Tag Archives: Nats

The National Party’s Disconnect

In undertaking a little bit of research into the position each sitting member of our federal parliament has on climate change, I quickly came to the conclusion that the National Party (Nats) couldn’t care less or completely reject the science. For example, here is a graph of the sitting coalition members showing how many accept the science of climate change and how many don’t.

Position on the science of climate change by Coalition Members of the House of Representatives by political party affiliation n=59

Position on the science of climate change by Coalition Members of the House of Representatives by political party affiliation n=59

As you can see, most of the National Party members don’t accept the science. I have recently taken to highlighting some of the individuals from the coalition who reject the science. These have included the National Party members Mark Coulton and John Forrest.  I also highlighted individual statements like this one from National Party member, Darren Chester.

“We are after all only talking about models and forecasts. Just as an aside, when the weather bureau cannot reliably tell me what the weather is going to be like tomorrow and then tells me that in 100 years there are going to be sea level rises of a metre as a result of climate change, I think I am entitled to exercise a level of caution in deciding whether to accept everything that is put to me about weather, climate and long-term trends.” Darren Chester

Here is where the disconnect comes in. With 8 out of the 12 lower house members (Senate info coming soon) outrightly rejecting the science, 3 accepting and 1 unknown (Paul Neville is listed as retiring in my election 2013 post but appears to accept climate change science), it makes me wonder if any of them have actually read up on what the Nats allegedly stand for? It might be fairer to ask if the people who preselected them actually know what the Nat’s allegedly stand for? I decided to go to the party’s website and see exactly what they are about. Here are some key statements about climate change from their policy platform document and more generally from their website.

urgent priority effective programs Nats stand for nats priorities nats mission

If they are so concerned about the environment, sustainability, food security, land and water management, and recognise climate change as an “urgent environmental priority” why is the party full of deniers? What’s going on? They might be all about respecting differences of opinion and lauding our proud democratic traditions, but these are policy statements and core party values aren’t they? Perhaps whoever writes their stuff is engaging in some feel good greenwashing? Perhaps the party has been hijacked by extremists? Anything is possible, but I suspect, they use words and terms without a complete understanding of what those words, and more importantly the implications of those words, truly mean. What is a “sustainable environment” to a National Party member? The World Commission on Environment and Development defines environmental sustainability thus…

Sustainability is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

If ever you were going to talk about something happening now that will compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, it is climate change. All the best science available points to a fairly difficult future should nothing be done to combat it. The National Party’s website and policy words do not match its actions or the words and actions of most of its parliamentarians. The saddest part is that the farmers, whom the Nats claim to represent, are those who will be amongst the first to suffer. They are at the frontline. It’s about time they woke up and realised that the people they keep electing are not, either through ignorance or ideology, representing their best interests or the interests of future generations.

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Our idiotic politicians – John Forrest

As this is an election year here in Australia, I believe the time has come to start highlighting a few of our politicians…. the really stupid ones. These are the politicians that leave me scratching my head wondering who the hell voted for them and what the hell they were thinking when they did? Hopefully within the next four weeks or so I will posting the full list of incumbent federal members and their stance on human-induced climate change and global warming. For each I will quote statements (some of them are fantastically stupid) they have made that support my assertion that they are either climate science acceptors or idiots. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry, some will make you want to throw your computer out the window in a fit of rage, and I can guarantee there will be more than a few facepalm moments. So without further ado let me introduce our first idiot, John Forrest.

john forrest

Johnno is a long time member of the conservative National Party. “The Nats” as they are affectionately called by many Australians can be considered to be the party for the farmers. Johnno’s Akubra hat is a definite clue. When you see a hat like that on a pollie, you just know he’s from the bush. A bit about his electorate, Mallee. This comes from Johnno’s website

First proclaimed in 1948/49 the Mallee Electorate is 70,694 square kilometres. It is the largest geographical electorate in Victoria with only 11 larger electorates Nation wide.
The region is noted for a variety of industries including tourism, services, manufacturing, dried fruit, citrus, stone fruit, almonds, olives, pistachio and other nuts, bee-keeping and pollination, wheat and other cereals, wool, sheep, vegetables, forestry, wine grapes, table grapes, dairying, beef cattle, meat works and sand mining.
To give an idea of the size of Mallee, the total area of England, Scotland and Wales is 219,000 square kilometres, or equivalent to just 2.8 Mallee electorates.
England at 130,395 sq kms  is 1.67 times the size of Mallee; Scotland 78,772 sq kms is about the same size, and Mallee is 3.75 times bigger than Wales.
The electorate stretches from the South Australian border in the west to Campaspe in the east, from Sunraysia and the Murray River in the North, and the Wimmera, Grampians and Western District in the south.

In other words, it s a big electorate in the bush. Now, don’t let Johnno’s laid back country looks and hat fool you. He is a bona fide scientist, fully equipped to make informed decisions about climate science. I kid you not. He says so himself.

“There are several positions about climate change. One is that the climate of this fragile planet has always been changing, and there is plenty of evidence of that. In some instances this climate change has been quite dramatic, even cataclysmic. The second position is that the current phase of change is caused by human activity and therefore we can have an impact on it if we change our ways, particularly our prolific consumption of energy. I believe that a realistic position is somewhere between these two propositions. Then there is debate in the scientific community about what is causing these changes. This is where the debate gets much more controversial. Every day my office is bombarded with positions from both points of view about carbon…  Thankfully, I have a masters degree in science…”

Well there you go. A masters in science. Hang on……what kind of science? Well, according to his website he has a Master of Science and his undergrad degree is a Bachelor of Engineering. Apparently he also has a Diploma of Civil Engineering, and published some “professional papers”. What is it with deniers and their failure to recognise expertise (or lack thereof)? So Johnno, the country pollie with the engineering degree, considers himself suitably qualified to dissect climate science. Hang on, I’ll be right back. The plumber has just arrived to rewire my house!  Well, maybe we should have a look at just how scientific Johnno is. I stumbled onto the following hilarious exchange between Johnno and someone called Peter, at the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc forum. Peter had emailed all of our Liberal and National Party politicians asking them to consider climate change, and in his words “the reversal of hundreds of millions of years of carbon sequestration carried out by the decay of plant life and our reversal of this process which can not continue.” he received the following reply from Johnno.

Dear Peter

Do you know what the specific gravity of CO2 is?
Look it up in an old school physics book.
It’s heavier than air.
Get some dry ice which is actually frozen CO2.
Tell me what the vapour does when it thaws.
It drops to the floor.
If this is the case, can you tell me how it gets up several kms to become a greenhouse gas?
We have been duped.
Thankfully, more and more Australians are waking up to it.
Climate change is real but we are being led up the garden path as to the causes.
I will remain resolutely opposed to this Bill which crucifies our economy for no global gain.
Malcolm forgot his basic grade 6 primary school physics and should never have taken us to these embarrassing circumstances.
I’m with the Nationals and will have no say in what happens from here in respect to leadership for the Libs. I am praying for the greatest of wisdom to fall on my Liberal friends including Malcolm.
I hope they read your Email

John Forrest MP
BE(Civil), MSc, FIEAust, MASCE
Federal Member for Mallee
John Forrest, MP
Federal Member for Mallee

How fantastic is that? Rather than pull this apart myself. Let’s just see how Peter responded.

Thank you for your prompt reply Mr. Forrest.
When you use the term “air” what gasses which comprise air are you talking about?
Because air comprises 3 major gasses.
Nitrogen (N2) forms the bulk of our atmosphere it has a specific gravity of 0.9723.
Next comes oxygen (O2) which has a SG of 1.1044.
Lastly comes CO2. This has a SG of 1.5189.
As you will notice nitrogen is the lightest gas followed by oxygen and then carbon dioxide.
Are you suggesting that our atmosphere is layered? Each layer containing only one gas?
So we, at sea level have to breath CO2, unless we can place ourselves at an altitude where we can breath pure oxygen?
And above these layers lies the bulk of our air made from nitrogen?
No, sir, the continual air movements make our “air” more-or-less a homogeneous mixture of all three of these gasses along with other, rarer, ones.

Now this is where it gets really (insert any emotion here). Johnno replied with the following.

You forget that CO2 is utilised by all vegetation to extract the carbon and release the oxygen.
Part of the designers plan I happen to think
What I am expressing is my serious reservations that CO2 is the great villain being made out
Methane and the other nitrous oxides and nasties yes but not CO2
The modelling upon which this whole premise is based is progressively being discredited.
What’s the hell bent rush all about?
Because of my engineering and scientific background, I am a stickler for proper process. Let’s wait to see what occurs at Copenhagen and a full enquiry in to recent world wide questioning of the science.
We have time. The rest is haste for blatant political purposes to create an illusion about who is more climate change conscious.
Of course the atmosphere (air) is amorphous. Wind and sheer are great mixers but not greater than the law of gravity

John Forrest, MP
Federal Member for Mallee

So there you go… I think I can paraphrase this quite nicely. Let me know if I’m on the right track here. Johnno is effectively saying, “Because I am scientist, I know this is true. God made plants low to the ground. Because he designed them to consume CO2 and because he invented gravity he had to make CO2 heavier than other gases so that gravity would pull it to the ground where the plants are. People and animals don’t die from the CO2 because the plants consume it. The air is mixed , but it isn’t.” It actually makes perfect sense… if you’re a child or a moron.

Now, I could go all sciency here and get into fluid dynamics and atmospheric physics and relativity and various other disciplines but I think, given the Inhofesque comment about the “designer” I think I’ll just run with a picture that sums it up.


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