Weekly salon 24/1

1. The problem with democracy

Clearly the big problem is the people, the electors, although candidates can be an issue also.

Last November popular Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow resigned over a perceived indiscretion.

Next problem was that the Queensland government had just passed a law saying that when a mayor disappears through death or resignation, the candidate with the next highest number of votes should automatically take over.

It happens that on this occasion the next in line was a bloke known Pineapple (Chris Hooper), who commonly rides a pushbike barefoot around town carting signs about saving the world:

The government rapidly changed the law to correct this nonsense, as we do in Queensland, retrospectively if the occasion demands. So yesterday with a field of 17 candidates, pundits reckoned he was a chance!

Today, with around 80% of votes counted, Pineapple is running third, with around half the votes of the lead candidate, Tony Williams, who is on about 25% of the votes.

I found a 2017 article Two eminent political scientists: The problem with democracy is voters where Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels lay out their sobering thesis:


    Voters don’t have anything like coherent preferences. Most people pay little attention to politics; when they vote, if they vote at all, they do so irrationally and for contradictory reasons.

If Achen and Bartels are right:

    democracy is a faulty form of politics, and direct democracy is far worse than that. It virtually guarantees that at some point, you’ll end up with a grossly unfit leader.

Their book was researched Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government before Trump came along.

2. Another view

Bertholt Brecht made lots of quotable quotes, like “What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?” and “Don’t be afraid of death so much as an inadequate life.” I like this one:

    “In the dark times Will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times.”

What sent me looking for Brecht was a vague memory of this one:

    Some party hack decreed that the people had lost the government’s confidence and could only regain it with redoubled effort.

    If that is the case, would it not be simpler if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?

It’s kind of what the Republicans are doing, making sure only the right people get to vote.

3. Jobs, jobs, jobs!

That’s what it’s all about, according to Michaelia Cash, Scott Morrison and company. The Courier Mail has been getting into the Queensland government because our unemployment is 7.6 per cent, second worst in the country.

I read on my tablet a government media release which said Queensland has actually grown jobs in 2020, 36,600 of them. New South Wales had lost 38,400 and Victoria 52,900.

The reason is simple. More Mexicans are moving north again.

Sorry I can’t find the link. This one says our vacancies are strong.

Not sure who is doing what though. John Kehoe in the AFR says:

    Overall, there were about 140,000 fewer people employed across the economy, with a big fall in full-time positions more than offsetting a rise in part-time roles between February and November 2020.

    Huge lay-offs have been suffered in typically lower-paid jobs in the accommodation and food (-97,200), arts and recreation (-19,000), manufacturing (-69,600) and wholesale trade (-19,000) industries.

    In a twist during the pandemic, employment in the healthcare and social assistance category has fallen by more than 43,000 positions due to declines in elective surgery, medical screenings and dental appointments.

Here’s an ABS graph:

Treasurer Frydenberg is urging us to spend, spend big rather than save:

    There’s now more than $200 billion, which is on household and business balance sheets, which was not there last January,” he told Tony Jones, filling for Neil Mitchell on 3AW.

    “That is money that can be spent across the economy in the period ahead, and help us avoid a fiscal cliff when the temporary emergency economic supports taper off.”

JobKeeper, which supported up to 3.4 million Australians at it’s peak, is due to come to an end on March 28.

He controls when JobKeeper and JobSeeker taper off, so there is more than one way of avoiding a ‘fiscal cliff’. He has obviously lost confidence in the people, because he seems to think that if they don’t/can’t work they should be painfully poor.

Apart from pure consumption, what is the government doing to build back better, as they say?

For inspiration from our Treasurer look at his media release New measures to help Australia’s economic recovery in 2021.

Not much there to excite.

One day I’d like to have a closer look at the ‘gas-led recovery’, if I could find more than a media release. If Angus Taylor really concentrates, something is bound to happen:

Actually, something did happen. A small sum of $50 million is being handed out for explorers drilling Beetaloo Basin.

That’s part of $18 billion to be spent on “clean” hydrogen, energy storage, low-carbon steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage, and soil carbon.

4. Australia Day again

Just so you know, they don’t hand out Australia Day honours willy nilly, although it may seem like that. There is a proper process, which Scott Morrison says he has nothing to do with him. The ABC has helpfully produced A guide to Australia Day honours and how the selection process works.

In short the Governor General makes the awards on the recommendation of the Council for the Order of Australia, who are:

    The Council has 19 members, including seven “community representatives” chosen by the Prime Minister, as well as representatives nominated by each state and territory.

    Three people also sit on the Council because they hold a particular position.

    They are the Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell; a Deputy Secretary within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Stephanie Foster; and Senator Simon Birmingham, who is the Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council.

    The Council is chaired by Shane Stone, a former lawyer, federal politician and businessman, whose diverse career also saw him serve as the Northern Territory’s Chief Minister between 1995 and 1999.

Margaret Court’s Order of Australia has caused anger, according to the BBC:

    The Perth-based pastor sparked widespread condemnation when in 2017 she said tennis was “full of lesbians” and that transgender children were the work of “the devil”.

    She has also said she would not fly on Australian airline Qantas “where possible” in protest at its support of same-sex marriage.

I’m told she is also an anti-vaxxer, and if you get COVID it shows you are living in sin, though I can’t find a link.

Apparently her views don’t matter, but Dan Andrews thinks otherwise:

    I don’t want to give this person’s disgraceful, bigoted views any oxygen.

    But when others insist on rewarding them with this country’s highest honour – I think it’s worth saying again:

    Grand Slam wins don’t give you some right to spew hatred and create division.

    Nothing does.

Personally I think the awards do provide a platform for high profile people. Some of the recent decisions may be affecting the credibility of the awards system. Canberra doctor Clara Tuck Meng Soo has handed her OAM back, because she doesn’t want to be part of the circus.

In other news Scott Morrison has used his platform to criticise Cricket Australia:

    Scott Morrison, has come under fire after he criticised a Cricket Australia initiative to promote inclusivity on 26 January and claimed the date in 1788 “wasn’t a particularly flash day” for those on the first fleet.

    The game’s governing body on Wednesday announced it would drop references to “Australia Day” in promotional material for Big Bash League games in the lead-up to the public holiday considered by some as a day of mourning.

Morrison has accused Cricket Australia of politicising Australia Day. In fact, he’s done that himself.

On ABC Nightlife the other night Morrison’s action was ‘Topic of the day”. While there were some contrary views, the dominat view was that Morrison should get on with governing the country. We don’t need him sticking his bib into every issue. One caller said, the PM is there to serve us, he’s not our boss.

Amen to that.

5. Virus factoid

The New Scientist in a potted history of the progress on the coronavirus said that last February several outbreaks in ski resorts in Italy and Austria led to a rapid evacuation, often in crowded buses, as travellers headed home.

One resort, Ischgl in Austria, was linked with thousands of cases in 46 countries.

6. Have the lunatics taken over the asylum?

Remember the Monash Forum? I called them Coalsheviks, a pro-coal group started by Tony Abbott within the Coalition in 2018. Marian Wilkinson has the story in The Carbon Club.

On the eve of Anzac Day 2018 Malcolm Turnbull found himself in Villers-Bretonneux to open the Monash Centre with the French PM. It had been Abbott’s pet project, so Abbott was there as a special guest, who had earlier, in 2017, given the annual lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a sceptic think-tank in the UK. The lecture was titled ‘Daring to doubt’ but was known as the ‘Sacrificing goats’ speech..

A few weeks before Anzac 2018 Abbott had launched the Monash Forum, a group of about 20 Coalition pollies as a pro-coal lobby group. Turns out that Monash as a civilian engineer had been involved in building coal-fired power stations. The Forum was duly promoted by Peta Credlin on Sky.

Turnbull didn’t see the Monash Forum as a threat to his PMship, he saw it as an absurdity, because while he took a technology neutral approach he believed that no-one in private enterprise would be stupid enough to build coal-fired power.

The last entry on the Monash Forum Facebook page is by Craig Kelly on 8 September 2018, with an article from the Oz celebrating new PM Scott Morrison burying the NEG and seeking “endorsement from cabinet to tear up the Paris emissions target legislation when it meets formally for the first time on Monday, as the new Prime Minister moves to stamp his authority over a new policy direction for the government.”

Anyway, mission accomplished, no need for the Monash Forum any more.

So when we think about how problematic the loony Right has become elsewhere, there is scope for thinking about how we are situated in Australia.

See also Coalsheviks’ want to head renewable energy off at the pass and A fight for the soul of the Liberal Party.

56 thoughts on “Weekly salon 24/1”

  1. In a front page headline the Oz announced today that the Politics of carbon has ended:

      Scott Morrison says the political debate about reaching a carbon neutral future is over but he will not take a new 2030 or 2035 emissions reduction target to a key UN conference in Glasgow this year.

    He accepts the need to reach net-zero, but technology will determine when we get there.

    Nothing has changed here, except the rhetoric.

    Back in 2009, when Turnbull lost the leadership to Tony Abbott, he said:

      “Any policy that is announced [by the Coalition] will be a con, an environmental fig leaf to cover a determination to do nothing.”

    That was true then, and is true now.

    Marian Wilkinson says that John Howard always said he accepted the science of climate change, but wondered about the urgency, in order not to be pestered about being a climate denialist, which he later turned out to be.

    Angus Taylor has said he always accepted the science, but renewables are nowhere in his priorities.

  2. For a long time Australian’s took not much notice of Australia Day which was nothing much more than an excuse for a holiday on the nearest Monday to Jan the 26.
    Then Howard changed things by insisting that the Australia Day holiday occurred on Jan 26, the actual date of invasion day. to make matters worse we had pictures of yobbos rushing around wrapped in Australian flags.
    After Howard’s intervention Aborigines started talking about invasion day, a concept that got support from a significant number of Australian’s.
    Now we have Morrison attacking Cricket Aus for changing the name of their summer cricket campaign so there is not link “Australia Day.”
    My boss lady has pointed out that Australia doesn’t have many holidays during the Australian spring even though it does have Northern spring holidays such as Easter. She also commented that the Invasion day holiday can often disrupt the start of the school year and falls at a time when we have a surplus of holidays.
    The boss lady suggests that Australia Day be moved to the the Australian spring and goes back to what unites us rather than what separates us.

  3. Brian: Yep: “Clearly the big problem is the people, the electors, although candidates can be an issue also.” We have only to look at the US to see the odd problem with candidates and some of the voters.
    Fair elections with compulsory voting offer some protection.

  4. No need to go to the US, John.

    Every democratic polity has its own problem with crooks and fools. Several questions then arise.

    How to sniff them out.
    How to prosecute (if crooks) or bar them.
    How to have as few elected to office in the first place, as possible (can be a bit late if the till is found to be mostly empty….)

    May I instance a few names?
    NSW Askin
    WA Brian Burke
    Australia Al Grassby

    The list of course is not comprehensive; for present purposes it need not be.

    Of course, QLD and VIC have never been sullied. Goes without saying.

    Though there were rumours here in Vic about the aptly named Mr Bent.

    Cheerio

  5. I say, the boss lady earns a bunch of flowers she makes a lot of sense.

    Ambi, Qld was rotten from the beginning. Herbert, the first Premier, was in on the land grab as a silent partner, when soon there after a massacre ensued on the budding station called ‘Valley of the Lagoons’.

  6. John, I couldn’t be bothered going through the whole history again, but I think there were protests about invasion day from the 1930s. But you are right about Howard upping the ante by insisting on 26 Jan. A long weekend on the last Monday in January wasn’t a bad idea, just don’t link it with what happened in 1788.

    In the second half of the year, apart from the Ekka in August, we have Queens Birthday on 4 October when Labor is in government, NSW, ACT and SA have Labour Day.

    No-one seriously does any work on Melbourne Cup day.

    When all is said and done, though, we can’t go on like we are. A sector of the population is seriously offended by what we are doing now, and with very understandable reasons. Governments in this situation should look after and protect vulnerable minorities, even against majority opinion.

  7. Lethal Heating has picked up the article from the Oz Politics Of Carbon Has Ended, Scott Morrison Declares, so we can all read it.

    You have to give it to the guy. Craig Kelly has said that adopting a zero target for 2050 will blow the place up (he means the Coalition government). Malcolm Turnbull turned himself inside out trying to do something credible on climate, but they spat him out.

    Morrison has substituted one of his amazing word salads, which leaves him free to do whatever he wants, and the party is happy.

    Meanwhile he quietly adds his fossil fuel mates to the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee which is responsible for ensuring the integrity of projects that get climate funding.

    Plus the dreaded economist, Dr Brian Fisher:

      The economist made headlines before the 2019 federal election after suggesting Labor’s climate policies, including its target of a 45% cut in emissions by 2030 compared with 2005, would reduce gross national product over the next decade by hundreds of billions of dollars, lead to lower real wages and employment and substantially increase the cost of electricity compared to what it otherwise would be. He said the Coalition’s less ambitious climate targets would have a lesser economic impact and did not assess the cost of not acting on climate change.

      The government cited the analysis while accusing Labor of planning to put a “wrecking ball” through the economy. The then opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said the report should be filed under “P for propaganda”. In a piece for Guardian Australia, Frank Jotzo, a climate economist and professor at ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy, said Fisher’s modelling was based on ridiculous and outdated assumptions and ignored opportunities for cheap cuts.

    Shorten was right, but his inability to explain Labor’s policy cost him the election, I suspect.

  8. Clearly the big problem is the people, the electors, although candidates can be an issue also.

    That is by far the most frightening sentence I’ve read on this or any other blog, given the actions and devastating consequences of those that have believed it in the past.

  9. Jumpy, yes it is frightening. Have you heard of the concept of irony? Brecht made a lot of interesting social comments by turning a phrase in on itself, in what he called the ‘alienation effect’. It’s meant to make you think. Here’s a quote:

      The alienation effect was Brecht’s principle of using innovative theatrical techniques to “make the familiar strange” in order to provoke a social-critical audience response.

    And another one:

      The theory of “alienation effect” was put forward by Bertolt Brecht. “Alienation effect” means that the familiar contents are presented in an unfamiliar way to get a new effect so that the audience does not empathize with the story of a drama, and can think profoundly about the drama.

    I’ll repeat what I said in the post:


      Voters don’t have anything like coherent preferences. Most people pay little attention to politics; when they vote, if they vote at all, they do so irrationally and for contradictory reasons.

    If Achen and Bartels are right:

      democracy is a faulty form of politics, and direct democracy is far worse than that. It virtually guarantees that at some point, you’ll end up with a grossly unfit leader.

    Their book was researched Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government before Trump came along.

    If you don’t think seriously about that, then you have your head in the sand. I don’t know what the best answer is.

    Closer to home, our version of democracy has given us Mr George Christensen MP, Member for Dawson, Queensland, Chair of Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth Party and National Party Whip.

    Just the bloke we need in trade, when relations with China are going down the crapper.

    I’m hoping for suggestions from you of how we can do better, other than sortition, although sortition on average would surely produce a better result than we presently have in Dawson.

  10. Ambi: “Of course, QLD and VIC have never been sullied. Goes without saying.” Yep: Joh was a Kiwi who loved to promote himself as the super Queenslander. Used to wonder how he got away with it until we had an influx of far north Qld workers.
    Then there was was his trial for accepting a bribe from one of the Thiess brothers, The Thiess man was convicted for bribing Joh but Joh wasn’t convicted because there was a devoted Joh supporter on the Jury.

  11. Jumpy: “Clearly the big problem is the people, the electors, although candidates can be an issue also.
    That is by far the most frightening sentence I’ve read on this or any other blog, given the actions and devastating consequences of those that have believed it in the past.”
    The people who need the protection of democracy most are the people at the bottom of the pile. Once you start saying “only the competent should vote” the losers will be those who need the power of a vote most.

  12. John

    The people who need the protection of democracy most are the people at the bottom of the pile. Once you start saying “only the competent should vote” the losers will be those who need the power of a vote most.

    Exactly.
    And it’s the out of control arrogance of the self proclaimed “ competents “ that decide that THEY know what values the “ incompetents “ should have, what’s best in their lives, who they must vote for lest be forever labeled an “ incompetent “, need re-education, decide what freedoms to sacrifice for promised security, who gets to walk on two legs. All because they are smarter, more educated, most empathetic, arrogant betters.

    It’s been tried many times and failed genocidally.

    —————————————-

    Anyway, enjoy this year’s Australia Day lamb add via “ a trusted source ( of the better followers) “,

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-day-lamb-ad-2021-20210112-p56tfz.html

  13. Jumpy: I will generously support your right to vote even though I have occasional doubts about your competence at separating good Green policy from right wing babble.
    Hope you have the grace to say thanks.
    What i like about the Australian system these days is that our electoral commissions do their best to run a fair system that all sides of politics have confidence in. Also like compulsory voting because it makes it harder to pressure people into not voting and preference voting that allows people to express support for minor parties without losing your chance to have a say in the contest between the major parties.
    Then there is the civilized way we behave on election days. I have manned a lot of polling booths. all the people handing out how to votes have friendly conversations with opponents.

  14. Haha, dismissing the incompetent with a baseless, ill informed tweet making all it’s utterances moot.

    Huzzah for the Twitterati trolls !!

    What would we do without em ?

  15. I’m not saying there should be a test of competence for voters.

    Achen and Bartels are saying that most people pay little attention to politics (I agree) that when they vote they do so irrationally and for contradictory reasons (agree) and under these circumstances sooner or later you’ll end up with a grossly unfit leader.

    Can’t argue against that.

    Judges use a notional ‘reasonable person’ criterion to make judgements.

    I think a ‘reasonable person’ would judge Donald Trump unfit to be POTUS.

    I wondered whether you could enlighten us from your experience, because I have genuine doubts about George Christiansen’s fitness to be a politician, let alone play responsible roles in governance.

    How can we make democracy fit for purpose is the question.

  16. Years ago I heard an address Norman Mailer made to the Commonwealth Society in which he argued that humans automatically lean towards fascism. I lost the transcript in a hard drive crash and I’ve been unable to find it again on the intertubes, but I wonder if maybe we idealists who dream of a truly representative democracy are barking up the wrong tree.

  17. Norman Mailer aih? Thanks zoot, I can’t find the address either but here is an article he wrote in conjunction with the publishing of his last book. The article was written 17 years ago and projects in places into present times and finishes thus:

    “” My long experience with human nature – I’m 80 years old now – suggests that it is possible that fascism, not democracy, is the natural state.

    Indeed, democracy is the special condition – a condition we will be called upon to defend in the coming years. That will be enormously difficult because the combination of the corporation, the military and the complete investiture of the flag with mass spectator sports has set up a pre-fascist atmosphere in America already.“”

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/theres-one-way-to-protect-democracy-send-in-the-fascists-20030228-gdgce5.html

    And below is the man himself

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ7TwNMdcGg

  18. I have always been a bit uncertain re what “fascism” means. A quick google came up with a number including: “Robert Paxton, a professor emeritus of social science at Columbia University in New York who is widely considered the father of fascism studies, defined fascism as “a form of political practice distinctive to the 20th century that arouses popular enthusiasm by sophisticated propaganda techniques for an anti-liberal, anti-socialist, violently exclusionary, expansionist nationalist agenda.”
    Others wanted to define it in terms of what Mussolini and Hitler did or said.
    Me I think it is not a particularly useful label.

  19. John, I agree about ‘fascism’ as a term. I think there would be a better case for saying that humans are used to living in an authoritarian society. “Man needs a master”, and all that. (Don’t mention females.)

    I think there is a strong case for saying that we now live in larger and more complex political units than we were designed for. We evolved in tribal societies, which takes you back to see how they operate, or operated.

    To me co-operation looms large, but in a group of 30 or 40 adults there are always going to be in-groups which have more influence on norms and strategising for the whole group.

    Then you have to work your way back to the modern nation state, levels of government and how the whole thing is organised.

  20. Brian, I just provided the links for zoot and I agree with you both re what fascism represents. To me it is just like another political label of convenience, just like “left” or “right” and so forth. Sometimes they are useful more often not without agreed on appropriate definition. A speedy way to do that, is to go to those who wrote the manual eg. Benito Mussolini, ‘The Doctrine of Fascism’:

    “” Fascism is a religious conception in which man is seen in his immanent relationship with a superior law and with an objective Will that transcends the particular individual and raises him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. Whoever has seen in the religious politics of the Fascist regime nothing but mere opportunism has not understood that Fascism besides being a system of government is also, and above all, a system of thought.””

    Exihibit A – the bot.

  21. Now compare that with Karl Marx:

    “”The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.””

    He also said

    “”History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.””

  22. Brian: Power comes in many forms and different forms of power influence different people: For example:
    Power to punish
    Power to reward
    Position power (I am the big boss.)
    Associative power. (I have the support of the big boss or a majority of the team members)
    Personality power (People like me)
    Expert power (This is an area where people acknowledge I am the expert.)
    The above list can be related to maturity. The power to punish can be the most effective with immature people while expert power can be more effective when dealing with mature people. (The failure to listen to climate experts might be related to our leader’s immaturity?)
    There are also interesting things like insanity power (I think this crazy man will push the button if we are not careful.)
    All the above are perceived powers. (That old man may have a lot of power because people perceive that he is an expert (or that he knows how to point the bone at trouble makers.)
    There is also the question of how power is used and when different approaches are appropriate. For example:
    Autocratic – Boss decides
    Consulting autocratic – Boss decides after consulting
    Participating – Boss is part of the discussion – then team decides
    Delegating – Boss hands the decision over to an individual or the team.
    The country would grind to a halt if no autocratic decisions were made. However, too much use of autocratic power pisses people off and the government is described as “autocratic,” “ignorant” or whatever. I don’t think Morrison understands this.

  23. I just put that Brecht comment out because it was unusual and makes one think a bit. He’s mainly a playwright, a poet, and a theatre practitioner, and a Marxist.

    I’ve enjoyed the various perspectives. Norman Mailer seems to me novelist and an essayist rather than a serious analyst, also wanting to make us think.

    Marx is in another category. Wikipedia says he was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary who studied law and philosophy at university. He’s pretty much a category himself. Often interesting.

    We’ve been watching on SBS a series (produced by a German company, I think) Planet of Treasures with commentary by the Australian historian Sir Christopher Clark, long working in the UK where he wrote about the history of Prussia and the causes of WW1.

    He looks at all the wonderful and impressive world heritage things done by past civilisations. Really blows the mind. I recommend catching it on SBS On Demand if you have some hours spare.

    It shows what humans are capable of, but civilisations come and go, partly because circumstances which made them flourish, but partly because of the flawed way we construct our societies and relate to each other.

    I’m not doing that justice, but he clearly thinks our current blossoming will also fall apart.

    In the end he hops over to the Galapogas Islands and delivers his message. If humans are going to survive they can’t just go on doing what they have been doing, they will have to evolve.

    Said very pleasantly, with a smile. He could be right!

  24. The Norwegian MP makes a good case, zoot. I notice that a far right MP has nominated Trump for his role in normalising relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

    We’ll see what happens.

  25. Brian: “I notice that a far right MP has nominated Trump for his role in normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.” If this agreement holds it is the sort of thing that does attract serious attention as a reason for awarding a Nobel Peace Prize.
    Is there anything funny about the normalization?

  26. I’m concentrating on climate stuff mostly which might be of relevance to Labor finalising its climate policy. To a person, the pundits are accusing Labor of not having a detailed position, while ignoring the fact that Labor is going through a national platform renewal, with National Conference, delayed through COVID and now virtual, scheduled in March.

    To adopt a position just before the conference would make a mockery of democracy within the party.

    I’ll finish new post tonight. Grass is still leaping out of the ground, and this old geezer is in the middle of working 10 days straight.

    Today I’ll be helping an even older geezer, with his 92nd coming up next month.

  27. Brian: Your link said: ” The Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize annually “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.
    Trump might not be able to tick all the boxes.

  28. Scania, major truck manufacturer drops hydrogen trucks in favor of battery-electrics https://newatlas.com/automotive/scania-ditches-hydrogen/
    “Hydrogen is definitely happening. It’s a convenient (if inefficient) way to store, transport and export clean energy, it offers huge energy density advantages for zero-emissions aviation and shipping, and many folk are expecting it to find a compelling use case in long-distance trucking, where its quick refilling ability can keep big rigs on the road longer than battery trucks that need to plug in and charge for long periods.”
    “But Sweden’s Scania, the world’s tenth-largest trucking company, thinks otherwise. Having already launched both battery and fuel cell trucks, the company has announced it’s committing to batteries, citing hydrogen’s wastefully inefficient use of renewable energy, as well as additional system complexity, cost, safety and ongoing maintenance factors.”
    The argument against hydrogen may not apply to some of Australia’s long hauls even though hydrogen transport consumes about 3 times as much energy as batteries.

  29. John, that is interesting, because Twiggy Forrest is betting the house as it were on hydrogen. He reckons that long-term lithium will run out, whereas 75% of the universe is hydrogen.

  30. Imagine if we, little old Australia, invested $ 1,200,000,000/ year on bringing the worlds best scientists and engineers together like a Manhattan Project like effort to come up with a hydrogen answer to energy with no tax hike at all.
    I think the dividend to the Planet would be positive.

    All you have to do is divert ABC funding.

    Is it worth the trade off to you ?

  31. All you have to do is divert ABC funding.

    Which means losing the broadcast infrastructure which saved so many lives during the bush fires last year.
    On the other hand, every taxpayer could pay $8.90 a year extra and we’d get the best of both worlds.
    [My calculations are based on the 13.5 million income tax returns lodged in 2015/16, the most recent figure I could find quickly.]

  32. Oops, out by a factor of 10.
    Let’s make that $2 a week instead of $8.90 a year – let’s give the scientists and engineers a bit extra to play with.

    (Yes, I admit it. My maths skills are nearly as shite as Jumpy’s)

  33. I, for one, would like to see the workings of that result.

    If saying that all income tax payers only pay $2/week more gets $1.2 billion then I’m not convinced.

    Might be green math again.

  34. Jumpy: ” bringing the worlds best scientists and engineers together like a Manhattan Project like effort to come up with a hydrogen answer to energy.” The answers are already there. It doesn’t require new tech but this doesn’t mean you cant develop better processes.
    No need to sacrifice the ABC.

  35. Jumpy $2 x 52 weeks equals $104 pa per tax payer.

    13.5 million times $104 gives $1.404 billion. Cash to spare.

    In a budget of half a trillion it’s like a rounding error.

  36. Haha, because such a simplistic, economically illiterate calculations doesn’t work in reality.

    What the responses reveal it than the left refuse to compromise, to give one single inch, sacrifice not even one thing for their most important issue. It’s enough to demonise the non left and make them pay, presumably because every bad thing is their fault, especially this one.

    Well good luck with that approach working in real life too.

  37. Haha, because such a simplistic, economically illiterate calculations doesn’t work in reality.

    What, simplistic economically illiterate calculations like this?

    Imagine if we, little old Australia, invested $ 1,200,000,000/ year on bringing the worlds best scientists and engineers together like a Manhattan Project like effort to come up with a hydrogen answer to energy with no tax hike at all.
    I think the dividend to the Planet would be positive.
    All you have to do is divert ABC funding.

  38. BTW, if we’re referring to calculations shouldn’t they be economically “innumerate” rather than “illiterate”?

  39. How can I compete with such erudition? Oscar Wilde himself would be struck dumb in the face of such mellifluous perspicacity.

  40. Here a little straw poll for the non racist trolls on this blog.
    Two avenues that converge.

    1) Name the most and least multicultural Countries.
    2) Name the most and least racist Countries.

    Be brave.

    • Here a little straw poll for the non racist trolls on this blog.
      Two avenues that converge.

      1) Name the most and least multicultural Countries.
      2) Name the most and least racist Countries.

      Be brave.

    Jumpy, the comments threads are for serious discussion.

    You are asking people first of all to identify as trolls..

    Secondly, how can anyone have a serious apprehension of the state of multiculturalism or racism in 200 countries in the world?

    If anyone is stupid enough to engage, how is that supposed to promote our knowledge and understanding?

  41. Brian, twas little more than a conversation starter.

    Let me try again,

    A little known fact is that, as of the 1st January 2020, Queensland got a Charter Of Human Rights. Bloody brilliant in my opinion, well done Palacechook !!
    https://www.legalaid.qld.gov.au/Find-legal-information/Personal-rights-and-safety/Human-Rights-Act-2019
    And the list of 23 is,

    recognition and equality before the law
    right to life
    protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
    freedom from forced work
    freedom of movement
    freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief
    freedom of expression
    peaceful assembly and freedom of association
    taking part in public life
    property rights
    privacy and reputation
    protection of families and children
    cultural rights—generally
    cultural rights—Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples
    right to liberty and security of person
    humane treatment when deprived of liberty
    fair hearing
    rights in criminal proceedings
    children in the criminal process
    right not to be tried or punished more than once
    retrospective criminal laws
    right to education
    right to health services

    What do ya recon about any one of them and how many have been violated almost immediately by Government?

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