Archive for April, 2011

ABC Chaser chased from wedding

April 27, 2011

Not for mocking

Prince Charles, who I have always thought was a bit of  a nutter and a hypocrite on things green, has shown some common sense firmness with regard to the ABC Chaser. I must say I groaned when I saw a promo for the programme they planned on the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I thought it would be too easy with its predictable, puerile, and ‘transgressive’ humour. Talk about a soft target.

Apparently Clarence House got wind of the programme and Prince Charles put his foot down.

Just two days before Prince William and Kate Middleton are due to tie the knot, ABC TV has been forced to cancel The Chaser’s one-off live coverage of the event due to what it says are restrictions imposed by the royal family.
The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary was due to air on ABC2 from 7:00pm AEST on Friday, offering viewers a satirical take on the royal wedding.
But now the live special – promised to be “uninformed and unconstitutional” – has been reluctantly pulled due to restrictions imposed over the Easter break.

When you think about it, who would give out their wedding photos to be mocked, belittled and sent up. It is true we don’t know what the Chaser planned, and I will be the first to say that their routines are often genuinely funny, clever or even just plain silly. But when it comes to predictable targets like Christianity, the Pope, conservative politicians, and now a royal wedding, it would be hard not to think that their humour might just be nasty and mocking.

We have already seen derision, scorn and moral superiority from the ABC on this subject. What is funny about about marriage and love?

Are the French becoming PC wowsers?

April 26, 2011

Wine to water  

At a time when we are discussing binge drinking and alcohol induced gang violence in Australia, and when a recent incident where the Victorian Education Department allowed teachers of Ringwood High School to have a drink on a school camp attracted inordinate attention, it comes as an amusing contrast to see reports, published world wide, that French riot police [the infamous CRS] are complaining bitterly about new rules depriving them of their habitual red wine at lunch time.

Didier Mangione, a representative of the CRS trade union, said the new rules were based on an “exaggeration.”
He said recently released pictures of officers drinking while having lunch on duty had “upset the management of the CRS far more than public opinion.”
“Decisions like these should be based on studies of the actual negative effects (of a small amount of alcohol). There are none,” Mangione said. “This ban should be withdrawn, especially if the drink is being consumed with a meal away from the public eye.”

For heavy drinking cultures like our own, it comes as a shock to imagine responsible drinking in the work place. In my younger years as a graduate student in Paris, I was bemused to see that the issue of a small bottle of wine, beer or cider was standard in student canteens throughout France. It was without fuss, without abuse, and certainly without drunkenness.

Later, at a parachute jump centre near Paris I was admittedly mildly shocked to see the parachutists and pilots having lunch with carafes of wine, and the pilots knocking down a cognac digestif with their cafes, before going back to the aeroplanes for the afternoon. The contrast in Australian parachute clubs is, well, a contrast. There is an almost metaphysical belief in the danger of anyone opening a can of beer before the last plane of the day had landed.

Around that time, I subsequently learned that Air France pilots had a special dispensation from IATA to have a glass of red with the meals in the cockpit of passenger jets. That, I thought, was civilized. But of course, to do that depends on a culture that does not see alcohol abused in the way it so often is in Australia.

ETS useless and dangerous

April 9, 2011

Why people are getting the picture but we are still waiting for the ABC to catch up

An outstandingly lucid explanation of what an emission trading system is, how it works, and why it will be useless and ineffective, but also positively dangerous and corrupting, is contained in an article in the latest Quadrant, and rerun in this weekend’s Australian.

It should make the government very nervous, but still we see the likes of Barrie Cassidy on Insiders this morning not tackling Penny Wong on any of the fundamental flaws and futility of an ETS. However, the mood is swinging so quickly both in the media and with the public, that it will soon be undeniable common knowledge that the ETS can’t work.

Simply put:

It is perverse to create a reward for otherwise uneconomic activities.

As for corruption:

In December 2009 Europol, the European criminal intelligence agency, warned that ETS fraud had resulted in around €5 billion in lost revenues and as much as 90 per cent of the entire market volume on emissions exchanges was caused by fraudulent activity. In late April 2010 there were twenty-five arrests in the UK and Germany for ETS fraud, involving more than a hundred suspects employed by banks and energy traders. A Europol official, Rafael Rondelez, has described the ETS as “an incredibly lucrative target for criminals”. This is because a carbon credit is “an intangible good … With this, it’s just the click of a mouse.”

On certainty for business:

The claim that business needs an ETS to “obtain certainty” is spurious. Europe has an ETS, but the price of carbon has been volatile and the market has crashed three times since it began in 2005. A carbon tax can provide certainty during periods when governments do not adjust the rules. But an ETS is inherently volatile and adds extra uncertainty into business decisions.

Why even a straight carbon tax won’t work:

Energy demand is “pretty inelastic” because people will not choose other goods or services to substitute for energy that keeps them warm or cool, cooks their food and provides transportation. Mechanisms such as a carbon tax are intended to send a price signal to consumers that they should consume less energy that is carbon intensive. But if alternative energy sources are limited, people will still choose to consume carbon-intensive energy, unless the price is set at a prohibitive level. In Western democracies an ETS or carbon tax would normally be accompanied by a proposal to compensate poorer voters for the higher price, so they do not have to change their behaviour.Neither the rich not the poor will turn off their radiators and the price signal will be ineffective.

Read the full article The Intelligent Voter’s Guide to Global Warming (Part II) by Geoffrey Lehmann, Peter Farrell & Dick Warburton in the April edition of Quadrant at any newsagent.

This article has now been made available on-line here.


In the meantime, Greg Sheridan gives us an account about exactly what countries around the world are doing with their carbon tax efforts. He explains that Julia Gillard is wanting to bring in a harsher regime than almost anywhere else.

EVERY so often Australians accuse themselves of being out of step. The implication is that we should “catch up with the world”. Sometimes this has been a useful spur to reform, sometimes it has been nonsense.

But the Gillard government is attempting to put Australia off-side with the practice of virtually the entire world. And it is doing so by pursuing a puritan ideological obsession that virtually no one else in the world is doing.

I refer, of course, to the proposed carbon tax. If the carbon tax goes ahead, to be replaced in due course by an emissions trading scheme with a fixed carbon emissions target, Australia will have among the most extreme climate-change policies in the world.

Flannery scores more own goals

April 7, 2011

The second coming of the Climate Commission

More questions than answers came from the second episode of the Climate Change Commission’s public forums, televised live from Ipswich by ABC News 24.

On this second leg of their propaganda propagation there were Gerry Hueston, Lesley Hughes Will Steffen and Tim Flannery

To get the ball rolling, Will Steffen rehashed the familiar warmists’ presentation, using a strangely familiar “hockey stick” look-alike graph of a flat medieval warming period and the huge and rapid warming last century. I thought this sort of view of temperature records had been utterly discredited. He repeated the mantra that the science has been decided, that CO2 is the culprit — we are ninety percent certain, no doubts, no disagreements, no questions  — so this is why we need to do something.

The performance was the clearest evidence that the Commission was doing the job it has been handsomely paid to do. According to the Minister Greg Combet, it was established by the Gillard Government to provide an “authoritative, independent source of information for all Australians,” He said. “It will provide expert advice on climate change science and impacts, and international action. It will help build the consensus required to move to a clean energy future.”  It is thus there to convince people of Gillard’s Carbon tax. It cannot therefore be independent. In other words, it is a propaganda unit.

Consequently, the best question of the night was from an Ipswich salesman, who asked why, if the paid role of the Climate Change Commission was to sell the government’s policies, how it could honestly be considered  a public forum for open discussion. Clearly, he observed, the Commission had made its mind up.  To underline the point, another audience member accused Will Stephan of using the expression “climate denier” and was hotly contested by Flannery. Will Stephan admitted the error.

As an excuse for bias, Tim Flannery repeated the bewildering assertion that the reason for the latest polls showing that people don’t believe the warmist arguments, is that the sceptics’ arguments have been unfairly dominant in the media because the media believes in balance. This is an extraordinary claim, given the proselytizing role of the ABC and the Fairfax press, schools, universities, councils and even businesses.

Patronizing anecdotes were used as Flannery talked sadly about the wise old men that he had met throughout third world villages whose knowledge of where to take their herds had been compromised by climate change. No longer could they rely on their traditional customs to pass on this vital information to their young people. He even suggested, in spite of this failure, that these wise old people knew more about the climate than we did, living as we do in our air conditioned houses. Maybe he was referring to IPCC scientists.

A few questions were raised about carbon dioxide’s vilification as a carbon pollutant. One questioner pointed out that our breath contains 4,000 40,000 parts per million of CO2 and an office 1000 ppm. Our atmosphere is presently less than 400 ppm.

Challenged with the existence of dissident scientists such as the 31,000 listed in the Petition Project, Will Stephan deftly stepped around this inconvenient truth by saying he didn’t recognise any of the climate scientists on their list. This was one more example of the refusal of warming advocates to engage with any published science. These people pretend they simply don’t exist. The idea that a scientific debate has been had and decided on is therefore demonstrably false. The Petition Project has a very coherent peer reviewed article that summarizes alternatives to the Commissions views. To underline this untenable and dishonest approach, another member of the public simply asked, how many more dissenting scientists will it need before they start to question their certainty?

In a brilliant own goal, Flannery was at pains to point out that we should not “fear change”, in response to people’s dislike of Gillard  proposed  ‘carbon’ tax. He rabbited on about how humans optimise new innovations, building new futures for increased prosperity. So, why not embrace climate change?

Flannery was candid about the impossible task of reducing our emission by 5 percent from 2000 levels by 2020. This is a bipartisan Australian goal, but as he explained, it actually represents a 25 percent reduction within the next eight years and eight months. It is just not going to happen as there is no substitute at the moment for coal or petrol. Surely, end of story,

The last own goal of the evening was about the importance of containing the growth of human populations. Flannery explained that the only way to do this is to increase wealth in the poorer countries. This of course, is precisely what Born Lomborg and others have been advocating. It is called adapting to change.

It will be interesting to see what headway this ambitious Climate Change Commission will make over the coming months


The ABC agenda again on 774

April 6, 2011

Double standards exemplified yet again

Jon Faine, on his ABC 774 Melbourne programme this morning interviewed Bob Brown over the Green’s anti-Israel policies, and in particular about a photo of Senator Hanson-Young at an Adelaide rally in 2009 showing her surrounded by placards demanding Australia “Cut ties with apartheid Israel”.

Faine asked Brown if he thought this was acceptable and that if it just confirmed the view of many that the Greens are an extreme party. Brown blustered through the interview, explaining that in a democracy, politicians sit on all sorts of panels and podiums with people whose views they disagreed with. He even suggested that being in parliament exposed him to being associated with all sorts of people he did not agree with.

Faine of course conveniently did not think of the situations where Brown himself had been seen at rallies with compromising placards, where hypocritically, he had denied the fact.

Faine also conveniently forgot “to match” the insistent harping by his very own partner, Waleed Aly on the same programme just a couple of weeks ago, about Tony Abbott being seen in front of placards during his appearance at the Carbon Tax Rally in Canberra.

In that context, Faine also forgot about Bob Brown’s indignation in writing a false crocodile letter of tears to the PM to apologise to her for the alleged Abbott slight.

But it is far worse. Senator Hanson Young was at the anti-Israeli rally to support anti-Israeli policies, not at a rally for something else that happened to have a couple of suss placards behind her. Faine, usually “lawyer sharp” to such distinctions, forgot that also.

Indeed, some irritated listeners phoned in to complain about the soft interview. Faine replied that, oh yes, he could have brought those things up. He just didn’t think of it.

Yeah: soft on Brown, soft on Greens, and soft on Palestine. Our ABC.

Gillard’s carbon tax

April 5, 2011

59% say: don’t like it, and 55% say: its useless

A new poll by the Australian Chamber of commerce and Industry says it all. It shows that 59 per cent of people do not support a carbon tax and more than half believe it would not help the environment.

“While it was widely accepted that the public knew a carbon tax would hit their hip pocket, this survey shows the public are almost equally concerned about the impact of a carbon tax on jobs,” the chamber chief said.

Couple this with the fact that Gillard is again falling in the polls, it would take a really stubborn Prime Minister to do it. Many think she will. This of course is bloody minded and it is clearly not in Australia’s “national interest” to do so.

Bolt trial continued…

April 5, 2011

“The unawareness is based on the facts which the hypothetical surrogate has.”  Ron Merkel, QC

Here is an update on the Bolt trial from Quadrant. I know that court cases often descend into definitions and nuances in meaning of words but this seems excessively obscure. I myself attended briefly this afternoon, and the slightness and casuistic ins and outs of what Andrew Bolt meant, and the offence it might or might not have caused, or how the comments read throught eyes of an average Australian was nothing but excruciating … for an average Australian. This piece by Michael Connor captures the atmosphere well.

“The sting in the articles is complex,” said Merkel. It seems there is a difference between “Welcome to Country” and recognition of traditional owners ceremonies. Andrew Bolt had got them confused, said Merkel, and it appears this is one of the reasons he is on trial.

At one point the Judge asked where in a sentence Bolt had offended. Merkel replied that you have to read all the paragraph to understand it: “everything connects”. He also said, “Every time I read these articles something else pops out of the words.”

Kindergarten Korrectness

April 5, 2011

Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails…

Of course the federal government tried to downplay the threat of large fines for childcare centres with its new Education and Care Services National Act. It included fining workers for excluding misbehaving children from group activities, or for daring to engage the children in “activities that are inappropriate, having regard to each family’s family and cultural values”. This could well exclude children for Easter egg hunts or decorating a Christmas tree.

Childcare Minister Kate Ellis said yesterday the regulations did not ban any cultural activities. She added that “the suggestion that any childcare worker would be fined $50,000 for sending a child to the naughty corner is ridiculous and plain wrong”.

One must wonder how a bureaucracy could draft such stupid things. However, these people have form. I remember that back in 1994, guidelines were introduced by the powerful National Childcare Accreditation Council, drawing up gender guidelines known as the Quality Improvement and Accreditation System. These were going to protect our children from Cinderella, Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, Superman, the Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland and fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers.

Along with this folly, childcare workers were instructed to no longer distinguish between the sexes, such as telling a little girl she was pretty or a little boy that he was strong. They were not even to say “good boy” and “good girl”. At the time, childcare centres were made aware that failure to implement the guidelines, which were to be policed by assessors, could result in the loss of accreditation and government funding.

Thank goodness for an active press that has the power to shame these bureaucrats out of their crazy zeal.

For the record, I copy here the nursery rhyme  that I was privileged to be able to learn before the gender feminists got to us all.

What are little boys made of?

What are little boys made of?

Frogs and snails
And puppy-dogs’ tails,

That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice
And everything nice,

That’s what little girls are made of.