1. How did Malcolm Fraser lose his trousers?
With all the terrible stuff going on in the world, I thought I’d try to investigate an important part of our history.
How did Malcolm Fraser lose his trousers in a seedy hotel in Memphis on 14 October 1986?
Wikipedia tells us:
On 14 October 1986, Fraser, then the Chairman of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, was found in the foyer of the Admiral Benbow Inn, a seedy Memphis hotel, wearing only a pair of underpants and confused as to where his trousers were. The hotel was an establishment popular with prostitutes and drug dealers. Though it was rumoured at the time that the former Prime Minister had been with a prostitute, his wife stated that Fraser had no recollection of the events and that she believes it more likely that he was the victim of a practical joke by his fellow delegates.
The Daily Telegraph tells the story more vividly: Continue reading Weekly salon 17/10
Now to work!
You can follow the WA senate election results at the AEC tally room or I think preferably at the ABC. There is seat by seat counting at Antony Green’s Election Blog.
Poll Bludger is here.
At time of writing (just after midnight EST) it seems that about 25% of the vote has been counted. It’s looking like two seats for the Liberals, one for Labor, one for the Greens, one for the Palmer United Party and the final seat a tussle between Liberal and Labor, with Liberals the more likely.
I’m not sure exactly what this means for the final balance of power in the Senate, but I think it means that Abbott will have a choice of coming to terms with Labor and the Greens, or assembling a combination of “others” which must include PUP. If anyone knows, please share.
It looks as though Scott Ludlam will be elected comfortably, which is good to see.
Update: This morning Antony Green has Labor slightly ahead for the last seat with just over half the vote counted.
For Senate composition go here.
So for the LNP it’s a choice between needing 6/8 extras or 7/8. See also my comment here.
My attention was drawn to a series of articles under the heading The Meltdown by Peter Hartcher by Mark and then this post by John Quiggin. I thought them well worth a read, but found the links from Quiggin’s post less than straightforward to access. My purpose here is to facilitate such access rather than put a point of view. So here goes:
Actually if you click on the last on you get the links to the previous four.
This comes towards the end of Part 5:
Before the 2010 coup against Rudd, Anthony Albanese had presciently warned colleagues: “If you do this, you will destroy two Labor prime ministers.”
Penny Wong adds this postscript: “They were two extraordinary politicians. The great sadness of this time was that they were both in the same generation with the same ambition. Together they should have been invincible.”
Together they were essentially invincible, but Hartcher details quite convincingly how things fell apart after Rudd came back from the schmozzle of the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks, apparently a changed man. A strategy meeting was held and it was agreed that they would press forward with the CPRS and take it to a double dissolution election ASAP after Australia Day. Instead Rudd went off and wrote a children’s book and came back in a mood of paralysis and avoidance, which persisted. Continue reading Hartcher on Rudd and Gillard
Last week on the 7.30 Report we were treated to a debate between Mark Butler, the climate change minister and his Opposition counterpart, Greg Hunt, that just did not work. Leigh Sales tried a hard-edged questioning style, but unfortunately did not come close to being familiar with the topic. So large parts of the LNP agenda were unaddressed, such as their dismantling of the institutional framework of the the Climate Commission, the Climate Change Authority, the incorporation of the Climate Department into the broader environment department and the dismantling of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
One issue canvassed was the sequestration of carbon in soil, which comprises a large part of the LNP’s mitigation strategy.
Mark Butler said the cost of such abatement was higher than previously thought, the potential for sequestration less and given the problems and uncertainties there “may be some opportunity to abate carbon pollution through soil carbon initiatives in the future, but it is grossly irresponsible to make it the centrepiece of a nationwide carbon pollution policy.”
Hunt dismissed those concerns, quoting the CSIRO but when he was pressed on whether he was talking about just soil carbon he said he meant the full range of green carbon initiatives – mallee and mulga revegetation, reforestation, avoided deforestation, soil carbon.
A recent article in Nature (paywalled) came to the conclusion that:
considering carbon storage on land as a means to ‘offset’ CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels (an idea with wide currency) is scientifically flawed. The capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to store carbon is finite and the current sequestration potential primarily reflects depletion due to past land use. Avoiding emissions from land carbon stocks and refilling depleted stocks reduces atmospheric CO2 concentration, but the maximum amount of this reduction is equivalent to only a small fraction of potential fossil fuel emissions.
Continue reading Soil carbon and direct (in)action
Yesterday The Climate Institute released a policy brief Coalition Climate Policy and the National Climate Interest which not to mince words is a complete crock, will increase emissions and ruin our reputation on climate matters in the world. The report, based on modelling by Sinclair Knight Merz-MMA and Monash University’s Centre of Policy Studies, was then declared by Greg Hunt to be “one of the silliest reports” he has ever seen prepared by “a clear partisan political organisation” which backs the ALP.
Giles Parkinson’s article The black hole in Tony Abbott’s frat party climate policy gives a comprehensive account and I commend it to readers.
Abbott in response to Rudd’s bringing forward of the ETS gave his memorable opinion on such trading schemes:
“It’s a so-called market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no-one.”
Sara Phillips finds this curious since
the financial markets do a lot of trading in non-deliveries of invisible substances to no one. Water-front mansions in Abbott’s electorate of Warringah have been built on the profits of those trades.
Continue reading Direct action examined and found wanting
I’m not planning to do posts on the upcoming election apart from link posts if I see anything interesting and/or important. The post on the Murdoch’s intervention started out as a link post, but then I warmed to the task. While this space is open I’d like to explore a theme that came from a comment in reaction to the LNP ‘solution’ to the asylum seeker ‘problem’. I can’t find it now, but someone asked, “What have we become?”
Moreover, what will we become? We have a choice, and in our response to the stranger in need who has chosen us, we either grow or diminish ourselves.
The task is ambitious and I’m not academically equipped for it. I’m not speaking as a philosopher or a sociologist, just “someone who is trying to sort out his ideas”, so the results may be modest. Some of the posts may not appear to be directly on the topic, but I hope all will fit together in the long run.
Meanwhile I’ll try to keep some information flowing on climate change. Both these projects may be of more use than any contribution I can make to an election here in Oz. This time CC will be free flow rather than numbered items, to save time. I’ll use bold to identify the topics.
Arctic ice is losing its reflective sheen. We all know that ice reflects more incoming radiation from the sun than does open water. Now by analysing 30 years of satellite data scientists have found that albedo of the ice itself at the end of the summer is about 15% weaker today than it was 30 years ago.
The cause of the darkening is
partly due to thinning ice and the formation of open water fissures, and partly because in the warmer air, ponds of liquid water form on the surface of the ice. The shallow ponds on the ice can dramatically reduce reflectivity and increase the amount of solar radiation that the ice absorbs.
Continue reading Climate clippings 82
No-one should doubt the political potency of the climate change issue. Malcolm Turnbull’s demise came as a direct result of the bi-partisan agreement on an ETS negotiated between Ian Macfarlane and Penny Wong in 2009. In a three-way contest Joe Hockey was expected to win in a landslide, but he was eliminated in the first round of voting.
So what went wrong for Joe?
Yesterday, Mr Hockey was demanding a free vote to decide Coalition policy on climate change early next year, if he were to agree to take on the leadership.
That angered right-wing Liberal powerbrokers and prompted Mr Abbott to stay in the race for the top job.
It’s worth noting, as I did in the post Political thuggery and climate change that it was Abbott and Nick Minchin who told Turnbull he could only keep his job if he changed his stance on the CPRS. Also that Andrew Robb’s actions were described by Hockey as “the worst act of political treachery I have seen in twenty years of politics” and by Turnbull as “an act of almost inconceivable treachery and dishonesty”.
Rudd’s dumping of the CPRS in April 2010 was followed by a sharp fall in Rudd’s approval rating and party voting intentions. As I pointed out in Rudd, Gillard, the CPRS and public opinion the notion that Rudd was talked out of doing something about climate change by Gillard and Swan does not hold up. Rudd was dithering and unapproachable on the issue. When he called a meeting to discuss the issue his view was to leave an ETS until broad international agreement was achieved. Gillard wanted to wait for a return of bipartisanship with the LNP. Rudd decided to do it his way.
Climate change was nominated by Gillard as one of three policy areas where the Government had lost its way. Continue reading What should Kevin Rudd do about climate change policy before the election?
Last week when the European Parliament voted down a proposal to prop up the EU Emissions Trading System’s languishing carbon price by postponing the sale of 900 million emission allowances until the back-end of this decade the price fell to below AU$4. There are obvious concerns about the legislated linking of the Australian carbon price to the EU scheme in mid-2015. Treasury had forecast an EU price of at least $29 in 2015.
Radio National’s PM program had a roundup of political commentary. Julia Gillard on the 7.30 Report was very clear. The legislation was there, it was hard enough to get through the parliament in the first place and we’d have to work with it.
Big business, quick off the mark, was suggesting that link with the EU should occur earlier, so they could buy permits while they were cheap.
Ross Garnaut said, don’t panic, the ETS is only one measure and targets may tighten by impacting on the price: Continue reading European ETS