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.
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.
“Climate change is the existential threat to humanity,” the former vice president said. “Unchecked, it is going to actually bake this planet. This is not hyperbole. It’s real. And we have a moral obligation.”
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.
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:
what I am seeing – and you see it in the US as well – is that business and state governments are getting on with alternative energy sources, mainly renewables and storage,” said Mr Ferris, a veteran venture capitalist.
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%).
“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.”