Tag Archives: Global Warming

News That’s Fit To Punt – 03/Sep/2014

Why? Because Fuck You

Everything this Federal Government does is tainted by a sort of grubby conflict of interest. Of course that’s not confined to the Federal Government, because the greater conflict of interest might actually be Clive Palmer who owns a dirty big mining company, gets to make deals where a tax like the mining tax can get repealed. It’s hard to imagine a more egregious and gratuitous case of helping yourself because you can.

The deal has meant that the government will halt the rise of superannuation. Naturally, with the sensibility of a cheesy movie villain, Tony Abbott tried to sell this as more cash in hand for employees which, frankly made me choke on my lunch. I’m sorry to tell you Mr. Prime Minister, but that’s money that’ll stay in the pockets of companies. Paul Keating has lambasted the government but honestly, if he wanted to still have a meaningful voice, he should’ve stayed on in parliament after 1996.

The repeal of the Mining Tax was of course one of the platforms of the Coalition so we ought not be surprised, but really, it is pretty disgusting how the Coalition are totally happy to sell out Australian citizens in favour of a gaggle of mining billionaires – Clive Palmer among them – and try to sell it as being good for the worker. Can it get any worse?

Yes it can. Here’s how.

An Inconvenient Ruse

The emissions for energy generation jumped the most in eight years, since the end of the carbon tax.

So much for Al Gore coming to lend a hand in fighting the good fight against global warming. Thanks to the repeal, polluters have gone back to a kind of burn-baby-burn mentality and now it’s out of control. Of course the plan by this government is also to smash the renewables industry, and directly pay these polluters to stop polluting.

It’s like government by stupidity. You’d never have guessed thing would get this bad. No sane mind would have guess it would get this bad. But this unrelenting awfulness – “Operation Ongoing Enormous Clusterfuck” according to FDOM – was their platform! Grin and bear it.

Pink Batts Coming Home To Roost

Pleiades swung this one at me today. The best bit of news might be how the Royal Commission into the Pink Batts has yielded interesting results. In as much as it was a blatant witch hunt, it looks like it delivered a result that was assumed by the proponents of the Commission. Here’s something from Crikey which is behind a pay wall:

 

First, Hanger found the training regime and regulations at the time of the first of four fatalities in October 2009 to have been seriously inadequate:
“With the exception of South Australia, which had a licensing regime for insulation installers, there was no insulation-industry specific regulation beyond the generally applicable occupational health and safety regulation.”
But here’s the thing: then-minister for the environment Peter Garrett and his staff had spent most of 2009 tightening regulations and procedures. Hanger listed more than 40 interventions to address safety deficiencies — all completed before October. So if the safety framework was still deficient by then, it must have been woefully, if not criminally, inadequate prior to 2008. Having presided over industry growth to the level of about 200,000 new and existing houses insulated annually, the previous Coalition government cannot escape culpability.

Secondly, Hanger opened wide the door to those wanting compensation for the program’s sudden termination:
“I find as follows:
“… the effect of the losses was to devastate many long-standing businesses … and to cause as well personal financial collapse and severe despair and emotional harm;
“that harm and such circumstances justifies pre-existing businesses being compensated.”
If compensation is won, it will be the Abbott government scrambling to find the funds.
This has a certain rough justice about it, of course. There is an argument that the scheme was not intrinsically dangerous and was not failing, rather that it suffered from extreme misreporting from the outset, by both Coalition MPs and a feral media.

Thirdly, the Commissioner was scathing about Abbott’s staff in the course of the inquiry:
“The Commonwealth did not suggest one witness that ought to be called. It did not generally volunteer documents that were not the subject of a summons to produce. It did not elicit any evidence of its own volition. All of this is despite the fact that it was the repository of the critical documents and the corporate knowledge of what had transpired.”

Not even Peter Garrett copped such a shellacking:
“Furthermore, the Commonwealth hampered the work of those assisting me by the way in which documents were produced … Other than in response to a specific request from the Commission, there seemed no logic in the order in which documents were produced. The Commission asked that documents be produced chronologically, however the Commonwealth did not oblige.”

Finally, the Commissioner made it clear that if the federal government initiated the program, then safety is definitely its problem. Never mind the long history of state responsibility.
“There was much debate about whether workplace health and safety issues were a matter that was of any concern to the Australian Government, or whether it was more properly the concern of the States and Territories. It was said, by a number of federal public servants, that the Australian Government had no regulatory power in the field of workplace health and safety, and therefore that it was not a risk that the Australian Government could control. In my view, this attitude was deplorable.”

That means occupational health and safety is now firmly a problem for the Federal Government. Every time somebody dies in an accident, he article suggests a ministerial head is going to roll. Worse still, the responsibility for the failure didn’t just get sheeted home to the Rudd Government, it also got sheeted home to the Howard Government, and last I checked Tony Abbott was the health minister in the government. This thing is going to boomerang right back at him.

The Housing Bubble That Isn’t But Of Which We Must Be Wary

For months – no make that years! -we’ve been hearing that Australia does not have a housing bubble problem. All the economists who have come and pointed out the great anomalies of housing prices in Australia have been laughed out of the public discourse while the anomalies only get bigger. As late as last month Glenn Stevens of the RBA was talking down any possibility that what we had on our hands was an actual bubble! No, he simply reiterated that sometimes the property market goes down. This month he’s taking a different tack and saying there might be nasty shocks. Included in that link is a bit covering China where he cites a downturn in China might manifest itself as a nasty shock. If that wasn’t enough, David Gonski of the ANZ Bank told the Australian British Chamber of Commerce that booming prices cannot possibly continue forever (now there‘s a brave call).

And lo an behold there’s news that China’s real estate market is going screwy. Some might even say it is crashing like it was a Global Financial Crisis. Speaking of crashing, the commodities market in China is crashing. I wonder if those things combined would form this so-called ‘Nasty Shock’ Glenn Stevens is talking about? Or will Sydney’s housing prices simply just shrug it off and keep climbing?

Stay tuned for more fun!

 

 

 

 

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Corruption Is The New Governance

It’s Not “Corruption” If It’s Officially Sanctioned? Wow

Pleiades has been sending me material about Dick Warburton and his report. Naturally, as I pointed out yesterday, it is symptomatic of this government that it would appoint a climate change denier to head up a report on Renewable Energy Target. Predictably the Warburton report has recommended the we simply shut up shop on renewable energy. Of course he was savaged by Fran Kelly and promptly lost what little dignity he might have had in pretending he was somehow impartial.

I’ve been thinking about this a little more and it seems to me there is a much bigger problem than just the appointment of the eminently-wrong-person to review something that does not need to be reviewed, especially in the manner that an eminently-wrong-person may review such things. It’s basically handing out policy to be designed by the lobbyists – which is basically as corrupt an enterprise you can have, running a government. We saw this earlier in the year when they handed out the economic policy thinking to the likes of  Tony Shepherd and Amanda Vanstone. Basically, this government doesn’t have a thinking function, and glommed into government through nay-saying. Having put themselves in government it has dawned on them that they haven’t got any kind of coherent policy so they’ve decided to do the classic corporate thing to do and handed out the thinking to subcontractors who are lobbyists, as a company might subcontract out some tricky bit of business.

The problem is all these lobbyists are the most vested of vested interests and worse still are not accountable to the public in the way the politicians are meant to be accountable. So now, there is no denying that corporate lobbies pay money into parties to get access, and when they get access to the ministerial level, they return favours by saying. “look, you tell us what you want and we’ll just do it.” It genuinely is government by the lobbyists of the lobbyists for the lobbyists. And there’s no shame at all. There’s no need for corrupt little brown envelopes with cash in them because these Liberal Party government office-holders just want to openly do exactly what the lobbyists want and tell them. It’s like that joke: “what do you call a hamster with its own roll of gaffer tape?” – “A slut”. The only reason it’s not called corruption is because there’s nothing subterfuge about it. It’s a bit like how the hamster in the joke might not be considered a prostitute because it doesn’t take money.

It’s a classic case study in what happens when you substitute actual thinking with ideological slogans. It’s staggering, even if we knew this was exactly what we would get if this bunch of traitorous sell-outs got into power. Yet, that’s essentially what we’ve got – a government busily selling out the interests of its people in the name of doing and being open for business. They’re a truly repugnant lot.

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Torpedo Clive

Sinking Abbott’s Boats

If yesterday was eventful and humiliating for the Coalition government, then today must have been a gourmet meal built around a shit sandwich from Clive Palmer. Essentially, the Palmer United Party thwarted the government’s third attempt to repeal the Carbon Tax.

The Pulse during the day made for interesting reading as things went awry for the Abbott Government. Reading the entires it seems really clear that the Coalition promised to word it in a particular way, and then in classic sophist-fashion, welshed on the deal by changing the wording which got the ire of Clive Palmer.

Late in the day Pleiades gave me a heads up about how Clive Palmer was on 702 later in the afternoon, talking to Richard Glover. The interesting thing is that Palmer says he was double-crossed by the Coalition in the wording and so he simply wouldn’t support the Carbon Tax repeal bill that was so important to the Coalition. He then went onto say he won’t support the co-payment to doctors, and h would rather cut the 45billion off the NBN, 20billion off the Paid Parental Leave being proposed, and 37billion dollars ear-marked for Japanese submarines, than have the Co-Payment.

Here’s an interesting article on the day’s proceedings from Tony Wright. Tony Abbott has a huge problem on his hands and he can’t control it. He can now call a double dissolution but his polls are so dire he dare not. What threadbare preposterous notions the Coalition might have had as policy is being torn asunder. It’s well-deserved, but it’s going to cripple his government. He’s not going to be able to game Clive Palmer out of the game quickly.

Pleiades had an interesting observation. He thinks Clive Palmer probably sees the end of coal fire and fossil fuels around the globe and wants to get into renewables; but to do so, he wants there to be a market for him to function within and that means retaining the outlines for an ETS. From that angle you can begin to understand the how and why of his road to Damascus conversion on an ETS and not removing the emissions target. In any case, things are only going to get more interesting for the Abbott Government. The inability of the Coalition to negotiate anything is starting to look like a major stumbling block in them getting their policies through.

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Give The New Guys A Chance

Surprise! Not Your Villain du Jour

Ricky Muir – he of the Roo-Poo flinging Youtube videos and much media ridicule – entered Parliament House as a new Senator this week. By 10:30am this morning he had made news, first by not letting the Abbott Government have its way by steam-rolling the Carbon tax repeal. In a surprise move, Muir broke ranks with the Palmer United to defeat the government’s motion to force a vote on the the Carbon Price repeal. After lunch, he sided with Palmer United and voted to preserve ARENA, which, surprised most onlookers.

Maybe Mr. Muir was going to surprise everybody any way. The way he had been portrayed by the media made him look like a dimwit yokel, but I felt at the time it was a beat up. By hook or crook, we in the electorate seem to have managed to send a totally ordinary citizen into the Senate. If our chief complaint is professionalised politicians, then surely we have to leave some ground open for rank outsiders to come in and have a look for themselves. While Mr. Muir didn’t look promising going in, partly because of the immense vagueness of his party’s platform, this week so far shows that he may yet turn out to be a reasonable, centrist man to have in the senate to balance views. So far his two major contributions don’t seem to be those of an ideological extremist or a radicalised desperado.

The other surprising tidbit that emerged during the week was how Glenn Lazarus – aka The Brick with Eyes – was instrumental in bringing Clive Palmer to the middle of the debate so that the emissions target would be kept. This was remarkable in as much as it showed the Palmer United Party is not Clive Palmer’s puppet show, and that in turn he was somebody who was going to be persuaded by his new senators.

Again, it’s hard to imagine just what would bring a retired Rugby League great into politics in this way – especially after Mal Meninga made a famously bad attempt at it – but it is clearly evident we can’t be dismissing him on the basis of his previous career or his current party affiliation. The fact of the matter is we don’t know much about the policy position of the Palmer United Party simply because the party is so new and everything seems to be made up on the fly. They can conjure Al Gore from a hat, so who are we to judge what they can accomplish? The PUP Senators represent an open end, rather than a closed, conservative alternative.

The silver lining on the generally angry black storm cloud that is the Abbott Government is that the Senate is so fractured that it’s just going to have to fight out every policy morsel on its merits. This means that it can’t bundle together things hoping for a horse trade. This Senate is fractious enough already that if anything it’s going to be more parsing and demanding than previous Senates. This means that while the Carbon Pricing will likely be repealed, it is going to get replaced with an ETS of some description – even if it is priced to zero until certain conditions are met. It’s quite the circus, but the point is that the Abbott government will find out just how little an endorsement it got from the electorate for it to be able to claim any kind of mandate. Our hopes actually rest with Ricky Muir and Glenn Lazarus being centrist, reasonable people. It’s a far cry from the Democrats but they may well turn out to be more credible and laudable in the history books than Meg Lees and Natasha Stott-Despoja.

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Today’s WTF Moment

The Clive Palmer & Al Gore Double Act (Is-This-Even-Allowed?-Edition)

Man, this is really weird. Al Gore, he of the uncomfortable truth, is in Canberra, standing should to shoulder with none other than windbag millionaire Clive Palmer selling an ETS. Clive Palmer’s pitch is pretty whacked out and boils down to 2 things: PUP will voe to repeal the carbon tax if the energy producers are mandated to return that money to households. PUP will then want an ETS in place to replace the carbon price, and this ETS should be contingent upon other nations namely America and China undertaking a version of their own.

It’s creepy because  Clive Palmer is essentially using Al Gore’s post-VP star to cast his repealing in a climate-friendly direction. It’s very odd because I can’t imagine the flipside scenario where say, Paul Keating would stand shoulder to shoulder with Nancy Pelosi in the US Congress, talking about things in the US polity. Doesn’t this sort of break a bunch of diplomatic protocols? How do we know the CIA isn’t trying to influence Clive (or that they already haven’t) who we know is given to conspiracy theories that feature the CIA? You also sort of wonder where Al Gore’s head is at, making this appearance. Since when is he a friend of the crackpot wing of Australian politics?

Pardon me while I try to wrap my head around this bizarre spectacle.

The PUP leader said the government’s Direct Action policy was “a waste of money, at a time when families, pensioners, young Australians, stay at home mums and single parents and indigenous communities are facing unfair measures in the budget, to increase excise and indexation is not the answer”.

Climate change was a global problem, he said, and Australia had to play its part.

He said the Palmer United senators would move, while supporting the repeal of the carbon tax, to establish an emissions trading scheme.

The scheme would only come into effect when Australia’s major trading partners established similar schemes.

“This measure cannot be defined as a financial measure, it will have a carbon price [of] zero,” he said.

A price on carbon would then be introduced down the track.

Mr Gore said Mr Palmer’s announcement was an “extraordinary moment in which Australia, the US and the rest of the world is finally beginning to confront the climate crisis in a meaningful way”.

He cited President Barack Obama’s recent moves to reduce emissions in the US and pilot programs of cap and trade schemes in China as evidence the world was moving to tackle climate change.

“All of these developments add up to the world moving to solve the climate crisis and that is why it is so significant that Clive Palmer has announced that his party will support the continuation of the renewable energy target, and the continuation of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation,” he said.

“While I will be disappointed if the immediate price on carbon is removed because it is a policy which I believe to be ultimately critical to solving the climate crisis, I am extremely hopeful that Australia will continue to play a global leadership role on this most pressing issue.”

The event comes ahead of Mr Palmer’s meeting with the Prime Minister on Thursday morning.

Well, that’s pretty nutty, but a good kind of nutty. Like a Marvel comic book movie moment when two unlikely characters turn to one another and work for the common good. The villain in all this is now Tony Abbott, he of the abysmal popular support. He can’t possibly be enjoying this turn of events. 1st of July is going to bring in a bunch of people who are going to toe this Palmer United Party line, endorsed by Al Gore. If Tony Abbott’s going to get to keep his promise of ‘repealing the Carbon Tax’ (just typing that makes my eyes hurt), it’s going to cost him a pound of flesh from inside his skull. He can no longer count on the conspiracy-nut Palmer to play along with the climate change sceptic script. It turns out Palmer is a conservative nutbar, but clearly not the same brand of conservative nutbar as those in the Coalition government.

What worries me is how the SMH editor (yes, that fool) is busily talking up the Palmer United position. It can’t be that good if it impresses that little mind.

These Guys Can’t Do Diplomacy Either

That sucking, gurgler sound you’re hearing from Canberra, that would be the Abbott government just sucking up the joint.

A few weeks ago, The Abbott government started disputing the terminology ‘occupied’ in reference to East Jerusalem. It’s hard to fathom why the Australian Government would want to break ranks with the rest of the world and come down hard in favour of Israel and against the Palestinians, but that’s what they did. And the world heard about it – especially the Arab speaking world – and took notice.

Pleiades gave me a heads up and it seems Bob Ellis seems to think that the jailing of the Australian Journalist Peter Greste was a reprisal for this moving of the terms by Australia. No wonder our pleas to have Greste released ave fallen on deaf ears- and our government is too stupid to understand just what has happened.

What’s amazing is that just as with the budget, this government has kicked an own goal in the diplomacy stakes; and the joke is on us because they weren’t even asked to offer up an opinion. They just blurted out something that has ended up boomeranging right back.

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Quick Shots 01/Jan/2014

Hey, First Post Of the Year From Me

I’ve been busy watching a few silly movies on FetchTV in between the seasonal obligations. It’s pretty cool watching on FetchTV because it saves the on the trip to the video store if nothing else and it sure beats buying more media. I’ve been stuck in the bad habit of buying stuff because I still have the carry-over from the ear when DVDs were actually worth something. It was ever so brief, but they were important for a good half a decade there until Blu-Ray came along and scotched that little bubble.

My New Years resolution last year was that I shouldn’t just buy more media, but a) sometimes it is easier to just buy the box set and b) sometimes it’s better to own than rent and c) it’s impossible to stick to arbitrary rules meant that I bought my fair share of stuff. It’s a bit of a worry if you can’t remember if you’ve bought something or simply watched it on a rented bit of media, but if I think I’m going to go, “you have to watch this scene!?” or “you just have to hear this guitar solo!” then it’s better to own this stuff.

Still, it’s weird having a pile of this media that grew to be irrelevant so quickly. At least with LPs and CDs, there’s an argument to be made that mp3s are a their best worse than either LPs or CDs, and that moving on to just data on hard disks isn’t really an improvement in your listening pleasure. Besides which, you can squeeze a hello of a lot more out of LPs and CDs by having better speakers and amplifiers. Video is different.

With 4k TV looming in the not too distant future, even the marvelous Blu-Ray 1080p format is going to look pretty outdated in the next few years. I’m sure there’s 8k and 16k TVs beyond that, and without an NBN pumping at last 50mbps it’s going to be difficult to run the IPTV services on 4k and up download services, so maybe buying media won’t become totally extinct. Let me just say, 4k is gorgeous. You’re going to want this much more than the time you went from SD PAL or NTSC to HDTV. (That being said, I do seriously  wonder if there’s any joy in seeing 4k TV footage of Kanye West or Miley Cyrus twerking.)

Getting Bad Advice

The news this week that’s been most grating has been this business of Maurice Newman proclaiming that climate science on global warming is delusional.

In an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper, Maurice Newman, the Prime Minister’s pick as head of his Business Advisory Council, claimed high energy costs caused by the carbon tax and the renewable energy target, introduced by the Howard government, had eroded Australia’s competitiveness. Under Labor and the Greens, Australia had been taken ”hostage” by ”climate change madness”, Mr Newman wrote.

“Newman!!”

It’s really no big deal except for the fact that it’s wrong and willfully wrong, and that he is slated to offer up advice to the Prime Minister based on this kind of idiotic denialism. If nothing else, it shows Tony Abbott still thinks the science on this is ‘complete crap’. What’s even weirder is that because the first 100days of Tony Abbott’s time in office was ‘complete crap’, we’re not surprised in the least bit find that his business advisor is a highly motivated climate change denialist.

Can We Please Stop With The Government Debt Hysteria?

This one came in from Skarp last week but I’ve been a bit preoccupied. Paul Sheehan – he of the rather squeaky voice and reflexively right-leaning views – wrote this rather tawdry column.

At 12.30 on Tuesday, Hockey, who has also been the stand-out thespian of the new federal parliament, will unveil the real horror, dysfunction and narcissism of Kevin Rudd’s contribution to Australian political history, disably assisted by Julia Gillard. Hockey will release the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, known in the trade as MYEFO, which will show a budget deficit much worse than Labor led us to believe, probably close to $50 billion, debt obligations much higher than Labor led us to believe, and unfunded liabilities that are so irresponsibly crushing the government will have to walk away from many of them. The most monumental folly is the National Broadband Network, whose economic rationale was worked out on a piece of paper by Rudd. The scheme subsequently created by former communications minister Stephen Conroy would cost more than $70 billion and never recover its cost of capital. The Abbott government will have to start again.

The way that paragraph is written, you’d think that the sky was going to cave in. Fortunately, professor Steve Keen had this article as a retort:

I’m not going to debate (or defend) Kevin Rudd’s personality, but getting this hysterical over a $50 billion deficit in a $1.5 trillion economy? Oh come on: that is slightly less than 3 per cent of GDP (the precise GDP figure is $1.525 trillion, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics). Comparable figures for some of our trading partners are 5.5 per cent for the USA, 6 per cent for the UK, and 10 per cent for Japan. Australia’s deficit for 2013 is almost 50 per cent below the expected average for the OECD of 4.8 per cent of GDP.

Of course, finding that out doesn’t require a trip overseas: all you have to do is search the web. But what a trip overseas might alert Sheehan to is the economic performance of the rest of the planet – and especially of those parts of it that, as he does, make the size of the government deficit the only stick by which economic performance is measured.

The rest of the article is Keen dismantling Sheehan’s stated position that all this debt is somehow crippling and wrong.Austerity i a terrible thing; not to mention the fact that it doesn’t work.

You sort of wonder how people like Paul Sheehan keep jobs as columnists. It’s like he gets paid not for his thinking and critical faculties – which on the whole seem faulty anyway – but for how hard his blowhard entries blow. And they really blow. Sheehan’s symptomatic of what’s making the media market worse in this era. You just can’t trust what any of these sloppy commentators write.  but somehow they’re up there with a public soapbox on the SMH masthead spreading his kind of nonsense. I mean really! Why do they have to give ‘equal time’ to stupidity and misinformation?

But back to Keen’s take home message about Government debt:

I would far rather see governments acknowledging the problem of private debt, and doing something concrete to reduce it – since the financial sector should never have been allowed to create much of that debt in the first place. But as a second best policy, government spending should buffer the impact of the decline in private sector deleveraging. To do otherwise is to turn a serious recession into a genuine Depression – as Europe has done.

Behind the veneer of apparent fiscal prudence, that is what hysterical articles like Sheehan’s are encouraging – in utter denial both of the actual cause of the crisis and, more importantly for a journalist, in ignorance of what even casual empiricism shows has been the actual impact of austerity.

That, just about sums it all up.

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News That’s Fit ToPunt – 06/Nov/2013

Laurie Oakes’ Body Slam… Okay, Just Slam.

The doyen of Australian political journalism, Laurie Oakes thinks Tony Abbott’s government sucks so far when it comes to transparency.

“They’re busily trying to avoid the media as much as possible and to control the media and so far they’re getting away with it but I don’t think they will get away with it for too long,” he said ahead of the release of his new book Remarkable Times: Australian Politics 2010-13.

“You can see the way the story of the expenses rorts is gathering speed, and that horse bolted because Tony Abbott and his Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson didn’t move to nip it in the bud.”They could have killed it off but they’ve got this attitude of not feeding the news cycle so it got away from them.”

Other journos have voiced their concerns on the same point.

Since winning office, Abbott has fronted the nation’s media just eight times. Calls to his office, and to his ministers, frequently go unanswered or unreturned.

During the week, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop was a star speaker at the Australian Council for International Development conference in Canberra. The two-day event was open to the public, including the media – except for Bishop’s speech. It’s understood the media was barred at the request of the minister, who is tasked with enforcing the government’s $4.5 billion cut to foreign aid over the next four years.

Announcing the government would respond to Australia’s ballooning credit card bill by almost doubling the borrowing limit to half a trillion dollars, Treasurer Joe Hockey held a 10-minute press conference and took few questions.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has radically overhauled the approach of his department and others to information about asylum seekers. No longer does Customs issue advice about boats in distress en route to Australia. No longer is information on boats arriving in Australian territorial waters released to the public as soon as it comes to hand. Nor is the rebadged Department of Immigration and Border Protection authorised to provide previously innocuous information about asylum seekers.

So there’s a pattern emerging already and it seems that not only are they not willing to defend their decisions or thinking, they’d rather not talk about it; which of course underlines the inherently undemocratic instincts shown by the Coalition in the years since they won in 1996. Thee simple fact is that they don’t want to talk about the areas that made much noise about while in opposition because it would show that it was all rhetoric and the Coalition have no better solution for the said problems.  Nobody’s really surprised by this any more than we are impressed – we’re not!

It’s just a little funny watching journalists of the various newspapers complaining about it having supported Tony Abbott’s cause on election eve with their stupid editorials. Yes, I’m looking at you Sydney Morning Herald.

It’s enough to make you cry if it weren’t so ironic.

Whatever It Is He Is Doing, He’s Making A Hash Of It!
Then there’s this thing here.

The making of effective foreign policy always looks easier than it is. As a result, new governments tend to underestimate the task. The Howard and Rudd/Gillard governments each made tentative starts on the international stage. The current government’s diplomatic initiation has been worse. Even allowing for inexperience, the Abbott government appears to be setting a new standard for diplomatic ineptitude. The Prime Minister in particular has lurched from one mistake to another, with each episode more ham-fisted than the last.

Indonesia’s sure as heck not happy with the Coalition duo of Abbott and Bishop. Julie Bishop’s been doing the denying which strongly suggests that she’s been doing the supplying, so to speak. On some level, you expect all embassies to be a hotbed of spying activity. So this emerging all of a sudden as an issue between Australia and Indonesia seems a little contrived.

Bruce Haigh at Crikey recently observed thus:

According to sources close to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) is less than impressed with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. It is said this view was formed before the election, when Abbott, Bishop and now Immigration Minister Scott Morrison talked loud and long about turning around refugee boats and sending them back to Indonesia.
The rumour was confirmed when Abbott turned up late for two important gatherings at APEC where SBY was in the chair, and in case there are some who would to contest this, when the egos of heads of state are on the line the attendance at all meetings of conferences such as APEC are important.

Politicians and other public figures do not live in a vacuum; whatever is said domestically about another government will be reported, with comment, to that government by its embassy, and additionally its foreign ministry will pick up the remarks from wire service reports.

It is a measure of the lack of sophistication and parochial outlook of Abbott and the government he leads that there is an apparent failure to understand the way the world works. Infamously, South African minister of police Jimmy Kruger told a laughing crowd at a 1977 a ruling National Party conference that the death in detention of black activist Steve Biko “left him cold”. That remark haunted his government for years to come.
Some years ago Abbott told an ABC journalist that he sometimes said things he did not mean in order to meet the political imperatives of the moment. This was a rare confession from a politician. It is a pattern of behaviour by Abbott that has been confirmed over the past year, the most recent being the about-turn on his boats policy in Jakarta this month.

“A number of Indonesian specialists were adamant that Indonesia does not believe Abbott’s statements about respecting Indonesian sovereignty.”
According to a long-term Canberra insider, the Indonesians are well aware of Abbott’s propensity for saying whatever he thinks will solve an immediate political problem. They are aware of his bombast, his superficiality and his lack of understanding around the complexities of Indonesian culture and politics. A number of Indonesian specialists were adamant that Indonesia does not believe Abbott’s statements about respecting Indonesian sovereignty. They are also aware of his boasts, in the past, that it was the Howard government that liberated the people of East Timor. They remain concerned that an Abbott-led Coalition government would seek to do the same in West Papua.

The Indonesian elite are not blind to the policies employed in West Papua to keep the province within the republic. They may not like it, but as with Abbott’s approach to refugee policy they see it as necessary, with the use of force the only means to put down the separatist movement. DFAT sources say Abbott’s assertion to the Indonesian President that he admired and respected Indonesia’s policies in West Papua would have been received with scepticism and regarded as patronising.

In sending that stuff to me, Pleiades made the observation that this business of Indonesia could open the floodgates for stuff Indonesia’s been holding on to for a rainy day; like say a paedophilia ring run out of DFAT personnel say. This might be just the beginning of where Indonesia unleashes the shit file on us just to humiliate the Abbott Government. I mean, at this point, why wouldn’t you? It’s not like there’s any prospect for proper respect coming from Tony Abbott and his morally-flexible rhetoric.

Denial Is A River That Runs Through Conservativism

We haven’t heard much from little Johnny lately, which has been great. when he pops up, he tends to make our days worse. Here, it seems he’s been out spruiking the cause of climate change denialism.

London: Former prime minister John Howard has poured scorn on the “alarmist” scientific consensus on global warming in a speech to a gathering of British climate sceptics, comparing those calling for action on climate change to religious zealots.

Mr Howard said he was an “agnostic” on climate science and he preferred to rely on his instinct, which told him that predictions of doom were exaggerated.

He also relied on a book written by a prominent climate sceptic, which scientists have attacked as ignorant and misleading.

And he called on politicians not to be browbeaten into surrendering their role in determining economic policy.Nuclear power – a “very clean source of energy” – shale oil and fracking were solutions to the world’s energy needs, Mr Howard said.

Mr Howard’s speech in London on Tuesday night was to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank established by Nigel Lawson, one of Britain’s most prominent climate change sceptics, former chancellor in the Thatcher government and father of TV chef Nigella.

Mr Howard revealed before the speech that the only book he had read on climate change was Lawson’s An Appeal to Reason: a Cool Look at Global Warming, published in 2008.

Mr Howard said he read it twice, once when he was writing his autobiography, when he used it to counter advice for stronger action on climate change given to him by government departments when he had been prime minister.

But the book has been attacked by climate experts.

So, the former Prime Minster of Australia – in his time in office – decided to look into the topic of Global Warming and chose to read one book, and one book alone, written by a climate change denialist. He read it twice to crib notes and mount his own denialist rhetoric, probably because he saw the political problem of climate change as something that needed to be couched in the traditional Left-Right framework regardless of actual facts and figures and projected ramifications. It’s a miracle his government got to the point of proposing an ETS! This would be the one Tony Abbott is trying to tear down in the name of repealing the Carbon Tax.

Today, we can understand that both John Howard and Tony Abbott are ferocious, committed climate change deniers with the latter set to wreak havoc on whatever paltry steps we’ve taken to control the problem. It’s hard to fathom how deep this river runs between these two men, but it brims with anti-scientific bullshit. One of the worst things to have happened to the debate is that the deniers keep getting a more than generous equal airtime hearing of their stupid position.

At this moment in time, it is completely accurate to quote Tenacious D: “The Government Totally Sucks”.

Oh great.

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