Weekly salon 21/8

1. Adani’s problems mount

The IEEFA has issued a warning that Contracting with Adani Australia entails counterparty risks.

They say self funding is basically impossible, because Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) does not have the capacity to fund it. Adani Mining is already carrying $1.8 billion of debt in Australia. The project would require the coal market to stay robust for decades. Tim Buckley:

    “In IEEFA’s view, Adani’s Carmichael thermal coal proposal is unviable and unbankable on any normal commercial evaluation, absent massive government subsidy support in both India and Australia,” says Buckley.

    “Adani’s suggestion it will self-fund this proposal is a clear acknowledgement of this.”

Engineering firm AECOM was in a legal fight with Adani up until last month over millions of dollars of work it completed on the Carmichael rail years ago before the project was downsized again. However, Adani has told the ABC that the claim is now settled.

The ABC now understands that major rail company Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA) has declined to participate in the Carmichael coal project.

Aurizon has come under intense pressure from UniSuper, one of Aurizon’s top five shareholders, not to cut deals with it because of environmental concerns, and doubts from some key investors that the venture is “a viable commercial proposition”. However, Unisuper understands that Aurizon may have legal obligations because of its ‘monopoly’ status as a former government entity.

Then there is Pacific National.

Today we hear that engineering firm Aurecon, who did work on the port, won’t be doing further work for Adani. Protest groups are chalking it up as a win

2. ScoMo still preferred but the election glow has dimmed

Newspoll is carrying on undeterred from the dent in their reputation. The last TPP poll this week has the LNP in front 51-49 compared to 53-47 on July 25-28. My son Mark says they should forget about TPP and just give the first preference votes.

There we see the LNP on 42, Labor on 34, the Greens on 11, One Nation on 4, and Others on 9, which is roughly where things stood at election time.

I regard the Greens as part of the established parties, and I reckon that there is a solid vote for established parties of about 80 per cent. So I think the trope about the ‘drift away from the major parties’ is a bit overdone.

In leader’s performance, ScoMo has a positive vote at 48-42, as does Albanese at 41-34. The main difference is that 10% are doubtful about ScoMo, but that rises to 25% for Albo. It was only 10% for Shorten.

My theme at present is that the disinterested people in the middle have a large say in election outcomes.

I’m reading Niki Savva’s book Plots and Prayers at present. She said the Turnbull wanted to stay positive in campaigning, thinking he could convince the Australian people with his vision. LNP realists, Andrew Robb chief among them, impressed on him the need to go negative on Shorten and go hard on the devastating implications of a Labor victory. Turnbull wasn’t very good at that, couldn’t do it with conviction, which in one reason he’s not there any more, apart from Abbott’s revenge, the fact that some on his side couldn’t stand him, the ambition of Dutton and ScoMo, as well as the machinations of the ‘prayer group’ and the fact (to ScoMo) that God works miracles, but only for the Liberals. That last bit, we are assured, is literally true.

Ian McAuley has an interesting article, where he says the old two-party Westminster system based on class differences is dying. He graphs the election results over the last few decades:

It is essentially ridiculous and undemocratic that the government should be held hostage by a small rump of climate deniers.

He would also like to see reform of the parliamentary system so that the smaller parties are rewarded with a commensurate number of seats.

3. Climate the biggest election issue?

Phillip Coorey in the AFR quoted cited JWS Research which showed the climate change was the number one issue overall in the last election. A pity then that the debate did not really focus on climate change. More on a money but overwhelmingly on how awful Bill Shorten would be as a PM and how he was coming after our money. Somehow, money spent on schools, hospitals, infrastructure, the old, people on Newstart etc was not ours or for us, just government theft.

Breaking the issues down, however, climate change was a clear winner only for Labor and Greens voters. For the Coalition voters:

    25 per cent cited economic management as their most important issue, followed by tax (23 per cent), health (12 per cent), and franking credits (11 per cent).

    Climate change ranked eighth in order of importance among Coalition voters, with 7 per cent citing it. But this does not diminish its importance as an issue.

Religious freedom rated just 1 per cent overall.

So in this context, for the LNP climate change run a poor second to electricity prices.

ScoMo told the troops that their mandate was indeed about the economy and the hip pocket. He told them not to indulge themselves by speaking out about peripheral matters, and he told them in detail what the audience reach of each media program was. He would not have appreciated Andrew Hastie’s contributioin to security and international relations with the Chinese.

ScoMo is an advertising man at work. He also told them not to underestimate the Labor Party.

It’s about power, politics and eyes firmly on what wins for ScoMo.

Coorey says:

    The polling is a warning to those who think climate change disappeared as an issue when Morrison won the election.

4. Pell appeal fails

In breaking news:

    Two of the three judges from Victoria’s Court of Appeal turned down Pell’s primary ground of appeal, that the jury’s verdict was unreasonable.

    The judges unanimously dismissed two other grounds of appeal which argued that there were errors in the way the trial was run.

I understand the judges watched the videos of the trials, inspected the site, and handled the robes which were claimed to be too heavy or restrictive.

5. Grattan on baby boomers

In the AFR there was a simple report today saying that the housing slump was over. We were all meant to rejoice that our housing costs, already some of the highest in the world, were going up.

Wages aren’t going up in a commensurate fashion. Now Grattan Institute has weighed in:

How about this?

    Young people are told they waste their money instead of saving, but their spending on ‘luxuries’ like booze, holidays, cigarettes and clothes has gone down since 2010.

    By contrast, spending by households headed by someone aged 55 or older has gone up 50 to 80 per cent in the past six years.

With fewer workers per retiree, the next generations are going to have to pay for the care of the aged, who are not all self-funded, and who are living longer than ever before.

80 thoughts on “Weekly salon 21/8”

  1. Mette Frederiksen, PM of some tiny European nation, will not be meeting Pres Trump after all.

    Apparently she doesn’t want him to purchase Greenland.

    Heavens to betsy!!
    No understanding of real estate and deals….

  2. The US has a long history of buying land from other countries. ( see Louisiana Purchase and Alaska )
    Taking the Capitalist, free market, mutual agreement approach that I think is preferable to historical standards of military power takeover.
    Some communist Countries still practice the latter.

    I’ll go with the Trump /Greenland modus operandi over Putin and Xi doing the tank thang.

  3. Jumpy: Denmark is mainly lowland that I suspect, like Mackay, will disappear before all the ice in Greenland has finished melting. On the other hand, I would expect that Greenland will be a good place for the people of Denmark to retreat to once all the ice has melted. The Danes aren’t stupid.

  4. Jumpy I don’t think that system is so flash. First it does emit CO2 that has to be sequestered somehow. The technology that is available to sequester CO2 doubles the cost of the power produced. So-called “clean coal” relies on sequestration btw, although that fact escapes the LNP.
    Secondly, the efficiency is about the same as dual cycle gas with not a lot of gain.
    Lastly, the stuff I read did not address the provision of pure oxygen that the system needs. That has to come from some process or another but still requires energy to produce.

  5. Part of the problem that remains with Netpower is that coal is turned into CO2, they say in the form of gas, ready to be used or (mainly I’d say) pumped off to a sequestration site.

    This overlooks the fact that CO2 is about 3.7 times the mass of coal, and then has to be transported from where it is burnt to where it is sequestered. Then in I think most cases it will be compressed into liquid, which requires further energy.

    I’m not getting excited about Netpower.

  6. Seems that because one out of three judges wanted to grant Pell’s appeal that he will go off to the High Court.

  7. Had a quick look at the written judgement last night in Pell, Court of Appeal. About 350 pages long, replete with footnotes and precedents.

    The High Court has ruled that only in unusual circumstances should an appeal court overturn a jury verdict. The majority judges discuss this. They write that even if there were a full video of a trial, the “atmosphere in the court” which the jury experienced and deliberated on, cannot be experienced by the appeal judges. Besides, they write alone. They don’t discuss and debate as a panel. They see “early drafts” of each others’ judgements.

    I learnt a lot from the first thirty or so pages.

    Apparently the judgement written by the dissenting judge runs to about 200 pages.

    This is a valuable window into the justice and judicial realms, IMO.

  8. Interesting Ambi. I suppose it would not be a good look if our upper-level jurists were to bicker amongst themselves. That would erode confidence in the system and might even provide grounds for appeal.
    I concede bias against Pell, especially after reading David Marr’s Quarterly essay which was in my view, totally damning of Pell. In any event, even if Pell was innocent in this matter, I think there may be a conga line of complainants waiting to go after him.
    The other part that irks me, is that the echelons of the church would transfer paedophiles around the parishes – that is, allow them to continue their sordid business. I believe Pell was one of the people who transferred perpetrators around. He should be held to account for that as well.

  9. I heard on legal comment saying that the case was significant because a lower status alleged victim was believed over a higher status alleged perpetrator.

    Pell’s lawyers defence was in part that the alleged events were impossible. An inspection of the site and the robes appears to have convinced the appellant judges that the events were possible (at least two of them, not sure about the third).

    That being the case, all Pell’s lawyers had to do was to convince them that still there was doubt (not sure in the case of the appeal whether it was ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ or ‘on the balance of probabilities’) given the lack of witnesses. I had expected that the judges might easily find doubt to exist. Seems for two of them it didn’t.

    I’d agree with the victim’s lawyer, however, when she said that people outside the actual process have no proper basis for a settled opinion one way or the other.

  10. Thanks zoot.
    I will follow Quentin Fortesqueue’s work with interest.

    But what is a f*ckwit?
    Is it like a buckwheat?

  11. Vale Tim Fischer.

    A commenter claimed Tim sacrificed his political career to support the Howard Govt gun laws after the Port Arthur gun slaughter.

    True? ?

  12. Zoot thanks for the link. I monitor the Borowitz Report from the NYT but I think yours is better.

    Buckwheat is a person describing a politician when intoxicated.

    Agree, Valet Tim Fischer. I always thought he left politics because the players were no longer noble and honest.

  13. Thanks Geoff H

    I see that Borowitz confirms the zoot report that Denmark may purchase the USA. If they provided it with some modern amenities they could change it from a large land mass into a modern nation.

  14. Denmark buying The US is as feasible as the Phillipines buying China in economic terms.
    But the notion is typical of the left media and acolytes understanding of economics.

    But hey, Trump is an authoritarian war monger ( apparently, hahaha ) so I’d be cheaper to send %20 of the his military and just take the thing Socialist style right ?

  15. That may have been a local response, perhaps “ der Fred “ or “ no shit Sherlock “ may cut through.

    ( hard to believe that I’ve got to explain these things to some folk )

  16. Na, I’ll leave that to you to figure out.

    Also why the egg predates the chicken if you want.

    Also the intricacies of secure shoelace weaving .

  17. As explained at length in my recent scholarly monograph “It’s a Joke, Joyce!” the positing of highly unlikely events, or quite unforseen dialogue, can be an indicator of authorial (comic) intent.

    For example, the suggestion that an economic minnow might swallow a larger entity might be made as an exercise in absurdity, Preposterous Prose being withal a favoured stylistic stratagem.

    One hesitates to point to the “Modest Proposal” of Dean Swift, so egregiously put forth by Prof Bahnish in this seminar series.

    And yet it furnishes us with an exemplar of the Satiric Form. The author proposes a scheme so curious and distressing, that a sensitive reader may “lose his lunch” while reading. Yet luncheon is the very subject.

    And the admirable work of Irish households in lifting themselves out of dire poverty by their own labours – labours of love and nurture, if you will – and seizing the opportunities for advancement and gain that free men valued two centuries ago, before the modern State ruined daily lives and suborned our Liberties!! A very gem.

    All set out with convincing detail and calculations. Dean Swift, dean of economists; humanist and Irish nationalist; your socially advanced thinking will not easily be forgot.


  18. On Pell, David Marr said yesterday that the appeals court was like a third jury. They trawled through everything that went on in the two previous trials, did the site inspection the second jury did etc.

    He says the High Court won’t do that. They are there to resolve complex issues of law. Marr says there are none in this case.

    Pell doesn’t appeal, he seeks leave to appeal. I think Marr would be a bit surprised if leave will be granted.

    Meanwhile Marr says Pell is now guilty. Yet the bishop of Melbourne has declared that he believes both Pell and the victim. I other words, there was a stray cardinal running around that day that no-one else noticed

  19. I’ve been given two tickets to the Broncos vs Rabbitohs match tonight – season tickets better than I would ever pay for. Opportunities like that are rare!

    I did the reading for next post which will be about blackout hysteria stemming from the report by AEMO, Angus Taylor mouthing off about the Victorian government folly in reckless pursuit of renewables etc. Working today, so will finish tomorrow.

  20. David Marr is a fine fellow, and has more knowledge of the law than the average journalist, but is not a dispassionate observer of the Pell matter.

    There are many differing opinions.
    Dr Frank Brennan, an intelligent commentator and past theological critic of the Cardinal, was unhappy with aspects of the trial.

    I simply don’t know.
    I support the judicial system.

    It’s correct that George Pell’s lawyers must apply for leave to appeal to the High Court.

    An interesting comment I saw yesterday, was the opinion that the dissenting judgement by Justice Weinberg “read as if it had been written for an audience of seven” = a full bench of the High Court.

  21. Neither Marr nor Brennan is a dispassionate observer in this case. But both trained as lawyers and both are careful that their public utterances, whilst still being points of view, are as objective as possible. I have great respect for both men.
    I agree that in this case we should support the judicial system.

  22. Although I respect the judicial system as the best way to ascertain guilt or innocence, I’m sure Pell is stained forever.
    If ultimately guilt is proven then personally I’d like him shot and burned.
    If ultimately found innocent be free to walk among us all without harassment as if the accusations never happened.

    Unfortunately neither will happen.

    Whether it’s been proven without doubt, I don’t know.

  23. “Shot and burned” is currently unavailable to any Judge in our system.

    That’s the treatment a farmer might follow in a case like ‘mad cow disease’, Mr J.

    George Pell is a human being.

  24. Speaking of Pell, did anybody watch the BBC show ‘Dark Money’ (about the abuse of a teenage boy) last night? Gosh it was disturbing, not sure if I can watch any more of it.

  25. Not me Val. I’m now curious but from your comment a bit wary/unlikely to watch it.

  26. It was about a 13 year old English boy who gets involved in some major new film spectacular, but is still an ordinary boy from an ordinary flawed family. He is abused by a man who I think is a star (we see little of him directly). So there were elements of Michael Jackson, or Kevin Spacey, about the abuser, but what made me think of the Pell is that the 13 year old boy just wants to live his life.

    Unlike the boys in the Pell case, in this story the boy tells his family, but he still doesn’t want anyone else to know. It’s so clear how the desire for secrecy is so important – to be able to live your life and not be dragged into this. One of the best aspects of the story was how that was conveyed.

    The other very confronting thing was the picture of an ordinary family coming up against immense wealth and power, and the way the legal system can be used to silence people and make them accept money and gag clauses. That’s something I know a bit about, though not on that scale, and maybe that’s partly why it was so hard to watch for me, but I suspect it would be for many people. Still not sure if I’ll watch it or not.

  27. Christropher Lamb asks Cardinal Pell analysis: What happens next?

    Meaning, what does the Vatican now do? Lamb suggests that the Pell case has become something of a litmus test for the church’s handling of abuse.

    I think it is fair enough to wait to see whether the case goes to the High Court, and if it does, than wait for the outcome.

    I think the Vatican should then accept the outcome. It would be outrageous if the courts find Pell guilty and the Vatican finds anything else.

    Then if guilty he should be immediately defrocked.

    While it’s fair enough that their inquiry then looks at Pell’s activities beyond this case ( it should be especially concerned as to whether he protected other pedophilic clergy) that inquiry should bot prevent them from defrocking him immediately.

  28. I went out to do a few things this morning. That turned out going to 11 different places and it took all day.

    I could have gone to the Qld Labor conference this weekend as an observer, to attend events. I’m not a delegate, but could have worked on the LEAN stall. However, I genuinely had stuff to do, and I’m not experienced enough to represent LEAN.

  29. Well Brian, I don’t know how you have any hope of Labor at present. I’m not saying that to start Labor Greens bickering, I just can’t see how, at a moment like this, an environmentalist can have any hope for Labor. Queensland Labor must see that we have to move away from coal. The fact that they seem to cling to some hope, apparently for political reasons, that this is not urgent, makes them appear hopeless to me.
    I’m not saying people working in the coal mining industry should be thrown on the scrap heap either. There needs to be a clear plan for transition and Labor should have the courage to lead.

  30. An important commemoration coming up. Twenty years since the deadly militia rampages in East Timor, a province at that time of the Indonesian Republic.

    PM Howard had asked their President to hold a referendum on independence. Timor Leste emerged from a scorched earth Dili.

    And tomorrow “Four Corners” will look at the case of Witness K who claimed that ASIS bugged Timor Leste government offices to ascertain that Government’s negotiating strategy over the undersea oil and gas fields nearby.

    Boundaries in dispute for decades.
    Australia/Indonesia accords going back to 1974 (?)

    What other main source of wealth does Timor Leste have?
    Does it make cents for the Timorese to stand by while Australian companies make dollars?

    Sounds like a downer to me.
    And who was the Australian Minister who authorised the ASIS bugging? Did that go to Cabinet? (Might take decades to find out….)

    Does Woodside have a good side?

    Actually, “downer” is too vague and glib: Australia’s actions were shameful.

    At least this hasn’t been hidden away: the matter was ventilated at The Hague. You can’t get much more international and “overseas” than that!

  31. There needs to be a clear plan for transition and Labor should have the courage to lead.

    If you want to lead you have to do it within your own sphere of influence, and believe it or not, Queensland is.

    The amount of new solar, large scale and rooftop, that came on stream in Qld in the early part of this year was enough to change the whole balance of power generation within the NEM. Qld has set up Cleanco, a publicly owned generator, which going to the market for reverse tenders for 400MW of renewable energy.

    One thing I can tell you for sure. If your source of information about what the Qld government is doing is the media, including the ABC, you will be coming to false conclusions.

    Its frustrating, but I can’t see how the real story can be told. Journalists don’t read the media statements released by the government, and the ABC continually seeks out and highlights opinion that is critical, ill-informed and often wrong.

  32. Just on the clear plan for transition, that has to be national, and can only be done in government.

    On electricity, AEMO is working on a plan to decarbonise by 2050. They don’t have a remit to go faster than that, as such would need to come from the government of the day. What I’m pushing for is to have Labor in opposition create a plan to transition the whole economy to zero emissions, and also to tackle the issue of mining for fossil fuel exports.

    Burning those fuels elsewhere and creating GHGs is not our responsibility. However, our future prosperity is excessively dependent on exporting fossil fuels and there is a huge issue of the risk (I’d say certainty) of stranded assets.

    Albo, Penny Wong and others are saying the coal and gas will be part of our energy mix for a time. No-one can say how long that is going to be. However, if they want to do something about it, and they do, they need to gain power and then take the people with them. So far, unlike the other side, they are not misleading anyone or distorting the truth. However, what they say is being distorted.

  33. Val:

    I’m not saying people working in the coal mining industry should be thrown on the scrap heap either. There needs to be a clear plan for transition and Labor should have the courage to lead.

    I spent most of my working life in mining with most of the last 20 yrs spent working for the coal industry. My wife is a coal miners daughter with most of the uncles in her extended family working as underground coal miners before they retired, died or had a serious accident.
    Coal mining professionals and construction workers like me got most of their work from the expansion of the coal industry before 2007. Offers of work dried up after the GFC.
    I find the Greens pretty ignorant when it comes to the coal industry and coal miners. Specifically:
    1. Coal miners are very well paid with most earning well over $100,000/yr. Just transition supporters don’t seem to understand the renewable power station builders and operators will learn much less than this. Difficult to see what retrenched coal miners could do to go to close to matching existing earnings.
    2. A large proportion of coal mines produce metallurgical coal will be needed to make steel until steel making is radically changed. The jobs of these coal miners are relatively safe.
    3. We are not going to shut down the thermal coal industry quickly. I don’t think there will be much of a job crisis for coal industry workers.
    4. Underground coal mining is dangerous and unpleasant. Most of my wife’s cousins have gone into the coal industry.
    The Greens would avoid a lot of coal miner hostility if they stopped babbling on about just transitions and showed that they had done their homework on the coal industry.
    Coal mining daughter wife does hand out Green how to votes because she generally approves with what they are trying to do. However, the Greens don’t measure up to her standards of logic and she feels that they lack empathy with the coal miners whose jobs they are trying to shut down.

  34. On my desk somewhere I have a clipping from the AFR by a unionist, who, from memory, was head of the mining bit in Qld of the CFMMEU.

    He said miners know that the jobs won’t last forever. (There is another aspect of this. A lot of people in the job don’t last in it forever, because fly-in fly-out and 12 hour shifts is

    are not an easy gig.) However, he said, they have no faith in a “just transition”. he said their experience was that a third of people laid off get better jobs, a third get worse jobs, and the remaining third get no jobs at all.

    He didn’t say, but I think that experience may come out of the car industry.

    However, John is right, coal miners laid off would not expect any jobs at all paid as well.

  35. Brian:

    Just on the clear plan for transition, that has to be national, and can only be done in government.

    I don’t agree with that. My take is that renewables no longer need government support and that people, businesses and local communities are installing renewables at a rate of knots. This doesn’t mean that state governments do not have to act to ensure that we end up with balanced and reliable systems run by government owned corporations.

  36. Just on the clear plan for transition, that has to be national, and can only be done in government.

    That’s what a ( insert qualifier ) Socialist would say.
    But as a Capitalist I’m in favour of a free market alternative that make FFs redundant.
    The person or group that produces that will be a squillionaire, so there is plenty of incentive there.

    But if Government was to help it could ( as John puts it “ war footing “ mode ) divert scientific resources and funding to discover alternatives. I’d recon all scientific funding grants other than medical should be redirected to renewable energy for the next 5 years. No renewable energy component = NO funds.

    I’m sure 97% of scientists will have no problem with that short term arrangement to save the Planet.

    Also make all research data open source available, no copyright on taxpayer funded research.

    Done and done.

  37. The government has to approve mining exploration leases and development plans. Adani should have been rejected because environmentally we should not be opening up a new basin with infrastructure developments that must become stranded assets if our progeny are to have a future.

    The point at which that should have been done in relation to sovereign risk is the imponderable. I don’t have the answers.

    Woodside is a major problem in that they are bringing along $40 billion worth of new gas development we should never have let then start.

    I’ll write more about this in a subsequent post.

  38. Done and done looms pretty close to dumb and dumb(er) Jumpy. Maybe I just can’t follow your thread – it’s lazy Sunday arv here…

  39. Done and done looms pretty close to dumb and dumb(er) Jumpy.

    Fine, what is your solution Geoff ?
    Or any substantive intelligent rebuttal to my suggestion, at all, anything…

  40. Brian my IP address issues seem to occur when I use my iPhone to post. I’ll stop using for that from now on.

  41. Brian, energy is a State responsibility, not National.
    But fundamentally, at the basis, it’s an individual responsibility.

    One can bribe and cajole certain key bureaucrats to do anything with mixed results, but if the masses are cajoled then big changes happen quickly voluntarily

  42. Jumpy I confess I have a very small brain and could not keep up with your point.

    However, I sense that you are a great believer in market forces, and that therein is the “solution”.
    Now there was a time when market forces aka competition was effective in keeping markets fair and competitive. But times have changed, or rather, our awareness of the change has happened.
    For example, General Motors, during the 1970s, bought all the many tramways in Los Angeles. They promptly scrapped the trams and sold thousands of buses, unsurprisingly made by GM, and supported I believe by Standard oil or one of them.
    The result is that Americas transport system is one of the slowest in the world. The fastest train is 85 mph (ca. 137 km/h) over a very limited track length. No high speed rail at all and it’s largely because someone captured the market (and Policy) just a few years ago. So much for market forces. The growth of oligopolies, the purchase of government (“donations”), globalisation and an uninformed consumer has not served any population well. I’m technically OK with market forces, but I think they are no longer honest and don’t reflect true competitive behaviour.

  43. My point among others, is that we need to disrupt the market and end the use of coal and gas before the market moves in that direction. It’s an emergency.

    New post now up Keeping the lights on.

  44. Brian

    My point among others, is that we need to disrupt the market and end the use of coal and gas before the market moves in that direction. It’s an emergency.

    And my point is you’re wanting to have have Big Brother push a length of rope up hill and excuse not pulling.

    The market will move to more valued alternatives by the multitudes of individuals that make up the market and society.

  45. The climate crisis has been a known threat for at least the last 40 years.
    In the last 20 years (since the non-existent pause in 1998) the existential threat has become incontrovertible. Yet the Invisible Hand of the Market has been AWOL.
    Even now, with renewable energy on the rise, it is doing too little too late. Why is the government stopping the market from making effective progress? More importantly, how is the government hindering the market’s efforts?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  46. Zoot, what do you think of my suggestions @AUGUST 25, 2019 AT 3:29 PM ?
    I hope any criticism will be accompanied by an alternative of yourself your own.

    If not don’t bother.

  47. But as a Capitalist I’m in favour of a free market alternative that make FFs redundant.
    The person or group that produces that will be a squillionaire, so there is plenty of incentive there.

    With such an irresistible incentive, why hasn’t the market already acted? What more does it need to get off its arse? The impending demise of the human race apparently isn’t enough.
    And why didn’t the market act in 1938 to short circuit the great unpleasantness of 1939-1945?
    And in 1845, why didn’t the market halt the disastrous Great Irish Famine?
    This market of yours is a complete lame duck when it comes to actually getting anything done.

  48. Exactly Zoot.
    I think if one studied it you might find that the “market” responds largely to top-down influence of large vested interests. Sometimes called marketing. An example might the growth of sugar consumption per capita or even the use of opioids or tobacco. Each has been driven by powerful interests and embraced by the market despite the perils attached to use. You might note to that governments have been complicit in many ways.
    The bottom-up influence might gain some traction with Getup and Change.org for example, time will tell.

  49. Markets are a good way of exchanging goods and services but they haven’t proved effective in countering existential threats. And given that carbon is the main culprit in our current situation there can’t be any “market” solution until we put a price on it.
    This approach was attempted by the Gillard government and even though it was howled down by the market evangelists it worked for the short time it was in effect; Australia’s carbon emissions reduced.
    I’m just glad our true believer seems to have retreated from his oft commented position that the Bureau of Meteorology was inflating temperature data to falsely imply the planet was warming when in fact it wasn’t and the BOM was just chasing the squillions of dollars available to promote the global warming/climate change hoax.

  50. I understand your perspectives but I still think Labor’s strategy is hopeless. I can’t think of any time that Labor has won by offering compromised positions, though they’ve tried many times. Labor wins by offering a positive vision (which Shorten didn’t do, I think for personality reasons as much as anything, though he could have with the policies they had – they could have been presented positively.)

    If Albanese thinks that because they lost in Queensland (largely true although WA wasn’t great), they have to offer policies or an image to attract Qld voters, and that even if more southern lefties grumble, they won’t vote for the LNP, I think that’s misguided for two reasons.

    First they could win more seats in Victoria, there are still some that are close. Second, at the moment the Greens are a bit stagnant, but if they got a good leader, they could be revitalised and reunited. In which case, although it wouldn’t help the LNP, Labor would have to govern with the Greens, and Albanese himself could even lose his seat. So I think what he is doing is wrong and risky.

    There’s a lot in what you both (John and Brian) have said that I can see the sense of, but I also think you are looking at it from a Queensland-centric view, and no matter how important Queensland seems politically at present, it’s only one state.

    (Also Brian can you tell me is there some reason why the blog won’t remember me and I have to keep filling in my details?)

  51. Gough Whitlam didn’t wait for the market. He installed Lance Barnard as his deputy, and then with a cabinet of two started ticking off the changes he reckoned he had a mandate for.

    Australia changed forever, largely for the better by a whole list of criteria and people who know about this stuff.

  52. Sorry, I hope it’s obvious, but my comment was a response to what Brian and John were saying about politics a while back. While I was writing it, a whole lot more comments suddenly appeared, unbeknownst to me.

    I used to get really good reliable internet connection not all that many years ago. Another way the LNP is stuffing us up …

  53. Val, by habit I listen to late night talkback on the ABC when they have quizzes and stuff. Every night there is evidence of how third-world our communications system is.

  54. Brian:

    Qld has set up Cleanco, a publicly owned generator, which going to the market for reverse tenders for 400MW of renewable energy.

    Sounds like the approach I have been rabbiting on about since before I met you. Hope they have the sense to largely base the contracts on the provision of available capacity rather than paying on per kWh delivered. Details if you have them Brian?

  55. John, I only have general information at this stage.

    You mention “contracts on the provision of available capacity”. I think I know what you mean, but I don’t see how that can be done when we have privatised retailers who purchase electricity, supposedly competing to give us the lowest consumer prices.

  56. Look, sorry to be a wet blanket…

    but a few years back, after some large forest fires in Victoria one summer, I mentioned that a person from the Canberra Govt Carbon Accounting Office had said they don’t estimate CO2 emission from bushfires because it’s just part of the (background, natural) Carbon Cycle.

    Only man-made emissions counted, etc.

    I recall arguing, that approach would be OK only if we have a more-or-less “steady state”, where fires, on average, occur with similar intensity and similar frequency… over the long term.

    1. Some fires are directly man-made: arson, electrical transmission lines falling in strong winds, etc. Approx 40% of Victorian fires started by “SEC sparks”??

    2. Frequency and intensity of fires may increase.

    I hesitate to mention the recent large fires in the Amazon Basin….

    “Lungs of the Earth”?

    Then again, if Bruce Pascoe is correct, perhaps more C has been sequestered in Victorian forests since, say, 1910 because we stopped felling large trees???


  57. Brian:

    I don’t see how that can be done when we have privatised retailers who purchase electricity, supposedly competing to give us the lowest consumer prices.

    Private retailers are a greedy blot on the system.
    My strong preference are a power systems run by government owned corporations whose role includes retailing and setting up contracts for the supply of power producing capacity. Don’t really care if the generators and energy storage are privately or publicly run but do care about monopolies like the grid being run by private enterprise.

  58. Stepping back on my soap box, I note the invisible hand of the market is doing buggerall about the fires in the Amazon (although some people think it had a hand in starting them).

  59. Inquiring minds would like to know how zoot obtaines his food and possessions ( particularly his soy )

  60. Inquiring minds would like to know how zoot obtaines his food and possessions ( particularly his soy )

    Glad to oblige but first, when you wrote soy I believe you probably meant tofu, and were I a person whose diet included tofu of course I would obtain it from a merchant who dealt in such products.
    Your comment would be a grade A, devastating GOTCHA if I were arguing against markets but I’m not, as my comment at 9:54 pm on August 25 demobstrates. Which part of

    Markets are a good way of exchanging goods and services but they haven’t proved effective in countering existential threats.

    didn’t you understand?
    For any other linguistically challenged readers I am highlighting the stupidity of “free” market fundamentalists who keep claiming, against all evidence, that markets provide solutions to every issue confronting humanity. That’s not what Adam Smith wrote.

  61. soy milk, soy latte, soy-based champagne socialism,
    latte should be sipped

    the realm of stereotypes is stereotypically replete with the most wonderfully imagined minotaurs, goblins and unicorns.

    Quite frankly, they make Ern Malley look like a pedestrian fake!!

    Down in Victoria, “The Age” online informs its readers that Rockhampton, QLD is the new, trending real estate dream. They reckon that’s news.

    Watch out for the coming tsunami of latte-sippers and chardonnay socialists, Rock-persons. If there’s one thing a southern trendy cannot resist, it’s the lure of a new real estate bargain!!

    Carpet-baggers in Qld of old, used to sell Victorians swampy bogs, sight unseen. We’ve wised up; don’t you worry about that.

  62. No zoot I meant soy, Brazilian Amazon soy production is huge, also palm oil.

    What this linguistically challenged what’s to know, as the supporter of Democracy that I am, how you think the individual purchasing ( vote ) decisions but the masses should not direct our future in the private market as well as the political ?

  63. Mr J

    Why did you link to an article about American processed foods under American brand names sold in American stores?

    Have you emigrated to the USA and not bothered mentioning it?

    Inquiring minds.

  64. Got this link when I googled for soy problems. If you believe all that is said it suggests that soy may help solve the earth’s dominant environmental problem (humans) by weakening humans to the point where they will slowly die out, grow men boobs and and and….. (Then again, the article seems a bit obsessive.) Looks like Jumpy’s article was just a part of an anti soy campaign.

  65. “Feed the man meat!” was an early shot in the Great Anti-Soy War.

    Then that Sam bloke with his Australia Day Lamb.

    (Someone told me the old “fish on Fridays” bizzo was introduced by an English monarch, to protect the local fish trade.)


  66. Ambi: Peter who became the first pope was a fisherman who had the grace to look after his fisherman mates when he became powerful. (My theory anyways.)

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