When Warren Truss was leader of the National Party from 2007 to February 2016, just about no-one in the general public knew who he was. That was one of the reasons why Barnaby Joyce succeeded him.
Now lots of people know a lot about Barnaby for a variety or reasons, and a saw enough of his successor Michael McCormack this week to realise he was simply not up to the job. The numbers that matter are the 21 members of the federal National Party room. More than half prefer Barnaby Joyce, warts and all. So we have Barnaby Joyce victorious in Nationals leadership challenge.
I have to say that his deputy, David Littleproud, looked absolutely miserable next to Barnaby on TV, although he says he was just cold. Word is that Matt Canavan moved the spill motion, and Littleproud’s support made the difference, in the interests of longer term stability.
If so, strange thinking. As Jennifer Hewitt says in the AFR today:
The public will now have a front row seat at Joyce’s more explosive brand of political fireworks. And he does bear grudges.
Continue reading Barnaby is back
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: Continue reading Weekly salon 24/1
Anger has flared leading to has been more than a little trashy talk about bushfires and climate change. I would tend to agree with Phillip Coorey when he says (in the print edition) We can do without these dumb, nasty arguments.
Apart from the United States, it is hard to think of any other educated country where this argument would be raging, let alone one as dumb and nasty as this one.
The rest of the world long ago accepted climate change was a reality and grapples with how to combat it.
Here, powerful people in media and politics with no qualifications or expertise whatsoever, continue to ridicule those women and men who have devoted their professional lives to science and fact with no ideological axe to grind.
David Rowe’s cartoon was priceless:
Continue reading Climate implications of the fire season
In the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) climate change is seen as an existential threat. ‘Existential’ in the sense that life for the Pacific islanders is embedded in community and place. Shifting to higher ground somewhere else is not a solution. (See Geoff Henderson’s excellent guest post Climate refugees in the Central Pacific -the Republic of Kiribati)
To put the best construction on what happened, Pacific leaders and Australia agreed to disagree about action on climate change.
PIF chair, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, said to Australian PM Scott Morrison:
“You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu.”
Continue reading Australia’s climate credibility shredded in Pacific ‘step up’ disaster
Time to declare a climate emergency is now. Arguably we should have done so when James Hansen addressed the US senate in 1988. Twenty years later he was judged to have got it right.
This post started as life a new Climate clippings, so it follows that format. It looks at scientific reticence in relation to mainstream climate science, how the real urgency of the climate situation is moving to the centre from the periphery in climate science, and where we find ourselves now especially in relation to emissions, temperature and sea level rise. Continue reading Climate emergency – an existential risk requiring action
After a summer of record heat and wildfires, the Australian people along with business and industry are looking for concrete, responsible climate policies.
Business and consumer groups have accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of “nakedly political pork barrelling” and “an egregious lack of process” over $3.5 billion in energy announcements.
Continue reading Cheap accounting tricks and sovereign risk: the Morrison government’s climate policy
A myth has been vigorously stoked by Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg that an irrational frolic with renewables has made the electricity grid unreliable, as demonstrated conclusively by the state blackout in South Australia in 2016. This is now being taken into actual policy by Angus Taylor and Scott Morrison with “big stick” penalties and government intervention to produce “fair dinkum 24/7” power.
This myth has now been thoroughly debunked by a Grattan Institute report Keep calm and carry on: Managing electricity reliability. Blaming renewables for reliability issues is “wrong and dangerous”. Continue reading Blackouts are not increasing, keep calm and carry on!
When I logged on Tuesday there was an alert from John Davidson of a lead article at RenewEconomy Coalition energy plan “unworkable”, as Taylor charges into coal. It sent shivers up my spine.
There is PM Scott Morrison, shallow, ignorant and complacent, when first asked about climate change he admitted he’d never really thought about it.
There is Angus Taylor, bull-headed, supremely confident, and just plain wrong.
While Taylor’s “big stick” Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Bill 2018 is the subject of Senate Standing Committee on Economics hearings (see submissions here) he is pressing on with establishing tenders for “24/7” reliable power in what appears to be a mad rush to lock in contracts before the expected “caretaker” period begins in mid April, ahead of the anticipated mid-May poll. Continue reading Angus Taylor is trying to steal the electricity system
That was the headline in the dead tree version of the AFR. Bill Ferris is the outgoing Science and Innovation Australia chair. He says he didn’t find the Coalition government’s rewriting of the ACCC report to support coal-fired power a helpful signal, but:
I believe that by the middle of next decade people denying significant human agency in causing climate change will constitute a crank fringe and will basically be ignored.
The Climate of the Nation 2018 report, now produced by The Australia Institute (pdf here), found that more Australians accept the reality of climate change than at almost any time since Climate of the Nation began in 2007.
Three quarters (76%, up from 71% 2017) of Australians accept that climate change is occurring, 11% do not think that climate change is occurring and 13% are unsure.
Acceptance of climate change closely follows voting intentions, but interestingly while One Nation (22%) and Nationals (15%) voters are the most likely to say they do not think that climate change is occurring, this declined significantly for both groups since 2017.
The effects of heat are the driving concern about the impact of climate change, and people were most concerned about more droughts and flooding affecting crop production and food supply (78%), destruction of the Great Barrier Reef (77%) and more bushfires (76%).
Continue reading Climate of the Nation 2018
“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.”
That comment came from the end of Katherine Murphy’s remarkable article Turnbull shows no mercy as warring Liberals tear out the party’s heart and soul. Continue reading A fight for the soul of the Liberal Party