grapes and 60 hectares of citrus crops.

3. Turnbull asks a question

Why me? The Party must be mad!

Phillip Coorey says, that’s easy:

    It was a combination of revenge for what he did to Abbott – and an ideological divide that has been growing since 2009 and is proving increasingly difficult to bridge.

That makes sense to me. It’s the difference between the ‘liberals’ and the ‘extreme conservatives’, somewhat similar to the Democrats and Republicans in the USA.

Remember this?

    “This is a fight for the heart and the soul of the Liberal party,” says one moderate MP. “These people surrounding Dutton – these people are not Liberals, they are not conservatives, they are fucking reactionaries, and I have nothing but contempt for them.”

However, it goes way past 2009, back to the 1980s when it was ‘wets and dries’.

Any way, in our house we thought Turnbull was a bit of a fizzer on Q&A, and was let off easy by the audience and Tony Jones. More about pride and platitudes, the usual blather about jobs and growth, polishing his legacy.

His legacy includes:

I can’t accept his blather about being ‘technology neutral’ when he thereby tried to accommodate the coal huggers who are determined to destroy the planet, whatever the cost. And three seconds in you could see that Snowy 2.0 was going to be held up for our admiration.

Turnbull said the ultra conservatives took the view “if you don’t give us what we want we’ll blow the government up”, he being the government in this case. I think he galvanized what he calls the “hard right” with the same sex referendum, but the crunch came with the NEG (National Energy Guarantee). Having had party room approval, Turnbull could have passed the legislation with Labor support, but couldn’t bear to do that with someone as evil as Bill Shorten, with Abbott and friends voting with Adam Bandt. There is a limit beyond which you can’t go, even to save the planet.

Turnbull’s worth will depreciate quickly over time. PJ Keating was onto him from the start:

    Mr Turnbull was a bit like a big red bunger on cracker night, Mr Keating said.

    “You light him up, there’s a bit of a fizz but then nothing, nothing.”

That was back in 2007, and much later inspired the Fizza poster campaign:

Now PJK says:

    Keating said Turnbull’s attacks on his predecessors “make you choke on your Weeties”.

    “He attacks Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott as ghosts, yet if you needed to know what Malcolm Turnbull truly believes in, what he would die in a ditch over, you would need a microscope to help you find it,” said Keating.

PJK never needed a bunch of staffers to write one-line zingers for him.

4. Political intrusions we did not need

I don’t have time to find all the links, but the NSW body politic is well rid of Luke Foley. When new opposition leader says “I believe Ashleigh” I think pretty much everyone does. Everyone, almost, also believes that David Elliott should not have used her story without her permission for political purposes.

Gladys Berejiklian should sack him to stop this cynical appropriation of other people’s misfortune, espousing a higher purpose while turning them into by-kill. Berejiklian said, no, that would make the whole thing political, showing how thick and/or twisted she really is.

And in Melbourne ScoMo was dog-whistling about the case of Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who is an Australian born in Somalia, who appears to have been deluded and paranoid, suffering from substance abuse and believing he was being chased by “unseen people with spears”.

50 thoughts on “Weekly salon 11/11”

  1. If “ the Shopping Trolley Man “ or anyone else present we’re carrying pepper spray the situation could have been neutralised.
    The Police apparently carry it but forgot to use it.

    We live in a strange situation where it’s mandatory to protect yourself in the unlikely event of accident on a pushbike but prohibited from protecting yourself in the unlikely event of a physical attack.
    You need an E class weapons license to own a vest ffs !

  2. Decisions should be rational, jumpy, after consideration of all factors. Not sure where that takes us.

    There were a few important stories I didn’t have time/space for, such as the White House using a doctored video to justify stripping CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials.

    Ends justifying any means available, again.

    Then there was the real story of what Malcolm T came up against when representing us (not the idiot PM guy) in Indonesia. See Indonesia FTA on ice amid Israeli embassy anger.

    ScoMo’s brain fart on moving the Israeli embassy played into Indonesian domestic politics in a way that is clearly not in our interests. Moreover, we will not get the trade deal signed until ScoMo takes the embassy move off the table.

    ScoMo went to Queensland to get outside the bubble. Unfortunately he carries the bubble around with him and never gets outside it.

  3. Acosta should have been stripped of his WH press pass just for his belligerence alone.
    It was a press conference not the Jim Acosta Show. One question and maybe a follow up, not a flat out debate.
    He clearly touched that girl.
    I’d have had the Secret Service throw him out there and then.

    As for our firearm regulations, they were not done rationally, but in emotional response.
    You need the same license to buy a paintball gun or air as you do a double barrel shotgun. An air pistol is harder still. What murders have occurred useing a paintball gun or air pistol?
    Bloody none.
    Perhaps someone being bludgeoned to death with a vest ?
    The whole thing needs a review and relaxing, rationally.

    Remember when all hell broke loose with screams of assault when Corey Lewandowski touched a girls elbow ?

  4. Thank you for the roundup of today’s RWNJ talking points. You provide a really valuable service. Much appreciated.

  5. Jumpy, it’s not “that girl”, it was a “young woman”.

    NYT says:

    There is no evidence the video has been faked. But the editing, including zooming in and repeating several frames, exaggerated the contact between Mr. Acosta and the intern. The low quality of the video, which briefly freezes either deliberately or because of a glitch, adds to the ambiguity, the analysis showed.

    See also The Washington Post.

    Frankly, I don’t see the video as altered as sufficient reason to disbar Acosta.

  6. As for our firearm regulations, they were not done rationally,
    wrote Jumpy.

    The word you were searching for is nationally.
    They were enacted nationally, which was the only practical way, since we haven’t any border controls between States.

    As I recall it, the regulations were changed after an horrific massacre of innocents in Tasmania. PM Howard took the running and prevailed.

    Has it occurred to you that would-be bank robbers occasionally use replica firearms, Mr J? I reckon the police forces and others in the crime-reduction area (and mass-shooting-prevention area) know a heap more about firearms than I do.

    Could it be, on the other hand, that you yourself have relevant expertise?

    **
    Oh yes, I’m one of those lily-livered citizens who prefers to outsource policing to policepersons, dentistry to dentists, engineering to engineers, and surgery to surgeons. All sorts of progress has been noticed since The Enlightenment.

    Every citizen is most welcome to join the Nanny modern, Western State at any time.

    Your taxes at work.

  7. Frankly, I don’t see the video as altered as sufficient reason to disbar Acosta.

    Me either, it was his behaviour prior to that was the cake, that was just childish obstinacy.
    Can’t help imagining if it was Tucker Carlson at an Obama pressor if the reaction would have been totally reversed by both sides of the MSM.

    With the girl/young women thing, at my age they’re the same thing, I don’t need to get semantic about it.

  8. Jumpy,

    you are correct to infer that there was an “emotional response” after the Tasmanian shootings. But instead of holding a few candlelit vigils so favoured now by Team Twitt, the governments undertook careful, considered steps to make mass shootings less likely. And the majority of the public agreed with those steps and endorsed them…

    and still endorse them, after decades of murderous events in many countries, including (but not limited to) the United States.

    It might be an idea to ask around, and see why that is.

    Democracy is an absolute b*st*rd sometimes, Jumpy!

  9. Mr A,
    No, I meant to say rationally in response to Brian introducing the word into the conversation.

    But now you introduce Nationally, there are overarching Federal laws but the State laws differ somewhat.
    After all, it’s just another area where the Fed has poked its nose into State responsibilities for votes just like health and education.

  10. Mr A

    the governments undertook careful, considered steps to make mass shootings less likely.

    And how many mass shootings occurred with paintball guns, air rifles and vests ?

    My opinion was that Howard was vote grabbing useing the emotion of a tragedy ( sound like something he did once or twice?? )

    Go and look at airgun regulations around the civilised World other than the US to see how far over the top he went. Check out the Scandinavian model, UK , NZ…….

  11. A knife is the most common murder weapon in Australia, what are we possibly going to do about that ?

    Ooh! I know! Please sir, pick me!
    Make sure those nutters who are murdering people with knives don’t get their hands on guns, particularly high powered automatic ones.

  12. zoot, if you’re going to inject yourself into a conversation please try to have a clue about the subject.
    Even in the US almost no-one can’t have an automatic weapon, high powered or otherwise.

    But since you’ve decided to dip your toe in, do you think that nutter would have chosen an air pistol, paintball gun or a vest rather than a knife ?

  13. zoot, if you’re going to inject yourself into a conversation please try to have a clue about the subject.

    Dreadfully sorry sir, and obviously I’ve made a huge faux pas; silly me thought your topic was gun control.
    Could you please save me from embarrassing myself in future by telling me the real subject of your conversation? Please?
    I always try to turn disasters like this into learning experiences.

  14. Go google the difference between automatic and semi automatic guns.

    ( nice passive aggressive to dude, it’s cute as and funny )

  15. So the subject was the difference between automatic and semi automatic guns? And this is the topic I should get a clue about?
    Thank you so much kind sir, I am forever in your debt.
    Funny, in the thread I can see I’m the first person to mention automatic weapons and for that I was berated for being off-topic.

    (BTW sarcasm isn’t passive aggression – ask your ESL teacher.)

  16. The subject was guns and legislation to do with guns.
    Of which you display almost zero knowledge.

    I didn’t know what an ESL teacher was, obviously you’ve have experience with incompetent ones.

    Anyway, I’ve toyed with you enough, I’m off.

  17. Growing sugar cane to make ethanol makes little sense, particularly if you have to build a big dam to supply the water. If you want to make a transportable fuel it makes more sense to use renewable electricity to make liquid ammonia. current thinking is that liquid ammonia would be used as a renewable fertilizer or converted back to hydrogen at the garage. (Hydrogen would be used to feed high efficiency transport fuel cells.)

  18. With the girl/young women thing, at my age they’re the same thing, I don’t need to get semantic about it.

    Perhaps in Mackay you are right, but in many places now you will find the women can call each other “girls” if the choose, but men can’t.

  19. A knife is the most common murder weapon in Australia, what are we possibly going to do about that ?

    As a matter of interest, I heard a bloke from the store security industry recently talking about shoplifting, which has reached plague proportions in SEQ. He said a favourite for younger people was knives, and it wasn’t for peeling oranges.

    Combined with substance abuse, we have a problem. Death by knifing is becoming distressingly common in the current news cycle.

    However, we would be in a lot more trouble if people had guns.

  20. Growing sugar cane to make ethanol makes little sense, particularly if you have to build a big dam to supply the water.

    John D, I think Katter’s dreaming comes from around about a decade ago or more, when they were talking about making ethanol from wheat.

    I think Katter will still be dreaming about it in his rocking chair, so I have to admit not spending much time on the feasibility report. With a bit of luck we’ll have adults occupying the treasury benches soon.

  21. Mr Howard was “vote buying” with tighter gun laws.

    Another way of describing exactly the same behavioyr is to say his Govt was responding to overwhelming public sentiment to try to reduce (not prevent) mass shootings. Democracy at work.

    It’s fine to be a lone voice crying out in the wilderness, Jumpy. Some of my best friends are iconoclasts. But you’ll need to bring arguments to the table, if you want to change public opinion on gun laws in Australia.

    One of the valuable aspects of a parliamentary democracy is that, eventually, candidates and Parties have to catch up with public opinion.

    ***
    zoot: over here in Victoria we call them ESL teachers. Perhaps in Qld they call them Secondary School Teachers? Adult Education Tutors? Pub Landlords? Taxi Drivers??

    ***
    John,

    Ammonia sounds good.
    Last time we drove past a Qld sugar refinery, there seemed to be plenty of emissions emerging from a medium height smokestack.
    But you would have a more accurate picture of their carbon budget.

  22. Ambi, up here we have English as a second language teachers (ESL), probably not enough of them, but I doubt Mr J had need for or indeed access to one. He would have encountered a high school English teacher, but was he paying attention?

  23. Ambi: My wife was an ESL teacher (English as a Second Language) who did her initial training in Vic. Surprised the term is used for something else by the peasants in Vic.
    ESL also stands for Electronic Sports League.

    ESL, formerly known as Electronic Sports League, is an eSports organizer and production company that produces video game competitions worldwide. … Based in Cologne, Germany, ESL has eleven offices and multiple international TV studios globally. ESL is the largest eSports company to broadcast on Twitch.tv.

    Learn something every day.
    Sugar refineries use bagasse as fuel. It is what is left over after sugar is extracted from the cane.

  24. John

    You can never predict what we peasants here in Victoria will do next. Why, only the other day I saw a bloke feeding his dray horse oats!!!

    We’ve been running low on tallow and quill feathers too. Shipment from Van Diemens Land due any day, they say.
    Glad me old grandpa wasn’t around to witness that dray horsefeed outrage.
    🙂

    We’ve heard of “bagasse”. Is that the same as what the Yankee Doodles call “a sack full of ass h*les”? Or am I getting me mules and asses muddled??

    Cheerio

    Running low on meat, need to go and check me wombat traps.

  25. Thanks Mr Jumpy.

    I hope Mackay residents are all drinking “sugary drinks” or fermented sugar, to help keep the mills going.

    ***
    On a different tack, what does the Fair Work Act have to say about a complainant (say, a Ms Guthrie) who has claimed to have been wrongfully dismissed (by a broadcaster, say) yet goes on national TV to discuss the relevant events?

    Just wondering….

  26. Brian

    He would have encountered a high school English teacher, but was he paying attention

    Well I admit that is a sorry tale to tell.
    After being top boy in English at primary school I ran smack bang into Mrs Pineapple for the last two miserable years of her career. Then Miss Blubber that spent most of her short teaching career crying. In 11 and 12 we had the option of not taking English and I didn’t.

    Anything to do with English I’ve done out of interest for a subject.
    I just received my latest book “ Wild Food Plants Australia “ by Tim Low. Damned easy to navigate and will get a good workout over the Xmas camping break.
    Weekends camps will have an extra dimension from now on.

  27. Jumpy, sorry on behalf of the Education Dept for whom I was probably working during your suffering.

    My daughter was very interested in writing poetry in primary school, but 4 English teachers inside 6 months on starting high school cured her of that.

    Teaching is not a highly sought after profession in Oz. Not wanting to dump on teachers, but I always reckoned that in most high schools the 10% smartest people in the school were kids.

  28. Just on knives, last night on the Gold Coast two men had an argument and one was knifed in the thigh. Last week I reckon there were 3 or 4 knifing incidents in Qld.

  29. It is an interesting thing Brian.
    Everyone has always had access to sharp knives.
    And drug use is nothing new.
    Knife crimes look seem to be on the rise and knife murders certainly are.
    I’m at a loss as to definite causal factors.
    I can surmise some but nothing concrete.

  30. A bloke who used to work for me was murdered by someone using a screwdriver. Wife knew 2 women who were murdered using an axe and pair of scissors respectively. There are frequent reports of people being killed by a punch and that is not the only way someone can be killed with bare hands. Can’t stop people killing each other.
    However, guns and particularly automatic guns give killers an advantage that makes it harder to escape/fight back and easier for a nutter to kill a lot of people. Good gun control is worth having. In the US the NRA and the politicians it bullies has alot of blood on its hands.

  31. Ambi: The John D mob spent a year in Melbourne between living the free and exciting life in serious, tropical outback NT and serious hot outback in WA. Interesting experience, although the kids were not impressed by the loss of freedom. (We wouldn’t let them go down to camp at the park overnight amongst other things. ) We also had problems with one of our sons who complained of being bored because the Vic education system was way behind the NT system for his age group.
    The adults were interested in some of the cultural peculiarities. For example, there were the squatters riding on their high drays and thinking themselves superior because they had ancestors who stole a lot of land.
    Then there was the strange habit of calling the boss “Mr…” (In the territory the boss is only called Mr when someone is taking the mickey.
    Then there was the habit of asking new acquaintances what school they went to so that you knew where they fitted in the pecking order. Wife found it interesting that Victorians were gob smacked to find that she studied French, Latin and German at a government country school.
    Me, I liked having the Yarra to canoe on and got used to the female staff calling me Mr….
    The mob were glad to get back to the real outback. They accepted the move to WA because they understood how bad some of the other alternatives.
    Anyway, must let you get back to looking after the horses.
    John D

  32. Jumpy said:

      Everyone has always had access to sharp knives.
      And drug use is nothing new.
      Knife crimes look seem to be on the rise and knife murders certainly are.
      I’m at a loss as to definite causal factors.
      I can surmise some but nothing concrete.

    Hassan Khalif Shire Ali told his family that he was being chased by people with spears.

    Scomo dismissed the mental health of the Bourke Street attacker as an “excuse” for his deadly actions, instead laying the blame at home-grown home-grown Islamic radicalisation.

    I’d suggest people listen to Professor Patrick McGorry, one of Australia’s leading mental health experts, who said the incident reinforced the need for mental health treatment.

      “We should definitely not see the potential influences of untreated severe mental illness as in any way an excuse for shocking crimes like this,” he said.

      “It could however, be the crucial pathway to preventing them in future.”

    Undiagnosed mental illness, is what McGorry said on TV tonight.

    He said much the same last year, when a bloke in a car ploughed into people on Bourke Street.

    He said people are falling through the cracks of a broken mental health system.

    Certainly none of these perpetrators are right in the head.

    The perpetrator of last year’s attack, James Gargasoulas, was asked today in court whether he knew he was going to kill people as he drove to Bourke Street:

      “In a sense, yes,” he responded.

      Mr Gargasoulas said he had previously had premonitions about ways to evade police.

      “On that day, I weighed up all my options because I knew that a comet related to judgement day was coming,” he said.

      “God’s royal laws of liberty have to be throughout the whole world in order to pass judgement day.”

    So was he radicalised by Christianity, and what should Christian leaders be saying?

  33. Brian

    So was he radicalised by Christianity, and what should Christian leaders be saying?

    I believe his first name is Dimitrious not James.
    Anyway, I think you may have jumped to the wrong conclusion. The ABC reported him as saying “ Did you know the Muslim faith is the correct faith according to the whole world? And I am not guilty” in court.

    ( please don’t think I’m defending Christianity in any way but he wasn’t one of their monkeys )

  34. I agree wholeheartedly that Professor McGorry knows his area thoroughly and that the nation could do better in assisting and treating mentally ill people.

    Mr Gargasoulas committed an horrific and deadly attack, as did the individual last Friday.

    With its (partially) pedestrian mall, Bourke Street is one of the busiest sections in Melbourne. Another is the corner of Flinders/Swanston Streets, where Mr Gargasoulas hurtled his car around for a few minutes.

    Victoria Police members show enormous restraint (hoping to avoid bystander injury) when faced with these attacks.

    We hope the days of “police shootings” in the 90s are well behind us. After that notorious period, some distressed Victorians seemed to try to provoke police (e.g. brandishing sword or machete or knife). One senior policeman told journalists the force was sick of providing “suicide-by-police-gunshot” to severely disturbed persons.

  35. Today I heard, and I think this is the point, that Mr Gargasoulas was undergoing and acid-induced psychotic episode.

    Apparently the law specifically rules this out as an excuse, or a reason to claim that he had no responsibility for his actions.

    There are no easy answers why young people turn to drugs, but that is the main issue here, I think, rather than any brand of religion.

    I’d expect the McGorry has a vision of mental health that goes far beyond the treatment of illness when it becomes symptomatic.

  36. Yes.
    But I didn’t insult any fellow commenters thus staying within the comment rule.

    It’s a good rule too.

  37. In the interest of accuracy, the rule is, “ Do not comment on other commenters with negative implications.”

  38. Exactly, fluffers perform an important function.
    They admit they don’t have what it takes to feature but are content to take a lesser role.
    Good on the fluffers !

  39. Bullshit.

    [It’s liberating that you’ve made it OK to call bullshit bullshit regardless of the comment rules. Or are we not in Jumpyworld anymore?]

  40. Jumpy, to go back to your original sarcasm, it doesn’t add to the discussion. Clearly those three were violent jihadists, which I don’t think was the case for the two Bourke Street attackers.

    There is a useful article at The Conversation by Clarke Jones of the ANU The link between terrorism and mental illness is complicated, and vilifying communities doesn’t help , which sorts the issue quite well.

    But to get back to your comment, yes, clearly it would be preferable if those three jihadists were mature, well-adjusted members of society.

  41. From Greg Barton in Morrison wants Muslim leaders to do more to prevent terrorism, but what more can they do? Lone actor attacks are notoriously hard to predict:

      One of the problems with suggesting that Muslim leaders need to “do more” is that it implies they have information they are not sharing, or that they’re failing to take action when they see a problem.

      The reality is that Islamic leaders generally have little to do with the troubled young people most likely to be involved in lone-actor attacks like the one in Melbourne. Muslim communities, like many others in multicultural Australia, face a challenge in closing the gap between young people and the older generation recognised as the community’s formal leaders or religious teachers. They live in two separate worlds.

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