Australia

ScoMo Convenes A Focus Group To Workshop A New Nickname

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/01/2020 - 7:00am in

morrison map

Prime Minister ScoMo has put together a focus group to workshop a new nickname after rejecting Scotty From Marketing. A nickname bestowed upon him by the satirical publication The Betoota Advocate.

“The Prime Minister is definitely a man of the people and always seeks their opinions before making a decision,” said a Spokesperson for the Prime Minister. “I mean look at the sporting grants that he and Bridget McKenzie handed out. They made sure that those grants went to electorates that would appreciate them most and in turn give us a vote.”

“And let’s face it Scotty from Marketing hasn’t got as good a ring to it as ScoMo or Scotty from the Shire.”

When asked if the Prime Minister understood that nicknames were not made up in focus groups but rather bestowed on to people by their peers, the Spokesperson said: “Oh come on you reckon Albo is an organic nickanme?”

“The boys at Sussex street would’ve spent months coming up with that. Amazed they didn’t try and call the last bloke Shorto instead of the King of Knives.”

Those wishing to suggest a new nickname for the Prime Minister are encouraged to call his office on (02) 6271 1511 during business hours.

Mark Williamson

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

Nature and Carbon Pricing.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/01/2020 - 6:07pm in

(source)
Almost a year ago to the date, two large Menindee mass fish kills shocked Australia and the world. Water no longer flowing through the Darling River caused those deaths.

Last week another mass fish kill (said to be in the hundreds of thousands) on the Macleay River went all but unnoticed. Ironically, this time the cause was the rain, adding water to the river bed.

Rain falling over Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria these last few days (justifiably welcome by firefighters and farmers alike) carried bushfire ash to the river. The fish suffocated in the thick sludge. According to witnesses, between 60 and 100 kilometers of river dead.

Nature is not a trivial thing. That’s why there are tertiary and post-graduate courses covering biology, ecology, Earth Science, meteorology, oceanography and many, many others. It takes time, smarts, and hard work to study those subjects, let alone to master them.

With all due respect, I am not sure economists are equipped for that.

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Last week carbon pricing as a means to reduce GHGs emissions was the object of comment in Australian media.

I think I’ve identified a pattern in such discussions. Whatever else is said, someone mentions the label “carbon pricing”; comments about its superior economic efficiency usually follow; one hears “incentives” and “markets”. Carbon pricing, it is said, is hands down the best alternative to reduce GHGs emissions.

Well, maybe it is. But I think that’s not the whole story. So, let’s begin with “carbon pricing”. What is it?

There are, to be sure, authoritative explainers. Sometimes journalists go as far as explaining that carbon pricing is a Pigouvian tax, that it comes in different flavours (emissions trading systems and carbon taxes, theoretically equivalent) and other technicalities.

Valuable as those efforts are, they rarely spell out what is probably more vital to the wider public. That’s our focus.

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Carbon pricing is based on the undeniable fact that the use of fossil fuels to produce energy has unintended negative effects. That needs no further substantiation: we are seeing, smelling, feeling those effects.

Such effects, economists add, are not covered by the market price of fossil-fuel generated (FFG) energy: they are a “negative externality”, in economic terminology.

Carbon pricing aims to correct that by adding the cost FFG-energy use inflicts on others to its sale price

Two things happen now. Firstly, economists say, higher prices provide an “incentive” to reduce demand for FFG-energy (and therefore, GHGs emissions). In its carbon tax flavour, carbon pricing is a tax. In that flavour, carbon pricing has fiscal effects, but it’s not justified on the need to raise fiscal revenues. Its rationale, instead, is to reduce something beyond the merely undesirable. It is, in other words, a “tax on a really, really bad”.

(We’ll come back to the second effect.)

Now, a question seldom mentioned in those discussions is key: who’ll pay that higher price?

In strictly literal terms: anyone using FFG-energy will. Business and consumers (that is, you and I). Business, however, can pass that additional cost on … to us. Sales reductions aside, most businesses shouldn’t be affected. Consumers will be with all certainty: we’ll pay directly the higher prices of the FFG-energy we ourselves use and indirectly for that energy businesses use to produce the goods and services we buy from them.

(I’m not going into quantitative considerations: how much prices should increase? Nor am I going into the fact that not all consumers were created equal: those on lower incomes shall suffer most).

In more general terms, in addition to those price hikes, workers losing their jobs will also face income loss. That’s an additional cost we’ll pay (this is a problem that sometimes makes it into those discussions, without eliciting a solution).

Unlike other business owners, fossil fuel mining magnates will pay a hefty price, too: their assets will plunge in value. Coal, oil and gas will have to remain buried. That explains why them, but not other capitalists, are dead set against carbon pricing in particular, and climate change action, in general.

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Now, given that we live under a capitalist system and the choice we are offered is, at one hand, carbon pricing, and at the other hand mass extinction and civilisation collapse and even human extinction (all of which seem increasingly likely if not inevitable consequences of rampant anthropogenic climate change), I as a low-income worker, am personally willing to try and pay that price.

But, let’s be clear, as a low-income worker, I may be willing to try, but I’m not enthusiastic about carbon pricing. I’m only reluctantly willing to accept it because we are forced to remain in a capitalist system.

Put in those terms, I am not sure all other workers will be as willing as I am (witness the gilets jaunes protests in France).

To put things differently, workers’ rejection of carbon pricing may well be self-destructive, but in the light of those considerations, it’s not as unexplainable as middle class critics like to claim.

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Before readers get too negative a picture (justified if they only followed the Australian discussion of carbon pricing), let me add that compensation payments could be made to those most negatively affected by FFG-energy price increases. In a nutshell, that, under the brand name “carbon dividend”, is what prominent American economists (including 27 “Nobel” laureates) proposed a year ago, almost to a day, apparently to counter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Under their proposal, all fiscal revenues raised through the carbon tax would be redistributed equally among tax payers.

That no doubt would sweeten an otherwise bitter medicine. But, wouldn’t it also reduce its effectiveness? You cut down your coal-generated electricity use fearing an unaffordable bill, then you get some money in compensation … What would you do with that money?

Unemployment could be addressed through MMTers’ Job Guarantee (provided, of course, economists could be persuaded to accept it).

The second effect of a carbon pricing (left hanging above) could also make carbon pricing less painful. Negative-externality-ridden FFG-energy is not the only form of energy. There is presumably negative-externality-free renewables-generated energy. If relative prices shift in the latter’s favour consumers and businesses could likewise shift consumption (and production) from one to the other.

The question is whether renewables can step up to the challenge. Can enough of the rare earth and other elements be extracted to produce gigantic batteries and electric cars and wind turbines now, not in thirty, twenty, or even ten years? As importantly: is renewable energy really free of negative externalities?

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Scientists and climate change activists often acknowledge the need for an unspecified radical transformation of society, if our species is to have a fighting chance at survival.

From where I stand, carbon pricing hardly qualifies as radical.

Moreover, readers may have noticed many questions left hanging in the text above. They are not rhetorical. I left them unanswered because I don’t know the answers nor is my job to answer them.

It’s carbon pricing proponents who need to find answers.

How Climate Change Influenced Australia’s Unprecedented Fires

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/01/2020 - 7:47pm in

Looking harder at the Australia and California fires.

While Some Battle to Save Australia’s Ecosystems, Others Blame Gov’t for Climate Change Denial

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/01/2020 - 4:34am in

Australia is burning. Since September of last year, an area larger than Japan has gone up in flames– more than twelve times the area that the California wildfires of 2018 engulfed. The worst blazes are concentrated in the south and east of the enormous island continent, but every state and territory has been hit. States of emergency have been called in New South Wales and Victoria, as aid agencies and volunteers battle to save property and both human and animal lives. Many have put their lives on hold, dedicating themselves to fighting one of the worst natural disasters in Australian history. The government of Scott Morrison has been condemned for years for ignoring the increasingly alarming warning signs of potentially catastrophic events.

Fires are a natural occurrence in the Australian bush, vital for regeneration. But the intensity and the speed of the blazes, which have been recorded traveling as fast as 40 miles per hour, have staggered those attempting to deal with it. Carolyn Jones from RSPCA South Australia, a charity which treats and rehomes injured animals, told MintPress News that, “The scale of wildlife and habitat devastation from these fires is unlike anything we have experienced,” adding that she fears that the bushfires have driven many native species to extinction. Josh Meadows from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), an environmental group numbering some 600,000 members, agrees: 

Conservative estimates by scientists suggest more than a billion native animals have been killed so far. Huge areas of habitat have been destroyed, meaning many animals that have survived the fires are now struggling to get enough food and water.” 

Australia koala fire

Dr. Kothari treats a badly injured koala. Photo | RSPCA South Australia

Australia contains incredible natural beauty, from temperate rainforests to deserts to long mountain ranges, and possesses extraordinary biodiversity, with huge numbers of mammals, birds and reptiles evolving uniquely from the rest of the world in the more than 10 million years the landmass has been separated from others. However, much of it is under grave threat. 

MintPress News followed the RSPCA’s attempts on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, (the country’s third-largest island), an area hit by particularly intense fires. It was home to over 25,000 koala bears, the only population in the world free from the endemic diseases of mainland koalas. Over 32,000 of the island’s livestock have already been confirmed dead. Dr. Gayle Kothari, a veterinarian with the RSPCA said that they were being inundated with dozens of animals. Staff are currently doing their best with limited resources to treat and ease the pain of a wide range of wildlife they find.

Many animals are in a state of shock; severely dehydrated, confused and hungry. Some arrive with terrible burns to their faces, skin or hands and need regular bandage changes and pain relief. When the RSPCA first arrived they had no electricity so they treated animals by torchlight. In lieu of a proper field hospital, they have had to improvise; “Every koala that gets an anesthetic is given subcutaneous fluids from a drip, and in the absence of a drip pump or a drip stand, we used a ladder and managed to get a rope over one of the beams on the roof of the shed,” Dr. Kothari said. Without cages, animals are placed in baskets lined with blankets after surgery. Their efforts have been stymied by the fires themselves, which forced them to evacuate the island earlier this month.

Australia koala fire

A badly injured koala is treated for burns. Photo | RSPCA South Australia

Jones told MintPress, “Our teams of expert staff are working in coordination with expert animal rescuers and carers from other organizations. It is an ongoing team effort by tireless and compassionate people to save as many animals as possible.” However, for many, it is already too late. Meadows suggests that the Kangaroo Island dunnart, a marsupial found only on the island, may have been driven to extinction, while he fears that the koala population across the southeast of the country has been decimated. RSPCA South Australia are currently raising funds – online donations can be made here. Dr. Kothari says the money will go towards providing lifesaving treatment to animals, many of whom need weeks of care, revegetating the island and supporting wildlife rehabilitation groups. 

Australia koala fire

Injured koalas rest in the Parndana triage center. Photo | RSPCA South Australia

 

A Changing Climate

The increasingly hard to ignore background to the fires is a swiftly changing climate. Australia’s average temperature has increased by over 1°C over the last century. Before the fires began, the country was already suffering through its hottest and driest year on record, and things have got hotter still, with both the capital Canberra and the largest city, Sydney, experiencing all-time temperature highs this month. The western suburbs of Sydney reached over 120°F, replete with winds of over 60 mph on January 4. Many, not least the ACF, have pointed the finger at the government of Scott Morrison.

“This fire season has been a devastating wake-up call for many Australians. People who may have thought climate change was a vague, distant threat are now breathing bushfire smoke and reeling from the lives lost, the thousands of houses destroyed and the death of a possible billion native animals,” Meadows said. 

The ACF released a press statement claiming Morrison had been bought off by the Australian fossil fuel lobby:

While our country burns on a scale and intensity never seen before, the Morrison government refuses to address the root cause – burning polluting fuels like coal… Coal, oil and gas companies donate big money to Australian political parties, buying access to decision-makers to block climate action and keep burning dirty fuels,” its CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy said.

The annual Climate Change Performance Index ranks Australia as one of the poorest performing countries on global warming, the index scoring Australia’s climate policy as the worst of all countries in the world. The country has seen huge protests over the past year over the building of more mines and coal power plants that assure that the world will not reach the required levels to stave off the worst effects of climate change. 

Morrison himself, while giving the go ahead to more fossil-fuel-burning power stations, personally attacked teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg, accusing her of spreading “needless anxiety” about climate change, suggesting that children were being propagandized into becoming environmental zealots. His government contains a number of outright climate change deniers who float disinformation and block efforts to reduce Australia’s CO2 emissions. In 2017, while Treasurer, Morrison axed funding to the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, the organization telling The Guardian that Australia was now in no position to respond to climate emergencies. 

While fake news spreads faster than the bushfires – conspiracy theories abound that arsonists, the Islamic State, or even China started the fires – the “real news” coverage of the catastrophe has not been much better. There has been a distinct reluctance to contextualize the fires as a consequence of global warming in both Australian and American corporate media, all of whom are either owned by or are funded through advertisements from heavy carbon-producing corporations. As one media watchdog put it: “Australia Wildfire Coverage Is Long on Koalas, Short on Causes.”

 

The Human Cost 

The fires have released an estimated 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. While firefighters have managed to extinguish some bushfires, others rage on; last week two merged to create a “megafire” measuring over 1.5 million acres. The smoke released is choking the country; microscopic, toxic particles released into the air are causing severe respiratory problems across the nation, as particles enter the human bloodstream and internal organs. The death toll officially stands at 28. However, long after the blazes have been extinguished, complications from smoke inhalation and mental illness induced by trauma will continue to take theirs.

Nearly 3,000 homes have been destroyed and countless numbers have been evacuated. Included in those were the residents of Mallacoota, Victoria, who spent New Year’s Eve trapped on the beach, as fires raged around the coastal town and smoke turned the sky orange. The clouds of smoke have traveled across New Zealand and the Pacific and have reached as far as South America, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Virtually every Australian has been affected, as fires rage across the country, in particular in the more densely populated southeastern states. Both Melbourne and Sydney have been engulfed in choking hazes. The fires have brought into sharp relief Australia’s vulnerability to climate change, with many with the opportunity considering permanently leaving. And as the country gets hotter, disasters on a similar scale will become a more regular occurrence. 

Money has been pouring in in the form of donations worldwide, not least from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who donated three minutes’ income to help the operations. Heavy rain in the southeast has finally extinguished some of the blazes. But for residents of Melbourne, it was out of the frying pan and into the fire, as torrents of rain caused severe flooding today, reminding all that, no matter how much we fool ourselves, we are all subject to the elements. Without a substantial change in policy, rescue workers like those on Kangaroo Island will be fighting an uphill battle in the future.

Feature photo | Dr. Gayle Kothari, a veterinarian with the RSPCA, inspects damage from wildfires on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Photo | RSPCA South Australia

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post While Some Battle to Save Australia’s Ecosystems, Others Blame Gov’t for Climate Change Denial appeared first on MintPress News.

Good News As Millions Of Spiders And Other Dickhead Animals Die In Bushfires

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/01/2020 - 8:23am in

spider

A positive has emerged from Australia’s summer of bushfires as scientists report that countless spiders, ticks, ants and other dickhead animals have perished in the flames.

“Those little eight legged bastards can scuttle as fast as they want but they won’t be able to outrun a rampaging fire front,” reported a cackling Professor Aristotle Knid from the Department Of Dickhead Animal Studies at the University of Wangaratta. “It’s a great tragedy that so many cuddly animals like koalas and sheep have been killed but on the bright side a truckload of brush turkeys and ibises have also gone down.”

“With any luck Australia’s population of bitey green ants, feral rats and blowflies may never recover from this,” said Dr Carrie P. Crawley, Curator of Annoying Prick Animals at Taronga Zoo. “Of the fifty million dollars allocated to wildlife recovery I’m hoping not a red cent goes towards bringing back any plovers.”

Marine biologists are keeping their fingers crossed that thousands of bluebottles and toadfish have been scooped up out of the ocean by water bombing planes and dropped directly onto the flames.

Peter Green

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter or like us on facebook

Cartoon: Demonize the eco-wise

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 11:50pm in

For more, see this NY Times article.

Help sustain these comics — join the Sorensen Subscription Service!

Follow me on Twitter at @JenSorensen

George Christensen Organises Fundraiser For Filipino Victims Of The Australian Bushfires

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 1:10pm in

George Christensen

The Morrison Government’s Minister for Manila George Christensen has been kept busy trying to organise a fundraiser for Filipino victims of the Australian bushfires.

“The bushfires in Australia are taking an horrific toll not just here but abroad,” said the Minister for Manila. “Many reputable business people like Myself have had to cut short or even cancel our trips to the Philippines.”

“That is a lot of lost revenue for the Philippines, whether it be from people booking hotels, visiting bars or even just dining with the local ladies……..or gentlemen.”

When asked why he was more concerned with raising funds for the Philippines than for everyday quiet Australians, the Minister for Manila said: “There’s a lot George Christensen to go around.”

“Of course I want to help everyday Australians but I can’t risk that some of my cash could go towards helping a Greenie or worse an inner city leftie. If I’m raising funds for the Philippines then at least I know which girl, er person my cash is going towards.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to troll some lefties on Twitter.”

Mark Williamson

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

Jeff Bezos Donates Three Minutes’ Income to Help Australia Fight Wildfires

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 5:39am in

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the newly crowned richest person in the world, announced Sunday on his Instagram page that his company was donating one million Australian Dollars (around 690,000 U.S. Dollars) to help the country deal with the continent-wide fires ravaging the nation. “Our hearts go out to all Australians as they cope with these devastating bushfires,” he wrote. Amazon also pledged to provide technical support to government agencies dealing with the emergency. The gesture gained him a great deal of priceless positive press across the world, with headlines linking him and Amazon to solidarity with people in need. “World’s richest man’s generous bushfire act” read the headline in one local Australian outlet.

View this post on Instagram

Our hearts go out to all Australians as they cope with these devastating bushfires. Amazon is donating 1 million AU dollars in needed provisions and services. Find more about it and learn how customers can help as well. Link in bio.

A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos) on Jan 11, 2020 at 10:17pm PST

To many people worldwide, one million dollars is an almost incomprehensibly large and life changing sum. But to Bezos, who became the world’s first centi-billionaire in 2018, the amount represents a very small contribution to an urgent catastrophe affecting an entire continent. Bezos earns a reported $230,000 every minute. Considering these figures, the 690,000 U.S. Dollar donation represents just three minutes’ income for the business and media magnate. As a comparison, would somebody who earned $500 per week make an announcement on social media that they had just donated five cents to help tackle the blazes? Because that is what they would earn, on average, every three minutes.

In this context, Bezos’ donation appears to be far less a generous gift to the people of Australia but a cold, calculated public relations move, designed to ward off increasing organized resistance to his enormous wealth. 

Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sander has targeted Bezos specifically and declared that “billionaires shouldn’t exist.” As MintPress reported last month, despite the supposed generous philanthropy of billionaires like Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, they continue to accumulate wealth at an almost exponential rate. Just as reports about Amazon workers’ poor pay and shocking working conditions were surfacing, Bezos declared that the only way he could see to spend the financial resources he accrued was to explore the solar system and beyond. Sharing the profit with his beleaguered workforce appears to genuinely not have occurred to him. 

Linsey McGoey, Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex, UK, told MintPress that, “philanthropy can and is being used deliberately to divert attention away from different forms of economic exploitation that underpin global inequality today.”

Bezos’ donation appears somewhat Scrooge-like in comparison to other public figures who have also donated. Media personality Kylie Jenner donated $1 million. Meanwhile, singer Pink gave away around one percent of her estimated fortune ($500,000). He was also bested by the Instagram model and sex worker Kaylen Ward, as the Californian raised over $700,000 promising to send naked pictures to anyone who proved they donated over $10 to a bush fire charity. Ward’s Instagram account was later suspended.

https://twitter.com/betty__cam/status/1196933769862643713?ref_src=twsrc%...

Bezos is keenly aware of his public image and uses his media network to control public attitudes towards him and his business empire. Media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting have consistently found that the Bezos owned Washington Post gives their owner and his companies extremely positive press.

While celebrities line up to donate to high profile causes like the Notre Dame Cathedral fire or the fires continuing to rage in Australia, other disasters in developing countries, far away from TV cameras, are not receiving the same attention. Flooding in Indonesia has killed more than twice as many people as in Australia, with little outcry and insufficient international help.

The Australian bushfires have resulted in 27 reported deaths – mostly in the state of New South Wales – as an area the size of Tennessee has been burned. Over one billion animals are estimated to have been killed as well. But while temperature and fire records are set, both Australian and American media fail to make the connection between the catastrophe and human-induced climate change. Amazon itself is a serious contributor to climate change: the company has a massive carbon footprint, producing over 44 million metric tons of carbon per year.

Rain and cooler temperatures are scheduled for this week in New South Wales, but authorities say that it is unlikely to be a solution to the blazes. Neither is Bezos’ donation.

Feature photo | Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos answers questions during his news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Sept. 19, 2019. Pablo Martinez Monsivais | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Jeff Bezos Donates Three Minutes’ Income to Help Australia Fight Wildfires appeared first on MintPress News.

The Interview (Updated).

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/01/2020 - 8:29pm in

(source)
That journalists love a scoop is a fact so well-known it has become a commonplace.

So, when last Sunday ABC journos were given an unscheduled opportunity to interview Scott Morrison (no doubt with little notice and by someone close enough to the man himself), it is understandable that they were eager to seize the opportunity.

And, given the tragedy of apocalyptic proportions that has hit Australia (and indeed how unusual the situation appears to an outsider like yours truly) it was reasonable to expect not only a big announcement, but The Big Announcement.

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I get up early every morning. The first thing I’ve been doing in the last months is to turn the TV on, to learn of the latest disaster. Call me masochist. I was watching. I saw the “Weekend Breakfast” crew advertising the surprising interview earlier that morning (it must have been between 0600 and 0700 AEDT). I saw the interview (at 0830). The excitement in the young reporter’s voice and expression was reasonable; as was the perplexity in the more veteran interviewer.

The same disbelief is evident in David Speers’ account of the interview (my emphasis):

“Asked three times, the Prime Minister refused to rule out increasing Australia's target to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 under the Paris Agreement.”

Anyway, this is how Speers sums up Morrison’s answers. While I don’t quite agree on everything, I am just a low-paid worker and an outsider and Speers was there doing what he does for a living.

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Michelle Grattan has been around for a while. She’s seen many things and learned from them. I think her assessment, a month ago, was prescient:

“Morrison is the ultimate pragmatist and so, if he sees it in his interest, he may well be willing to readjust. Not radically, nor quickly. Just enough, as and when he judges it, to satisfy middle-ground voters.

“He did a little of this before the election when he topped up funding for ‘direct action’ and advanced pumped hydro, although some read more into the shift than was there.”

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So, my assessment of Morrison’s “adjustments”? His big announcement?

Firstly, as former Liberal Stephen O’Doherty remarked after the interview, Morrison now talks of climate change and bushfires openly, without appealing to Michael McCormack’s “self-combusting piles of manure” or paranoid conspiracy theories. This is a step in the right direction, I guess, and it may anger some of the rabid freaks in the COALition ranks: from the higher-ups like McCormack himself and Matt Canavan through Keith Pitt, George Christensen, Craig Kelly, Barnaby Joyce and Giovanni “John” Barilaro, down to nobodies like Michael Pengilly.

Secondly, Morrison wants to persuade us he gets it, as Speers says. Moreover, he wants to persuade us he cares. His trademark crooked smirk -- the “coal lump” smirk -- is gone as is gone his off-hand, contemptuous dismissal of questions (“Gossip!”, “Canberra bubble!”); he now insists on shaking all hands (even unfriendly ones). He makes a show of humility; he’s suddenly understanding and forgiving. How persuasive that was? It’s for you to answer.

Thirdly, he may or may not call a royal commission which -- at best -- will provide plenty of theatre during a year or two and a report which will be promptly left to dust; and -- at worst -- will be a witch hunt and rubber stamp destructive practices the rabid freaks want. (Update: thank you, Pauline Hanson, for your unbeatable illustration of that last point.)

As I see it, after months of bushfires, that’s it. That’s as far as Scott Morrison will shift his stance and that because it is in his interest.

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Against numerous denials from Morrison and his lackeys, others insist on reading more in his words. Perhaps they are right. They may have inside information. Honestly, I wish they were, although I suspect there is more than a little wishful thinking there.

For, most of all, what I heard was Scott Morrison parroting zombie-like the mantra he and his COALition henchmen have been parroting forever now: “meet and beat our targets”, or a slight variation thereof. One must have been comatose or catatonic to have not heard the same inane phrase.

And one doesn’t need psychic powers to know that there was no thought in Morrison’s head beyond the need to control political damage and empty talking points that everybody, Morrison included, knows are false.

New Songbirds Discovered in Indonesia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/01/2020 - 1:55am in

Scientists announce discovery of ten new types of songbirds on a cluster of tiny Indonesian islands close to the Wallace Line.

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