Category Archives: idiot politicians

Ignorance is crippling Australia

and its wilful ignorance at that

Ignorance is crippling Australia.

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Australia will pay dearly for repealing its carbon tax – environment – 18 July 2014 – New Scientist

We all know it and are struggling to understand the absolute blind lunacy of this backward, elitist, tea party government.  Abbott is basically repaying the debt he owes to the billionaires that bought him. There is nothing like setting up your own economic future at the expense of every future generation. I can only hope now that future historians will discuss Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey and Greg Hunt truthfully and honestly ensuring that their descendents are shamed beyond belief.

 

Australia will pay dearly for repealing its carbon tax – environment – 18 July 2014 – New Scientist.

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supercritical steam production makes solar thermal as reliable as fossil fuels

A test solar thermal plant in Australia has broken records for steam production making it a serious rival for fossil fuels. However, with the most scientifically illiterate, backward, fossil fuel funded, conservative government in our history, the technology will struggle to take off. The Abbott government is dismantling all incentive schemes for renewable energy technologies as well as the renewable energy target. Read about it here.

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Euro ambassadors ‘shocked’ by Australia’s anti-climate stance

How much more internationally embarrassing can our loony right wingnut government be? Backwards thinking and arrogantly and ignorantly proud of it.

Euro ambassadors ‘shocked’ by Australia’s anti-climate stance.

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climate, coal, conservatives and corruption.

What do the four things in the title have in common? Another C word…..Campbell Newman. Let me explain in 5 steps….

1. A coal company (X) wants to do something dodgy that will damage the environment (surprise surprise)

2. Coal company X donates a large amount of money to the the conservatives (surprise surprise)

3. Conservatives employ coal company X person to assist in developing environmental policies

4. Coal company X person still paid by coal company X while working for conservatives.

5. Coal comapany X granted permission by conservatives to damage environment and bypass environmental legislation requirements.

Corruption: n Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery (Oxford, 2014)

from the Sydney Morning Herald

A mining company’s corporate affairs chief has been in charge of developing environmental policy for Queensland’s Liberal National Party government since 2012, the ABC reports.

James Mackay also worked full-time for the LNP during the 2012 election, while he was being paid $10,000 a month by the company, QCoal, the broadcaster says.

QCoal is embroiled in controversy over plans to divert Coral Creek in north Queensland to mine the coal underneath.

QCoal’s owner, billionaire Chris Wallin, is one of the LNP’s biggest donors, according to the ABC.

and…

The diversion was approved by the State Government without requiring a new or amended environmental impact assessment, despite being classed as an assessment that carried “risk of serious harm”, the ABC says.

It says Mr Mackay has chaired the LNP’s state environment and heritage protection committee, which develops policy for discussion at the party’s annual conference, since joining the committee in 2012.

QCoal boss Mr Wallin gave $120,000 to the party in two donations just before the 2012 poll, the ABC says. One of those donations was for the “loan” of Mr Mackay to the LNP between January and March 2012.

A funding disclosure to the Australian Electoral Commission shows QCoal described the $30,750 donation to the LNP on March 23, 2012, as “an administrative staff member donated in kind”.

and…

The diary for Energy and Water Minister Mark McArdle shows he met Mr Mackay on March 22 last year “to discuss QCoal”. The diary provided no other details.

and…

QCoal won a water licence from the government to divert Coral Creek to extend the life of its Sonoma mine by six to eight months.

Now, I like to consider  myself a smart guy. I mean, I’m a scientist with a publishing record. I’ve lectured at university. I’m pretty good at scrabble and I kick arse in Cluedo. Does this look really really really dodgy? It does to me. What do you think this is?

 

Male_mallard_duck_2

I’ll give you a hint. It looks, walks, smells and quacks like a duck. It’s a duck. So if the story above highlights something that looks, smells and sounds like corruption? It is corruption and it is way past time Queensland had its own Independent Commission Against Corruption so that dodgy dealings like those between Campbell Newman’s government and QCoal can be investigated and brought to the voting public’s attention. I suspect it would find a whole lot more than an overrated bottle of Grange.

 

For the full SMH story go here

 

 

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Palmer’s revolt leaves Abbott with no climate policy

by James Wight at Precarious Climate

Australian coal mining billionaire politician Clive Palmer announced on Tuesday that his party’s Senators will vote against the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), the Abbott government’s proposed replacement for the carbon price it wants to repeal. Palmer wants the promised ERF funding to be redirected to pensions, and says he is even prepared to block budget bills if necessary.

Undeterred, the Government has pressed on, releasing the ERF White Paper on the eve of Anzac Day (in the tradition of the Green Paper released on the last day before Xmas). But with Palmer offside, ERF legislation will struggle to find any support from non-government Senators.

Labor and the Greens oppose the ERF as too weak. The Motoring Enthusiasts will vote with Palmer United. The Liberal Democrats, Family First, and Democratic Labor are unlikely to support any climate policy because they don’t believe the problem is real. And independent Nick Xenophon won’t support the ERF unamended. That makes up to 43 votes against the ERF, and only 38 votes are needed to block legislation. So it is very unlikely that Abbott will be unable to pass the legislation. This leaves Abbott with almost no climate policy (except the soon-to-be-neutered Renewable Energy Target, and some other bits and pieces that won’t achieve much).

Whether or not Abbott is able to implement the ERF probably won’t make much difference to emissions, because the ERF is a laughable scheme which will pay polluters to (in theory) voluntarily act to avoid emitting CO2 they otherwise would have emitted. I’ve written previously about 21 reasons why Abbott’s policy won’t work, including some issues which have received little attention – and almost all of what I said then remains essentially accurate.

Another thing which will make no difference is the “safeguard mechanism”, the penalty for polluters who exceed their baseline emissions levels under the ERF. Too many people are withholding judgment until the details are announced, when in fact we already know all we need to know. All ERF policy documents have made clear that both the fund itself and the supposed safeguard will allow emissions to increase wherever production increases (even if historical absolute baselines are used they will not apply to new companies or significant business expansion). In other words, the ERF is designed to cut emissions intensity (emissions per economic output), not absolute emissions. This is pointless as emissions intensity will fall automatically even if emissions rise; the problem is that those efficiency gains are being cancelled out by the exponential growth of the fossil fuel economy. The Government is budgeting zero revenue from the safeguard mechanism because they know it will never come into play.

What’s new in the White Paper?

  • The policy objective, which used to be to meet Australia’s inadequate emissions target of 5% below 2000 by 2020, is now merely “to reduce emissions at lowest cost over the period to 2020, and make a contribution towards Australia’s 2020 emissions reduction target”.
  • The White Paper contains endless impenetrable text about how the Government will design emissions-reduction-verifying “methods” (through consultation with polluters), but there is still no reason to think these methods will have any validity. We do learn that methods will be reviewed by an “independent expert committee” called the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee, which would be reassuring if the Abbott government didn’t have a history of appointing ideological allies to such panels.
  • ERF funding is still capped for the first four years, and it sounds like beyond that funding will be decided in each budget. Again this is hardly reassuring, as every climate program’s funding seems to diminish over time.
  • Polluters who fail to deliver emissions cuts contracted by the government must “make good” by purchasing offsets from other domestic companies. I cannot find any mention of earlier proposals to allow international offsets, though business groups continue to lobby for this.
  • The 2015 review of the ERF will focus merely on operational elements.

A few journalists have made some half-hearted attempts to get more information out of Environment Minister Greg Hunt, but whenever he is asked a question about the ERF he just starts rabbiting on about how bad the carbon price was. Meanwhile, we’re hearing more and more from government members and advisors that climate change isn’t real after all. In the last fortnight, Attorney-General George Brandis, government backbencher George Christensen, and Abbott’s business advisor Maurice Newman have all challenged the science of climate change.

Perhaps they’re ramping up their attacks on science because they realize the ERF is losing credibility. Because there is one way in which it does matter whether the ERF goes ahead. If it proceeds, Abbott will be able to use it to support the talking point that his government has a policy on climate change, reassuring voters who are concerned about climate change but nervous about the alleged costs of a carbon price. But if the ERF founders, and Abbott succeeds in his overall agenda of climate deregulation, then he will have no significant policy to greenwash his government. And as the hot summers keep coming, there’ll be nothing to stop those concerned voters from becoming alarmed.

Read the original and check out all the other excellent articles at Precarious Climate here.

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UN climate change report card: Scientists predict Australia will continue to get hotter | ABC Radio Australia

and yet our dopey politicians are prepared to let Australia burn along with the rest of the world because taking action on climate will burn holes in the very very very large pockets of the business people who pay for their electioneering.

UN climate change report card: Scientists predict Australia will continue to get hotter | ABC Radio Australia.

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March in March – never seen anything like it.

March in March 2014. Alice Street in Brisbane. I have 2/3 of my fellow  marchers behind me.

March in March 2014. Alice Street in Brisbane. I have 2/3 of my fellow marchers behind me.

Grandmothers, grandfathers, mum, dads, uni students, workers, high school students, kids in strollers. Italians, Greeks, English, Kiwis, Malaysian, Japanese, Indigenous, Dutch…all Australians of course. Straight, gay, bisexual, transgender. Taxi drivers, labourers, doctors, scientists, child care workers, teachers, a dentist. These were some of the people whom I chatted to on Sunday March 16, 2014 at the inaugural March in March in Brisbane. All were pissed off.

For those Australians living under a rock, or only relying on main stream media for news (same thing), the March in March was a protest rally organised as part of a grass-roots campaign to send a message to the new Australian government that the policies they have introduced and plan to introduce are…. well……crap. It took place in every capital city and numerous regional cities over 3 days.

So, how many people turned up and what were they protesting about? The second question is easy. The answer is “everything”. Tony Abbott has, through ideological blindness and contempt of the Australian people, managed to make himself the least popular Prime Minister on record. In only his first 6 months or so, he has broken numerous important promises and has implemented a number of others that suit the rich at the expense of the poor but were not mentioned prior to the election. He has engaged in cronyism of the highest order appointing toadies and bootlickers to positions in the bureaucracy that they are not qualified for, presumably on the proviso that they toe the line and piss off as many people off as possible. Judging from what I saw and heard, people were protesting issues such as treatment of asylum seekers, environmental destruction, climate change denial, stripping of services, dishonesty and lying, secrecy and the obvious hypocrisy where the budget is concerned. They were protesting because they feel disenfranchised, taken for granted and from many I spoke to, they are sick of being treated like they are idiots. I subscribe to all of the above.

Intelligent Australians know when they are being lied to, and they are starting to  realise that this government has set out on a course of social re-engineering in an ideologically driven campaign to favour big business at the expense of everyone else, an ideologically driven desire to initiate a class war where the disabled, elderly and unemployed are treated like second class citizens and where those people who don’t fit into Tony Abbott’s 16th century catholic ideals get to be vilified and discriminated against. This is what we’re angry about.

More than 100000 people marched over the weekend and the vast majority have never protested before. A number of the socially conservative media types have denounced the march as disorganised with no clear message. I find this highly amusing and narrow-minded. The fact that so many people were protesting about so many issues and decisions made by this government should send a shiver up the spine of every conservative politician. In essence, we 100000+ people aren’t saying there is one or two things wrong with the government, we are saying EVERYTHING is wrong with the government. This was never going to be a single issue protest as was seen in the anti-Vietnam protests of the seventies or the union heavy industrial relations protests of the last decade. This march was a motion of no confidence in the government on EVERYTHING.

Now, I have often remarked on Twitter that I cannot find anyone in my large circle of acquaintances willing to admit that they voted for the LNP. I have a fair idea which ones did, but they won’t admit it. On Sunday, I spoke briefly to an older lady who called me over to compliment me on my sign. She told me that the most important part of my sign was the top part. “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”. She went on to inform me that she had voted conservatively all her life and had done so in the 2013 election that brought Tony Abbott to power. She said, “Never again will I vote for this lot. They have pulled a swift one with the electorate and are going too far with their agenda. Abbott has become the Sarah Palin of Australian politics. She was crazy.” in your guts

I realise that this was just one person of many and she may well be an anomaly, but what if she isn’t? How many people who voted for the LNP last election were sitting at home on the weekend but feeling equally betrayed, just not enough to get out and protest? I can only wonder and hope there are plenty. So, Tony Abbott can publicly make jokes about the March in March, but you can bet he’s well and truly aware and privately concerned. If he isn’t, he is more arrogant or stupid (or both) than I thought.

So, where to from here? I am already thinking about next year’s March in March and how to do my bit to attract even more people to attend. It will probably take 250000 people attending to get the main stream media to report it.

My sign

My sign

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A few odds and ends.

Cleaning up my computer (I’m hopeless at storing files in an orderly fashion) I’ve decided to stick a few posters I’ve created in a post here to share before deleting them. I’m certainlyno graphic artist having only Paint and Powerpoint to make them. Naturally they are political and I’mquite pleased with them but I do need to make space….

wordsmatter too expensive Morrison says MARCH malcolms median Lip Service 101 hansen FionaNashLiar dr karl dodgy reporting republic troll ultimate conservationists batman brandis bookcase ludlum notinmyname on the nose

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When religion and ecology meet…

I bang my head on the desk. Here is an excerpt from a speech given by Tony Abbott in Canberra last night…

“Man and the environment are meant for each other. The last thing we do – the last thing we should want – if we want to genuinely improve our environment is to want to ban men and women from enjoying it, is to ban men and women from making the most of it and that’s what you do. You intelligently make the most of the good things that God has given us.”

Allow me to translate…

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

I think the key here is the final sentence, “You intelligently make the most of the good things that God has given us.” The problem is, Tony Abbott is not an intelligent man. Relying on the Bible to inform you about decisions that should be soundly informed by science is not intelligent. Presumably, if Tony Abbott was intelligent, he would recognise the contradiction between what he says and what he does and he would certainly understand the inference in the first sentence of this excerpt. He basically states that man and the environment depend on each other for survival and he absolutely correct…but not in the way that he probably thinks.

While we exist, we do indeed need the environment for our survival, and while we exist, the environment needs us for its survival in that it needs us to look after it and not over-exploit it for resources or damage it. I am 100% confident that if humans disappeared tomorrow, the environment and every living thing in it would breathe a collective sigh of relief and just get on with living and under a lot less pressure. What Tony Abbott doesn’t seem to understand is that it we are more than capable of damaging the environment to the point that it can no longer sustain human life on it. As most of my readers are intelligent, there is no need for me to go beyond referring to the end-Permian extinction that resulted in no land animal bigger than about 10kg surviving and 90% of living things disappearing. Tony Abbott doesn’t get it. It is beyond his abilities and highlights the lies in his speech.

More and more I am convinced that Tony Abbott is cut from exactly the same cloth as a large number of the loony far right Republicans in the USA, the hypocritical Bible literalists, who use their faith to justify pretty much any decisions they make no matter how wrong or stupid.

So, what does Tony Abbott view as intelligently making “the most of the good things that God has given us”? In the case of Tasmanian forests where he wants to liberate the trees, it is less of this…

and more of this…

Less of these…

and more of these…

To read all of Tony Abbott’s speech, put on your headgear, keep a bucket handy and go here.

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