All posts by Brian

Brian Bahnisch, a survivor from Larvatus Prodeo, founded Climate Plus as a congenial space to continue coverage of climate change and sundry other topics. As a grandfather of more than three score years and ten, Brian is concerned about the future of the planet, and still looking for the meaning of everything.

Weekly salon 4/7

1. Eden-Monaro by-election

The ABC election page has Eden-Monaro too close to call with Labor’s Kristy McBain leading the Liberal Fiona Kotvojs by 50.9 to 49.1 after preferences.

Paddy Manning at The Monthly set up the scene in Southern discomfort: Tomorrow’s result in Eden-Monaro is on a knife edge.

The base-line is that Eden-Monaro has long been a ‘bellweather’ seat, which means that it lines up with the existing government. However, Mike Kelly broke this trend in the last three elections, with a personal following reckoned at about 3%.

So Labor was justified in claiming underdog status, while the Libs point to governments not taking a seat off the opposition in by-elections over the last 100 years. Continue reading Weekly salon 4/7

China salon 30/6

Some of these items started in a draft Weekly salon. They got too big, so I’ve made a separate post, and installed Chairman Xi as a featured image.

Michael Pascoe: Dud diplomacy with China will cost plenty and deliver us nothing

    Nuanced, subtle, far-sighted, strategic, wise, prudent, considered, clever – all words associated with successful diplomacy, and all words I’ve never heard associated with Peter Dutton.

    Despite that, the Home Affairs Minister is free to weigh into Australia’s most important diplomatic relationship from time to time and does so with all the subtlety of a Bjelke-Petersen-era Queensland copper at a student demo.

    It might make Mr Dutton feel braver and more righteous than the next talking head. It doesn’t help Australia or anyone else.

    Mr Dutton’s Friday sprays on a morning infotainment show symbolise the disintegration of rational Australian foreign policy

Continue reading China salon 30/6

Rudd shunted 10 years ago: reflections and reappraisals

It was 24 June 2010. I was the dentist chair watching Kevin Rudd giving his tearful exit speech, played on the TV in the ceiling. Rudd recounted the achievements of his term. Quite a long list, it was.

Peter Brent tries to make sense of what happened after that in Regrets? We’ve had a few.

To leave aside for a moment whether shunting Rudd was a good idea, and how all that worked out, Brent thinks the reason for our quick turnover of PMs is the Senate and our propensity to elect third party senators.

Currently the Coalition needs three out of five from One Nation’s two, Centre Alliance’s two and Jacqui Lambie’s one.

A lot of the time One Nation lines up, after some histrionics, with the Coalition. Which then leaves it up to Jacqui Lambie. I find that just a bit terrifying. Continue reading Rudd shunted 10 years ago: reflections and reappraisals

COVID virus news 20/6

Sundry news about COVID 19.

World-wide, the 7-day average of new daily cases is now above 140,000 and rising, with a spike above 150,000. See WHO warns pandemic is ‘accelerating’ with record spike in new infections.

That article also reports that sampling of wastewater in the northern cities of Milan and Turin shows the virus was in Italy last December, at least two months before the country’s devastating outbreak. There is no concrete evidence that the outbreak came from those early infections, although one would hardly think it faded away. Perhaps the infected people were not identified as having a ‘novel’ virus. Continue reading COVID virus news 20/6

Covid 19: the importance of face masks

During the whole coronavirus period it has seemed to me that Australia has a world class expert on the topic behind every tree. One who stood out to me was Professor Raina MacIntyre, Head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute and NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, UNSW. She seemed to tell it like it is, had an appropriate sense of the precautionary principle, and was not on any panel advising politicians. It is well-known that experts advising politicians often end up tayloring their advice to what the pollies want to do.

In Australia the common advice from the authorities is for the plebs to restrict wearing masks to those who have the virus.

To cut to the chase, MacIntyre says she wears a mask whenever she steps outside her home, and wears one inside when anyone comes to visit. Continue reading Covid 19: the importance of face masks

Covid, tourism and the value of a human life

When Queensland behind interstate barriers opened to intrastate tourism, we see that tourism operators were ‘ecstatic’ about easing restrictions if you scroll down this article:

    Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive, Mark Olsen, said… the region lost more than $200 million worth of bookings in March, with the impact to the end of April estimated at $500 million in lost visitor spending and thousands of jobs lost.

    “Over the last 24 hours, the phones have been ringing off the hook with travellers from the south-east corner confirming their accommodation and looking forward to their journeys, ” Mr Olsen said.

It raises the question as to how much scope there is in the intra-state tourist market, and secondly whether business is suffering too much through trying to wipe out the coronavirus. Continue reading Covid, tourism and the value of a human life

Weekly salon 6/6

1. Please don’t go!

That was PM Scott Morrison’s advice to people wanting to attend the Black Lives Matter rallies being organised all around Australia.

Marcia Langton’s advice was “Go!” but with hand sanitiser, masks and observing 1.5 metres distancing.

Morrison was following medical advice from CMO Prof Brendan Murphy, who said the virus loves big gatherings, and it is possible for a single infected person to infect 30 or 40 or 50 other people at such an event. Murphy’s advice was taken up by the premiers of Victoria, NSW and Queensland. Continue reading Weekly salon 6/6

Weekly salon 31/5

1. Robodebt extortion racket finally conceded as “unlawful”

The word should be ‘criminal’. Scotty from Marketing has clever wordsmiths who have invented the euphemism “not sufficient under law”. Christian Porter was suggesting on Insiders today that the scheme was basically normal, just didn’t quite scrub up under the law. Nothing to see here.

There were a few little problems with the scheme.

  • The underlying mathematics were so bad that an average child completing compulsory education could have spotted the problem.
  • When the demand was made people were held as guilty unless they could prove innocence.
  • Unless people paid on demand, the debt was handed over to debt collectors.
  • Continue reading Weekly salon 31/5

Weekly salon 26/5

1. Three first nations people in Queensland parliament

Lance McCallum, newly elected Labor MP for Bundamba now joins Cynthia Lui, Labor Member for Cook and Leeanne Enoch, Member for Algester and Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts in the Queensland parliament:

Continue reading Weekly salon 26/5

We need to talk about China

Here the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on January 28 in Beijing, with appropriate distancing. Dr Tedros later commented that Xi had a surprising mastery of the detail of what was going on. Two days later the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. People have made up stories about this meeting and the sequence, but it seems to me an orderly progression of events, coming 10 days after China had alerted the world to a person to person highly infectious novel coronavirus, then sealing off and locking down Wuhan on 23 January. Continue reading We need to talk about China

Do we really want to save the Great Barrier Reef? Reprise

Bleached coral at Magnetic Island 2020

This post started as a Climate clippings which last appeared in August 30 last year. This post outgrew the CC format and ended up asking again Do we seriously want to save the great Barrier Reef?

Coral bleaching is becoming the new normal

From the New ScientistThe Great Barrier Reef has suffered its most widespread bleaching yet: