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Federal

Apr 13, 2012

Brown: our most successful third-party pollie

Bob Brown ends his long and successful parliamentary career with the Greens at the peak of their power. Christine Milne has been handed awesome responsibility.

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Bob Brown ends his long and successful parliamentary career with the Greens at the peak of their power.

The former medical practitioner has travelled the long journey from the United Tasmania Group, which won just under 4% of the vote in the 1972 state election, to leader of the party with the balance of power in the Senate, a deal with a minority government and a House of Representatives seat.

After a medical career, Brown served 10 years in the Tasmanian parliament (taking his seat the day after he was released from prison for protesting against the Franklin Dam) and, as he would do in the Senate, oversaw the rise of the Greens to balance-of-power status in Tasmania.

Brown entered the Senate in 1996 and was, from 1998 to 2001, the sole Greens representative (and parliament’s first openly gay member). A decade later, he leaves the Senate with nine Greens senators, after the Greens Senate vote reached 13% in 2010.

At a time when politics is increasingly professionalised and parties are pushing younger, less experienced people into senior positions, Brown was a traditional conviction politician, forthright in attacking the most sacred of cows in Australian public policy on economics, the media and foreign policy, including challenging George W. Bush when he addressed Parliament. He most recently attracted criticism for his now-famous “fellow earthians” speech arguing for a global parliamentary democracy.

What was missed by most commentators was that the speech was to a Greens party conference; when Barnaby Joyce plays to his party’s base it is seen as canny retail politics; when Brown did the same, it was “looney left” stuff.

A key challenge from the rise of the Greens to balance of power status (and the spread of Greens senators to all states) has been managing expectations from the party’s base — which varies significantly in different states, with the Australian Greens still notionally being a composite of separate state parties. But this was deftly managed in relation to the carbon price with Christine Milne convincing Labor to establish an all-party process to develop a package, enabling the Greens to shape the package from the outset, which led to a significant array of “direction action” measures, including a massive Clean Energy Finance Corporation investment vehicle.

The result is that, so far, the threat of alienating the party base through the necessary compromises that come from the balance of power has yet to eventuate. “I’ve always waited for a protest outside our window saying we’re too weak,” Brown told Crikey recently, “but I find myself in a situation where we’re taking a stronger stand on environmental issues than key mainstream long-established environment group — I never thought I’d find myself in that position.”

Despite media portrayals of him as a soft liberal, Brown’s early political experience was torrid.

“Twenty years ago I could not go up the street without getting abused,” he said. “Quite a lot of it was homophobic abuse, but it was coming out of the fact that I was an environmentalist, wanting to change the economic direction, the skill set and the employment base of this state … it was threatening, it was abusive, it was foul language, car windows down when people drove up the street … having the personal wherewithal to go through that sort of ever-present abuse … is a bit of a crucible for toughening up and a bit of a learning curve.

“But,” he added, “I’m not in Syria.” And, he says, now he has the opposite problem of being stopped by well wishers.

With the carbon pricing package about to start and the party at historic levels of strength federally, Brown leaves politics as the most successful non-major party politician of his generation, having twice built up a parliamentary third-party presence to balance-of-power levels.

Brown’s Tasmanian colleague Christine Milne will succeed Brown; like him, Milne has considerable state parliamentary experience and led the Tasmanian Greens in coalition with the Liberals in the 1990s (after succeeding Brown). It was Milne who drove the Greens’ involvement in the carbon pricing package.

But she is less of a party icon than Brown, and the Greens will be closely watched to see whether the leadership transition sees more fractures within a diverse party room and membership.

University of Tasmania economist Peter Whish-Wilson, who was second on the Greens Tasmanian Senate ticket at the 2010 election, is the likely replacement if he wants Brown’s spot; Whish-Wilson is highly regarded within the party.

Brown today rightly declared himself proud to be leaving the leadership of a growing party. But he is less optimistic about the overall direction of progressive politics currently.

Progressive politics, he told Crikey, is in a “stunning and very troubling retreat … it’s being totally eclipsed by the power of the corporations … I see this disconnect where people are so frustrated with politics generally that they don’t see that there’s any hope in the political arena whereas there is no hope anywhere else.

“The simplistic dictum I have is democracy or guns, take your pick, and if you’re gonna be in a community movement, you have to relate to the politicians.”

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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190 comments

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190 thoughts on “Brown: our most successful third-party pollie

  1. Are you absolutely certain that the Greens are at the peak of their power? Sounds a little Andrew “Bob Brown’s decision to quit leaves the Australian Greens with nowhere to go but down” Boltish.

  2. Bob Brown can rightly be credited for his very good political leadership and spectacular success. Though some may argue that the hung parliament gave him an unprecidented opportunity, lesser politicians would not have capitalised on it with the skill and conviction that Brown used.

    He’s definitley not my cup of tea politically, but one has to acknowledge talent when one sees it.

  3. Worst time ever for him to leave, seriously.

    He’s effectively deputy Prime Minister of Australia and now he’s handing it over to Christine Milne who we have no idea will behave. Meanwhile in comes a Carbon Tax the Greens demanded Labor introduce within a few weeks and Labor are polling at disastrous levels and look to be wiped out politically across the nation.

    But then again why stick around to watch the mess you have created when you can retire on a big fat taxpayer funded salary?

  4. I predict greater support for the Greens federally and at state level in the coming years and the change to Christine Milne will give the party an extra boost. Milne is an intelligent and excellent media performer.

    One of the great disparities of our system is that the Greens fail to win lower house seats despite huge support. Evidneced by the ludicrous situation in QLD where a party can sweep the board with just 49% of the vote.

    It has always been a mystery to me why country people vote for a fool like Barnaby Joyce and his party which continually betray their interests when the Greens would be far better choice but as crikey correctly points out, Barnaby with his haysead act is treated seriously while the very moderate Greens have editorials written in the Australian saying they must be destroyed.

  5. Why would a star like Bob Brown leave his party of neophytes at this crucial point?

    Brown’s hubris after Abbott rolled Turnbull (echoed by most progressives and the media), in which he predicted the Greens would supplant Labour and progressive Tories in seats like Higgins would vote Green, has crumbled. He’s looked tired for months. Brown is too intelligent not to realise that he mistook an accident of history (Gillard and minority govt) for a worm-hole through political time: a unique opportunity to impose a carbon tax. A fatal temptation. The ALP is paying the price, but with Gillard gone and the ALP a rump, Labour will turn on the Greens. There are no carbon warriors among ex-union officials who, as it happens, sit in safe seats. The Greens will be lucky to maintain their 10% of the vote, as I’ve said here for the past two years.

    Milne is exactly the leader you don’t want. Sonorous, dignified Brown, forever a genuine hero of the Franklin and the forests, threw it all away on climate millenarianism. Milne is the shrill, rasping, cliched voice of the climate zealot- spruiking a cause which is already lost. Worse, neglecting the parlous state of the real environment now threatened by a resurgent Right.

    Milne has the poisoned chalice and will drain every drop.

    Milne will be dumped after the election (or leave a la Brown). Hanson-Young was checkmated by Brown’s tactical move this time, but it makes no difference who rules- no one will take the Greens seriously until they’ve liberated themselves from climate extremism.

  6. A dam good article Bernard, obviously done under time and deadline pressure.
    Although Brown is not my political first choice, I do acknowledge, willingly, he has served this nation well throughout his tenure.

  7. [“Geewizz you are a sad individual and no doubt a wholly owned subsidiary of the whinging LNP. It’s always other peoples money.”]

    No No No. Hang on. Some people out here in the real world actually run business and make money and then they pay taxes. It’s not always “someone elses money”, there are people who actually produce wealth for this country…. small, medium and big business… just the sort of go-getters the Greens Party hate with a vengence.

    They hate us, but they love our money. They want to tax us more at every point for daring to be successful, the Greens hate successful business, but they love our money. Do they ever praise business for the wealth they generate? No they attack it then put their hands out for another handout. They sure love people who bludge off the hard work of others.

    BTW because of the Carbon Tax, Campbell Newman is pulling out of the Southern Hemispheres largest solar project near Chincilla to the tune of $75 Million Dollars. I’m wondering just how many dollars the Greens members and the party themselves have invested in the project with their own money, because from what I can gather… not 1 red cent of Greens money has gone into it.

  8. geewizz is right re the timing of Bob Brown’s retirement, but from my viewpoint no time would have been good,as
    he stood tall for his commitment to a better Australia and will be sorely missed.
    Congratulations Bob and thanks for being there and making a difference. It took GUTS to do what you have achieved.

  9. @ Geewizz, 1.55pm: ‘But then again why stick around to watch the mess you have created when you can retire on a big fat taxpayer funded salary?’

    You’re right again, Wizzie! The nerve of that Bob Brown – no other politician from any Australian political party has ever retired on a taxpayer funded salary before, it’s an outrage against democracy and the Free World.

  10. [“So, when Liberal Governmentss spend, what do they use for money- their own? Gosh.”]

    Money generated from business for whom they endlessly thank and try and cut taxes and redtape to make it easier for them to do business.

    The Greens meanwhile endlessly attack business and then complain they aren’t getting enough of our money to spend. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

  11. Something’s missing in the comments here…

    Oh, I know!

    Suzanne Blake
    Something, something, Gillard lies, something something, Swan credibility

    Ahh, that’s better…

  12. For those who missed, Bob Brown explained why he is retiring now. Basically it is because in June or July the nominations for the next 6 years of the senate are due. It was probably a fairly easy decision for him to decide not to do another 6 years. Retiring now gives the Tasmanian branch time to prepare to nominate someone new.

    I think Bob Brown’s greatest achievement is maintaining integrity throughout his political career. Many don’t agree with his values, but all thinking people should acknowledge that Bob was always true to his values.

    Thanks Bernard for so quickly writing an article to celebrate Bob’s retirement.

  13. i really hope they don’t succumb to infighting, as has been reported (although i’ve learned never to take medias speculation too seriously). that would be sad, i think bob brown had a stabilising influence and i hope they party can consolidate now and keep up the momentum.

  14. Take a minute to marvel at Frank Campbell, folks. The same Frank Campbell who rails against climate science while claiming to be a Greens supporter.

  15. The Greens can’t spend anything at all. They can only vote for or against government spending bills.

    Gee is obviously 12 years old and as ignorant as anyone who ever put fingers on a keyboard.

    Bob Brown is an amazing human being and I hope he remains a loud environmentalist and human rights campaigner.

  16. “spending other peoples money” like a government spending taxes? or a political party spending corporate donations? what the hell are you talking about?

  17. @MICHAEL WILBUR-HAM (MWH)
    “I think Bob Brown’s greatest achievement is maintaining integrity throughout his political career. Many don’t agree with his values, but all thinking people should acknowledge that Bob was always true to his values.”

    Much the same could be said of Hitler, Robert Mugabe, Stalin, any of the Kims, most serial killers, etc.

    Consistency in folly is not a virtue.

  18. “not 1 red cent of Greens money has gone into it” how much of any of the two major parties’ money do you think goes into anything except their own advertising???

  19. The biggest nutjob in Australian political history has finally seen the light or felt the probe and is off before the whole damn thing collapses around his feet. A Green vote is a vote for insanity, this raving lunatic has made a fool of us all in the eyes of the world. Bob Brown will now have a pleasant time watching Dr Who in retirement and allow the Labor Party to hang themselves over the course of the next 12 months without his assistance! Bob Brown knew this Government hit the Iceberg and is sinking fast. Insane policies, insane thinking and an insane leader now thankfully gone!

  20. @Stiofan – is your post meant to make sense?

    Surely the ideal of democracy is that people stand for parliament espousing a clear position and we can vote for the person who best represents our values. Bob Brown has always made clear what he stands for, and has always remained true to his values. You might not agree with what Bob Brown wants, but it has always been clear what he stands for.

    Compare this with both Labor and Liberal. For example I challenge any Liberal supporter to tell me what Abbott would do on climate change actions if elected. And even the strongest Labor supporter must admit that Labor has suffered from over spinning what it is doing.

    Yet I challenge anyone to come up with a good example of Bob Brown being anything other than honest.

  21. And stand by for a torrent of Green-hatred from the MSM in the next few days. Like many of the comments here, it won’t make sense, but it will make up for it in vehemence.

  22. What would be funny if it were not so serious, is how the MSM (including I suspect the ABC and The Age) will make a HUGE fuss over any leadership uncertainties in the Greens over the coming years, and act as if this proves that the Greens are doomed.

    Yet ‘won by one vote’ Abbott will be leading a stable party, and some of us might remember some recent leadership issues in the Labor party.

    Perhaps we will get the first of this nonsense in the reporting of who gets the deputy leader role.

  23. Keane says: “With the carbon pricing package about to start and the party at historic levels of strength federally, Brown leaves politics as the most successful non-major party politician of his generation…”

    Bernard’s missed the point. By using his accidentally acquired power to enshrine the carbon tax and “clean energy'” fantasy, Brown has condemned the Greens to a long decline. And consigned Gillard to the rubbish bin of history.

  24. Keane’s logic is inverted:
    “this was deftly managed in relation to the carbon price with Christine Milne convincing Labor to establish an all-party process to develop a package, enabling the Greens to shape the package from the outset, which led to a significant array of “direction action” measures, including a massive Clean Energy Finance Corporation investment vehicle.
    The result is that, so far, the threat of alienating the party base through the necessary compromises that come from the balance of power has yet to eventuate. ”

    Well of course. The Greens got more from Gillard than they could ever have imagined. Gillard stared at personal political oblivion after the 2010 election result. If you think Latham is reviled by the ALP, that’s mild compared to what would have been Gillard’s fate if the ALP had been forced into Opposition.
    She had to capitulate to the climate demands of the Greens. A Faustian bargain.
    Brown knows the game is up.

  25. [““spending other peoples money” like a government spending taxes? or a political party spending corporate donations? what the hell are you talking about?”]

    Marcus my point is that the Greens are constantly attacking people who generate wealth in this country and then want a handout from them.

    I’ve yet to see a Greenie drop any of their own money into renewable energy projects yet, always after another taxpayer handout.

  26. Frank is not only wrong about climate change, but he also has his politics totally wrong.

    Frank says that the Greens are doomed because they support action on climate change.

    There are many in the community who deny climate change. How many of these people would change their vote to Green if the Greens changed their mind on climate change? Very few.

    But how many people who now vote Green would stop voting Green if the Greens denied climate change? I’m sure that it is doing what Frank wants that would doom the Greens.

    We can also ask how many in the community support action on climate change yet don’t yet vote Green? The answer is many more than currently vote Green. So on the issue of climate change the Greens have a large pool of potential voters.

    It is interesting to note that those who deny climate change tend to be totally illogical in other areas as well. Frank might not like the Green’s view on climate change, but his opinion that they are doomed because of this is pure madness.

  27. [“how much of any of the two major parties’ money do you think goes into anything except their own advertising???”]

    Thats why Campbell Newman pulled out of the project… it’s a leftwing project by Greenies… why should the QLD Taxpayer pay for it?

    If the Greens want to be taken seriously they need to start dropping their own money into these projects not someone elses.

  28. @MICHAEL WILBUR-HAM (MWH)
    You seem to regard consistency as a virtue, regardless of the content: “Bob Brown has always made clear what he stands for, and has always remained true to his values. ”

    Hitler always made it clear that he was out to get the Jews, a position he maintained to his dying day. Does that make Hitler praiseworthy?

  29. While not a supporter of the Greens, I too acknowledge the humanity and decency of Bob Brown. What you see (hear?) is what you get with that man. A few others would do well to watch him and learn.
    Having said that, Christine Milne is not, and never will be, a leader of the calibre of Bob Brown. And she has to contend with a squabbling pack of ego-driven (mostly) females of the Sarah HY variety – all just waiting, impatiently, to replace her.
    I agree with those who say that there is only one way for the Greens from here on in – slow death – the same fate as the Democrats. These “flash-in-the-pan” third parties always go too far, and the carbon tax is the Greens “too far”. While I absolutely agree that something had to be done about climate change and pricing carbon, their way has been a total disaster, especially for the Labor Party.

  30. Michael,
    As I understand it, if elected, Tony Abbott would directly interven in major carbon polluting industries to reduce their emmissions, such as converting brown coal power stations in the Latrobe Valley to gas.

    This is not very orthodox coming from the right of politics but it does have the handy benefit of actually reducing carbon emmissions, something Bob Brown’s tax with all its wealth redustribution elements, will not do.

  31. Bob Brown – a class act.

    I was most impressed by the anecdote he slept under his work desk at the end of arduous campaigning days, to protect a wonderful heritage, that some called a leech ridden ditch.

    I can speculate on many implications of the announcement today but for now, a simple thanks for BB’s contribution will have to do.

    As for Sally Neighbour’s piece in the The Monthly – tightly written but she got some things wrong. For Example it was Lee Rhiannon’s love affair with Geof Ash a refugee from the ALP of the 80ies that drew her into The Greens. To not write up architect and numbers man Geof’s role in the foundation of the The Greens (NSW) evidences an incomplete and thus flawed understanding of the biggest branch of the Greens nationally (I presume being the biggest population centre).

  32. Bob Brown is smart, he sees the writing on the wall for The Extreme Greens.

    They vote in Queensland went back over 1%, and they picked none of the 15+% swing against Labor. He realised that if this is matched Nationally, his legacy will be dented.

    Very smart move on his behalf.

  33. I well remember the incident, many years ago now, when BB was assaulted by red-neck loggers in an incident which made international news. We were in a quite crowded pub and the video news came on TV. A couple of yobs made loud comments along the lines of “ya…kill the p**fter”, or words to that effect. Thankfully most of those there went quiet and got a bit reflective at what they’d seen – a peaceful, fairly frail looking man being manhandled by big fat cowards. Fortunately a few people spoke up about what had happened, noting that it was not the Australian way to attack defenceless people with whom you disagree. I reckon 90% of people in that pub were not greens, but just about everyone agreed with that sentiment. I’m a Tasmanian so I’ve seen and heard a lot about BB and his politics and the way he has presented himself. AFAIK there has never been a shred of doubt that his integrity and honesty is untainted – which is a pretty big call in Tassie where the Laberals are all beholding to big business and vested interests. His leaving politics will leave a big hole in Australian politics. Unfortunately for Christine Milne, she is filling very big shoes. Also to her detriment is the fact that she is a woman with a voice that grates many (a bit like someone else). Although CM is enormously intelligent and talented with an equally unblemished political background, I can’t see her as being as effective as BB. I wish her luck however.

  34. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/a-bit-rich-unions-fight-over-huge-salaries/story-e6frea6u-1226325369748

    Here is a small aside – Jackson’s pay is $270,000 per annum + that volvo while she cries poor.

    Sarah Hanson-Young is not remotely radical.

    She is a good christian young woman raised in a small town on the banks of the Murray whose first job out of uni. was to work for a pittance at Amnesty international.

    I have known Sarah for the past 10 years and she has always been mature beyond her years and extremely sensible.

    It seems the tea party trolls think anyone left of Ghenghis Khan is some sort of ‘radical”.

    Name all her radical ideas.

    Come on trolls.

    Name them.

  35. I tip my hat to Bob Brown and express my agreement with the article and other positive comments about Brown expressed by others above . He was truly a strong, courageous, principled and just politician who left others in the shade.

    A man who supported the working man, the small business man, and had the courage of his convictions to stare stare big capital in the eye. Can’t think of another contemporary politician who has done that.

  36. Would today’s flight by Qantas powered by a mixture of avaition fuel and re-cycled restaurant oil, have occurred had it not been for the pressure put on Australian companies to become less dependant on fossil fuels and to adopt green alternatives?
    If Bob Brown’s legacy is that Australia moves into renewables, changes its energy consumption habits and becomes a leader in climate awareness, then whether the Green’s fold or not will be irrevelant.

  37. @ Lilac

    Bob Brown’s legacy?

    Every Green scheme has been a failure?

    1. Green loans
    2. Cash for clunkers
    3. Solar Rebates (costing everyone)
    4. Green electricity (how many have gone under)
    5. More I can’t recall
    6. The wind turbines, that make noise, blight the landscaoe and have caught fire overseas.

    You will say its not his fault, but he was pushing them.

    His best legacy was Frankline a few decades ago. Nothing recent.

  38. @ SB – your comments are rather hypocritical given that you use solar energy yourself and have saved yourself a sh*tload on energy bills. You have lauded the use of solar energy many a time on this site, a view with which most of us here would agree. I also think you’ll agree that BB has been a major protagonist in pushing Australia down a renewable energy path, including solar energy. I think BB deserves more generosity from you.

  39. The Greens will prosper and unlike the two major parties, they will hold their ground for the next 6 years or do people who read crikey not understand how the Senate works ?.

    No-one should under estimate Bob Brown’s contributions but it was a superbly united Green Party behind him that prospered and took the middle ground left vacant by the Democrats who fatally got into bed with the Coalition.

    It’s wishful thinking that Christine Milne will not perform and conspircay theories on why Brown is leaving now is fantasy. He’s 67-why would he want another 6 year stint that would take him to his 70s. He does deserve a life.

    My prediction on record now-the Greens will inctease their vote in 2013 when people are wary of giving Abbott a clean sweep to decimate worker’s rights.

  40. @ Michael Wilbur-Ham – insightful comments. Re Frank Campbell – you’ll find that FC only ever talks about being a disillusioned Green who no longer follows the ALP/Greens because of their kamikaze political obsession with ‘climate millenarianism’. This theme is repeated ad nauseum in pretty well every post he has ever submitted.

    Yet when challenged about his views, the man is too yellow-bellied to admit that the only energy source he actually supports is the use of is fossil fuels, in particular, coal. Why, you may ask? Well, it fundamentally comes down to him being a climate sceptic. He actually prefers Lord Monkton’s views. He cannot, for some bizarre reason, bring himself to believe in human-induced climate charge arising from green-house gas emissions, as supported by the majority of scientists. Yet, he gets uppity when challenged about his ‘denialism’ – in fact, he goes spare when likened to the man falling off the cliff etc. A very strange egg indeed.

  41. I’m not a Green voter,but as Jeremy Clarkson would say : However…… the thing about Bob he had that light in the eye especially when he was in full flight you went along ’cause he was fun. Christine not so much,more in the “eat your brussel sprouts they are good for you” category.

  42. Looks like working famil ies are up for another round of rate rises under this socialist Greens/Labor Government, ANZ have today increased their mortgage rate yet again.

    Mortgage Rates are now higher than they were in 2006. A Bob Brown/Julia Gillard high spending legacy.

  43. Rinaldo,

    So ANZ *didn’t* just jack up their interest rate to 7.42%?

    LALALA Fingers in the ears…. everything is good out there in voter land… no one has mortgages.

  44. yeeeaaahhhhh, thats what i meant…..

    for real man, do i have to get into this he said/she said business? it’s patently clear what you meant by your post, not to mention the fact that ANZ has openly stated that they’re acting outside the boundaries of official rates, which basically rules out any influence the greens (didn’t) have.

    you’re either completely ignorant of reality, or just trying to troll. i think it’s the latter.

  45. Bob Brown, my sincere thanks for the years of principled service to the environment, to the Greens, to Australian politics and to Australia.

    Had your conteporary politicians half your spine and courage Australian politics and Australia as a whole would be a significantly better place to be a conscious, conscientious place to be.

    Enjoy your retirement, you’ve earned it.

  46. Mortgage Rates are now higher than they were in 2006. A Bob Brown/Julia Gillard high spending legacy.

    By all means, explain how Brown and Gillard can be even vaguely responsible for banks raising interest rates because the foreign funding they rely on is becoming more expensive. I could do with a laugh.

  47. Bob was a gun politician, he capitalised on any opportunity to strengthen his party and gain political power. He was very successful in pushing the Greens agenda, an astute negotiator.

    However, like most of our current crop, he was willing to pursue political goals over the national interest. Had the Greens stood up and passed the Rudd Government CPRS through the Senate, we’d be two years into a market based scheme right now. (Sure, it was a bit piss weak as far as policy goes, but over time, an inch becomes a mile.) Instead, on two separate occasions, his party blocked a major environmental policy initiative, choosing to cynically engineer and exploit its failure into electoral success, at the expense of the only major party willing to have a crack at reducing carbon pollution.

    Now, years on, we’re still waiting for the implementation of a carbon reduction scheme that is arguably no stronger than the original. Bob’s political skill was rewarded with a seat in the House of Reps and a good Senate showing to boot. Too bad for the environment though.

    I would also question the conviction politician plaudit, as it was never really tested as leader of the Greens. Any party that doesn’t hold Government doesn’t have to deliver on anything. From the cheap seats, it’s easy to deal in absolutes, never having to compromise with multiple stakeholders and powerful interests. It’s not a criticism of Bob, he can hardly be held responsible for a two party system, and he was never afraid of arrest like any good activist, but it needs to be considered in any fair appraisal of his legacy.

    All in all, Bob was a politician just like the rest of them. Albeit, a very good one. All the best to Bob in the next stage of his life.

  48. Unfortunately this is about five years too soon.

    The Anglosphere is on the edge of a massive collapse resulting from the last few decades’ shift to right-wing politics and policies. As the only remotely left-wing party in Australia, the Greens could have benefited hugely from this by offering policies that are functional, sustainable, and aimed at improving the entire country and cemented themselves into a genuine third-party position with 25%+ representation.

    Without Brown at the helm, it’s very questionable whether they’ll be able to last long without the more extreme elements taking over. If they follow in the footsteps of the Democrats and self-destruct, it will be dark days ahead for Australia as we complete our transformation into a copy of America’s two-faces-of-the-same-party political structure.

    I’m glad I have the resources to be able to relocate to another, saner country if that happens. I feel for those who do not.

  49. Dear GEEWIZ,

    You have clearly never met anyone trying to work in the renewable energy sector. They are all extremely passionate people that pour all of their time and money into it. The difference is they aren’t born into money that they can pour into whatever project/campaign they wish. And they may not be ‘creating jobs’ right now but they are creating jobs in the future. Unlike our mining industry which is run by a bunch of rich kids using their money to buy land and then pay people to dig it up. What happens when the minerals run out? There is no backup plan beyond their own foul decadent lives.

    Yours truly,

    Someone who was not born with a silver spoon and is trying to make this country a better place not rape it for all its worth and put it in my own pocket then retire to fat and bloated to the Bahamas when our country is an empty shell

  50. @tDANBILLIN,

    Do you know why the Greens opposed the CPRS in the form that it was put to parliament?

    Labor likes to present this as the Greens being evil. But does this make any sense, especially when introducing a price on carbon was the price demanded by the Greens for supporting Gillard?

    The CPRS had the aim of giving business ‘certainty’. It effectively would have given polluters property rights over the bulk of their emissions for free, and then set a price on the small amount of emissions at the top.

    The CPRS would have resulted in a small reduction in emissions, but would also have ensured that if any future government wanted to make larger cuts (which are needed if we are to take real action) then this could only be done by buying back the free permits. The cost of this would have been prohibitive.

    This is why the Greens said that the CPRS would “lock in failure” and is why they voted against it.

    So huge credit is due to the Greens, under Bob’s leadership, for resisting the pressure to support the CPRS.

  51. The whining irrelevancies of the usual suspects, GW/SB et al, is an indication of how effective St Bob has been.
    I wish Sen. Milne luck, she has a hard job ahead but, over the years, has shown her resilience.
    Why do I have the recurring memory of Janine Haines?

  52. Just watch the media suddenly notice Ms Milne’s voice, speech patterns, hair do and jackets now that she’s leader. Then we’ll see just how sexist they are or not in their attitude to women in political leadership roles Any day now…

  53. i didn’t know much about bob browns history before today, but now that i know what he went through and stood for throughout the years, i have even more respect for him now than i did before.

    he copped it left right and centre, but never gave up to stand up for who he is, and what he believes in. i think that embodies the australian spirit, to always stand up for yourself no matter what the opposition.

    we can all learn from that, no matter what your persuasion, i think bob brown will go down in history as a man of character, and integrity.

    australia is a better place for having a person of integrity stick through the mud slinging and persecution, and just prosecute your beliefs to the end.

  54. SB: more people in QLD voted for other parties than the one that was able to amass 95% of seats on less than 50% of votes. At least it exposed a glaring flaw in our system.

    That anomoly will be corrected at their next state election just as Howard’s “historic wipeout” of Federal Labor was similarly. And just as NSW will do the same as it is already dawning on voters they have elected a premier who is coasting along on his vast majority.

    Nervous NSW backbenchers are already questioning who will losse their seat and how long they should wait before they install Mike Baird (at which time his father Bruce Baird will finally have revenge on Howard).

    More wishful thinking re: Christine Milne which shows many crikey readers are ignorant of the intelligence of Green voters and think they are the sort of clueless clots that are wedded to Abbott’s hateful rhetoric.

    Even worse they demonstrate an appaling ignorance of how the Greens work as a party -watch now as the media attempt a dishonest beat-up of a “rift in the Greens” and watch as not one ghastly political hack like SMH’s Hartcher who shamelessly ignores his own idiotic predictions (always wrong) or the portly Oakes , or Grattan dish up their cold potatoes masquerading as informed comment.

  55. The thread was successfully trolled very early on, but for me the star moment was this:

    [blockquote] By using his accidentally acquired power to enshrine the carbon tax and “clean energy’” fantasy, Brown has condemned the Greens to a long decline. [/blockquote]

    That will sound very familiar to anyone who has read what conservatives had to say about the spherical earth fantasy, the geocentric fantasy, the abolition of slavery fantasy, the evolution fantasy and the women’s equality fantasy.

    And, of course, the gay marriage fantasy.

    It’s going to be a tough decade for anyone who believes the Greens acquired power “accidentally” in order to push an unrealistic agenda.

  56. @ Michael de Angelos

    Milne is a great choice for the Greens. She is extreme (more that Brown) and will send the party lefter. This is great news as she will cripple Gillard and ALP.

    Milne does not negotiate, its her way or the highway. Brown was cunning and did. Did you recall Brown’s comment when boy Bandt let slip just after the election he would support Gillard. Brown pulled him up, as he has not extracted terms from Gillard as yet.

    How did boy Brandt get Deputy? That puzzles me. He is such a novice, I am sure SHY is extremely peeved and this could cause divisions. In any case boy Bandt will probably loose his seat at the next election.

    No Milne, is a great choice, will drive down the Green vote and make it harder for dishonest Gillard. Gillard, Swan and Greens are the losers today.

  57. Laqueredstudio,
    I don’t think Frank Campbell is railing against climate science at all. Frank is railing against the lunatic fringe of the climate alarmist left, which has hijacked the Greens and through them, the soulless Gillard government.

    It is quite possible in my view to accept the science of man made global warming, be an environmentalist and also dispair at the monumental ignorance spouting from the mouths of the climate change sect which is currently dominating the debate in this country.

  58. I think it interesting that when the traitor Arbib resigned, rumours flew over what corrupt act they’d caught him on. None with Senator Brown. A man of integrity and honesty. To the poster sbove who compared him to Hitler, i call Godwin’s law.

  59. David Hand, “… the monumental ignorance spouting from the mouths of the climate change sect which is currently dominating the debate in this country…”, is in fact just a tiny, shrill fraction of the climate change debate – dominating nothing. Science continues to raise the issues and our numerous diverse global political and economic systems are inexorably creating the mechanisms necessary to face the challenge. I don’t think the Australian Greens are anywhere near the ‘lunatic fringe of the climate alarmist left’ (whatever that is and feel free to continue the meaningless diatribe) any more than the Liberal Party or Labor Party are right wing denialists. Rhetorical flourishes in their exaggerated millions on the blogosphere do not constitute the debate but will continue whilst ever there are failed and neutered political aspirants who never made it. Never actually tried to make it either.

  60. Hugh,
    Shrill tiny faction dominating nothing? We’ve got a $23 per tonne carbon tax because of them, mate.

    Let me help clarify what I mean by the climate alarmist left. I was thinking of Green party member rhetoric such as:

    “This is because the implications of 3C, let alone 4C or 5C, are so horrible that we look to any possible scenario to head it off, including the canvassing of “emergency” responses such as the suspension of democratic processes.” Clive Hamilton, failed Green candidate for Higgins in 2009, as published in the Brisbane Sunday Mail, 9 Sep, 2007.

    Have a look at the article. It also predicted a 50% fall in water flows in the Murray Darling basin.

  61. Who let the Loonies out of the cage for the weekend ? Geeblaketruffiefranky , stop sniffing petrol. Funny that Dr.Brown retires and the msm run out to say they are doomed like the Democrats ?? For a while Dr.Brown has let his team answer questions in their field after having his say to the “Chooks ” and Christine Milne will do a good job and has been the force behind the Carbon PRICE and she knows her stuff. I would not say that the Greens Party is at their peak ????? They will keep chipping away votes from all parties. They should go hard in National Party Seats , where they can educate the locals on what the Nationals have NOT done for them , and CSG and mining farm land are two big things the Greens have been fighting against for years. Farewell Senator Bob Brown , enjoy your retirement and yes a Man of integrity and honesty . I noticed Abbott having problems trying to say something nice about him , such a nice christian abbott is ? CM will sort this prick out.

  62. Geez/sb RBA Interest rates under howard was 6.75% under Labor/Greens =4.25% , tax rates under Howard in 2007 =25.2 % GDP under Labor/Greens = 22.7 % GDP.More facts over at PB or Franks site with the BISONS.

  63. @ Lord Bonkers

    Australians are eyes wide open to the Greens now. In our marginal seat last evening at the meat raffle, the person pressing the button was making Green jokes and the chit chat was anti Green and ALP over the repressive Carbon tax and the hugh prices, highest in the world, by a factor of 3 or more. Then for dessert, the laughter always heads back to Thomson / Williamson / HSU / FairJoke Australia!!

  64. just a reminder kids. Suzanne is paid by the libs to disrupt ‘left leaning’ discussion boards. She’s not interested in debate or facts. The less we respond the less effective she(he) is.

  65. @ SBH

    Sorry to upset you, but I am paid by nobody

    But finally got an admission – this is a “left leaning’ discussion boards”.

    Its certainly dominated by lefties

  66. @ shepherdmarilyn

    “Sarah Hanson Young – Name all her radical ideas”

    1. Opening boarders completely to any unauthorised arrivals to our shores. They will post the welcome sign and millions will arrive. Joke.

    2. Death Duties

    3. World’s biggest carbon tax

    4. Halt to mining that SHY does not agree with

    I am sure more can name more items

  67. So David, you don’t think a rise of 3ºC will be a problem? Summer 2009 in Melbourne was not just horrible but was also dangerous enough to have doctors warning of serious health concerns. Go and do the experiment measuring optical properties of CO2 of different concentrations in air and report back. Or you could just accept what science concludes which is that CO2 acts like a pigment reflecting infrared light. How much pigment does it take to change the colour of paint? Very little. More particularly, how much pigment does it take to turn clear water opaque? This is the evidence skeptics and deniers seem unable to accept, yet they can’t disprove this scientifically.

    You also suggest that it is inconceivable that water flows in the Murray Darling basin could fall by 50%. Don’t you think that in normal drought times water flows are inadequate? I would not be placing my trust in anything your “scientific sources” postulate, I trust professionals.

    I am noticing a drop off in the southern oscillation index. I have also noticed over the past few weeks that the unusual pattern of moisture travelling from NW Australia -> inland seems to be stopping, and our normal weather pattern (drought) may be returning. A small increase in temps caused by excessive CO2 in the atmosphere will make the effects of drought much worse, unless you think that more heat is beneficial in a drought.

    I might conclude by mentioning that privatisation despite being politically appealing to laberals will prove to be responsible for much larger price hikes than the price on carbon. If this proves to be the case, how will the chit-chat at your meat raffles go SB?

  68. SB, the net is dominated by lefties. Enjoy your meat raffles with your ilk.

    Just to burst your bubble

    Refugee policy from the Greens website:

    11 asylum seekers who arrive without a valid visa to have their claims for asylum assessed while living in the community.

    So the Greens wish for us to assess asylum claims. If they don’t measure up, I guess that means deportation.

    So much for your “open borders” untruth.

    We aren’t after a halt to any mining activities that are ecologically responsible. We just want to benefit more from OUR dirt.

    Death duties apply to those with over $5 million or thereabouts. I doubt anyone here would have a problem with that. I guess you or your parents have more than $5 million. Should this become law, I have the world’s tiniest violin ready to play for you.

  69. The conservative trolls are just campaigning for their party, the LNP. This is their method. Vicious and nasty on social media in as many places as possible while they save their positive face for suff they put their name to. It is a deliberate strategy and seems to be working. They are not here to argue with lefties just to sow the slanderous ideas which are then spread. We all know how successful gossip can be and social media operates like gossip. These methods are working well for conservatives and will only escalate. Vicious gossip is not political debate and political blogs need to weed it out or it will destroy debate. No doubt this would be painted as censorship but it is a call for the elimination of libel and slander in the guise of politics.

  70. Who can say what will happen with the greens, hopefully they will prosper, they speak out for issues and values that we need enunciated in our democracy even if lots don’t agree with them. They have had the luck so far of being far less compromised by the realpolitik that’s a necessity of being in power. I wonder what would happen if they had even more power, that would be interesting development wouldn’t it?
    But surely the point at this time is to honour a man who has been a fine politician. Try saying Bob Brown and Clive Palmer or Barnaby Joyce in the same sentence and you get the measure of the man. Always principled, dignified, intelligent and straightforward. And don’t try telling me Clive Palmer isn’t a politician not after his little effort during the Queensland election

  71. Censorship is not required, only vigilance to ensure untruths are exposed. Fear not, right wingers are for the most part too busy upgrading their status symbols and strategising how to squeeze more cash out of society for themselves. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for them to generate rational arguments.

  72. @ Radguy

    “right wingers are for the most part too busy upgrading their status symbols and strategising how to squeeze more cash out of society for themselves”

    What to pay for the carbon tax and the pathetic compensation, every knows will not cover the actual cost or like the HSU draining funds from Union members for personal expenses?

  73. Hey Radguy,
    I believe in AGW. I believe 3 deg warming will be a big problem. I also believe the southern oscillation index will change one day and drought will return to the Murray Darling Basin.

    I was actually putting forward view that suspension of democracy is a lunatic fringe idea that exists in the centre of the Gree Party. It is so tiresome when someone completely ignores a point I was trying to make, ascribes beliefs to me that I do not have and then criticises those points of view.

    Rational discussion is a useful thing and is why I comment on these treads, where I encounter different views to mine expressed by a number of articulate and intelligent people. You’re not one of them.

  74. SB, electricity prices have already soared because we are being gouged by corporates capitalising on captive markets. You must be a beneficiary of this, given that you don’t see a problem with it.

    I will receive no compensation, but that doesn’t mean I disagree with pricing carbon. As the wealthiest country in the world, we should set an example. When BRIC have control of the global economy (assuming that they don’t already), your ideas will provide us no favours with them.

    As for the HSU issue, this is the ALP’s weakness, not the Greens. Their poor choices in preselection has provided your team with too much ammo. Dumping a popular leader doesn’t help either.

  75. “Let me help clarify what I mean by the climate alarmist left.”

    “I believe in AGW. I believe 3 deg warming will be a big problem.”

    “I was actually putting forward view that suspension of democracy is a lunatic fringe idea that exists in the centre of the Gree Party.”

    “monumental ignorance spouting from the mouths of the climate change sect”

    So you accept that climate change is a concern, but $23 per tonne is too much. So anyone who thinks the problem is more severe than you is an alarmist. What would deniers think of you? They would call you an alarmist. Get some perspective.

    What is the ignorance that you speak of? What are we ignorant of? Sounds a bit like rhetoric to me.

    What’s this suspension of democracy that you refer to? More rhetoric? Enlighten me.

    You are trying to sit on the fence – you accept AGW, yet you dispute the possibility of Murray Darling flows dropping 50% and temperature increases of 3ºC. So what do you suggest is the worst case, and what evidence do you have to back this assertion up?

    “Rational discussion is a useful thing and is why I comment on these treads, where I encounter different views to mine expressed by a number of articulate and intelligent people”

    Yet you describe others with differing points of view to yourself as a “lunatic fringe”. Sounds like you prefer an echo chamber.

    Finally, what arguments of mine do you find inarticulate and unintelligent?

  76. Sancho: “It’s going to be a tough decade for anyone who believes the Greens acquired power “accidentally” in order to push an unrealistic agenda.”

    You really don’t get it, do you? The “accident” of a hung parliament enabled the Greens to acquire power. Gillard in Opposition would have been sacked instantly by the ALP- and her name would have been Latham in Labour politics for eternity. So she capitulated to Green demands- carbon tax, plus a vast expansion of premature renewable energy technologies…

    Therefore Gillard could be pilloried by the Right as a “liar” (false but plausible to many). And Abbott could capitalise on (i) the steady decline in climate millenarian belief (ii) the economic risks/costs in a GFC world of unilaterally taxing carbon (exaggerated but plausible) (iii) growing realisation that premature/expensive/rorted renewables technologies made no difference to emissions- but were a nasty permanent impost on the working class, which is still Labour’s base.

    That’s quite enough to sink any Labour leader, let alone someone as limited, tone-deaf and banal as Gillard.

    For their part in this Faustian bargain, the Greens earn (i) enmity from Labour survivors (ii) relegation to cross-bench irrelevance as the Right takes power (iii) humiliation as Abbott dismantles the vast Heath Robinson carbon-tax edifice.

    Brown’s premature departure shows he knows for whom the bell tolls.

  77. Radguy,
    Where to start, where to start.

    Start with your arguments. You have decided I hold a view about something that my post did not say. A brighter person would at least understand my point and then shoot it full of holes. There are people who post here who are quite good at that. You have failed to understand the point I was making.

    Now to Clive Hamilton, member of the Greens and candidate for the lower house in Costello’s seat of Higgins in 2009. In a Brisbane sunday Courier opinion piece in 2007, he opined that action on climate change was so difficult that democratic processes may need to be suspended. Do you understand the implications of that? Since then, as he discovered that such opinions don’t get you elected, he has sought to tone his views down.

    In case you’re wondering, it is likely that the voters in Higgins who didn’t support him are not so much climate sceptics as lovers of democracy, universal suffrage and all that.

    In the same article he predicted a 50% fall in Murray Darling flows. This was the period when Flannery was saying Brisbane dams will never fill again and when the State government changed the operating model of the Wivenhoe dam from flood protection, the purpose of its construction after the 74 Brisbane floods to water supply. We all now know the folly of that.

    So the point I’m trying to make, and the only point, is that the lunatic fringe of climate activism is dominating policy development as we speak. All these people were saying that the weather of the day, no rain, was proof of climate change. Since it’s begun to rain, the language has subtely changed. In 2012, we now talk anot extreme weather events. I am absolutely sure that it doesn’t matter what weather event will actually occur, Flannery et al will say it proves climate change is real.

    It’s like the mobile phone salesman spruiking his servces. It doesn’t matter what your personal circumstances are, you absolutely must have his plan. There is no objectivity at all.

    None of these people are any more qualified than you or me to hold an opinion about what our climate will be like in 30 years. Neither Hamilton or Flannery are climate scientists and that’s what makes their potency so dangerous to the rest of us.

    Now the carbon tax. There are two significant problems with the carbon tax. Firstly it will have zero impact on global warming because 98% of emitters in the world won’t be paying it. So China, the USA, India and the rest will continue to pump the gas out there while sending their tax free products to Australia to undercut our own $23 per tonne paying industries.

    Secondly, so much of the tax is being handed back to the population that is has become a wealth redistribution tax that has a tenuous relationship at best with climate change. Now there’s nothing wrong with wealth redistribution but not this thing masquerading as action on carbon.

    A well constructed price on carbon will be much lower than $23 and there will be stuff all compensation so that the end users, us, pay the full amount.

  78. @Geowizz.
    You fail to realise that the economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment. That environmental damage has economic consequences and that ultimately without a viable planetary ecology there is no economy or society to speak of.

    It can be said that the Greens are the applying ‘don’t live beyond your means’ to where it counts (You right-wingers just love that saying). Trash the support systems of the planet, squander finite resources, use renewals faster than they can be replenished and damage the complex and interconnected ecologic systems supporting all life, including our own on this planet and there won’t be an economy to write own. Saving ecologically today ensures a functioning economy tomorrow and it avoids the burden of our profligacy being borne by future generations any more than it is already. It is an act of writing down the ‘debt’.

    As to taxation and spending at the federal level; Labor, Greens and the Coalition; whoever is in government doesn’t ‘spend other people’s money’. Government spending under a sovereign currency system with a floating exchange creates money; taxation is effectively calling it in. You should familiarise yourself with MMT. Type MMTWiki into your search engine and start there.

  79. ‘…to write about’ that should’ve been.

    David Hand.
    The scientific consensus isn’t the ‘lunatic fringe’ just because you say it is. If anything the measures being taken around the world fall way short of what’s really needed by a long shot. A 2 degree change is going to wreak considerable devastation. More than this and the consequences are hard to fathom.

    Climate change doesn’t mean we necessarily become merely dryer and hotter; it means the weather becomes more unstable; shifting to extremes with greater frequency but with a general overall tendency to less rainfall. When the rainfall comes it’ll heavy and severe. This has been the prediction since I first heard about Climate Change 2 decades ago and thus far the events are bearing the predictions out.

  80. So the point I’m trying to make, and the only point, is that the lunatic fringe of climate activism is dominating policy development as we speak.

    And your point is bunk.

    No-one is seriously (yet) consider the idea that “democratic processes may need to be suspended”.

    Wivenhoe was filled by a once-in-a-century event.

    To suggest the “lunatic” views you are using as examples are even remotely close to ” dominating policy development” doesn’t even pass a cursory analysis, because they quite plainly are not.

    There’s no “lunatic fringe” – at least not from the environmentalist side (plenty of it on the denialist side though – just open The Australian or any of the tabloids once a week) – driving climate change policy in Australia. If it was, solar panels would be getting installed for free, electric cars would have huge taxation concessions to encourage uptake and we’d already have established plans to shut down all our coal-fired power systems. None of these things are even close to happening. Instead we’re arguing about a carbon tax that’s going to have a pitifully insignificant impact and how deep we should strip-mine the country.

    You fundamental argument doesn’t even pass the laugh test. The interests driving the impotent climate change policy in Australia, just like pretty much every other policy, are mining companies, the big four banks, and the Murdoch media.

  81. Since it’s begun to rain, the language has subtely changed. In 2012, we now talk anot extreme weather events.

    “Extreme weather events” has been a term used about climate change for at least a decade. If you’re suggesting it’s only come into play over the last year or two, you’re either delusional or just flat-out lying.

  82. @Suzanne Blake
    So Crikey’s commentariat has a left-leaning bent just as the Sun-Herald and Daily Telegraph’s has a right-leaning bent. So what?

  83. The Toxic Baloney now says the carbon tax read turns into an ETS compensation is a Con.

    Seems small minded baloney forgets the great GST Toxic Tax that howard also gave compensation for,Thousands of dollars to some people not $250,so baloney was that a Bigger Con by the liberal dirty tricks department.

  84. Another of toxic baloneys specials is the ANZ 0.06 little rise is due to bad government and only an immediate election will fix it,read he got and economics decree besides a rhodes scholarship for boxing.

  85. Just when I thought politics in Australia couldn’t get any worse, Bob Brown announces his retirement.

    Ignore the trolls, Bob Brown is the most principled politician in parliment and will be sorely missed.

  86. Supermundane,
    Yep, the scientific consensus is not the munatic fringe. Absolutely. I actually accept the scienfific consensus.

    Can you point to the consnsual scientists that have introduced our $23 per tonne carbon tax? As I recall it, Bob Brown demanded it as a condition for supporting Julia’s minority government. No mention of any scientists so far, let alone a consensus of such.

    But I’m sure of this, no consensus of scientists would advocate collecting the tax with one hand and then handing it back to Labor voters with the other.

  87. Actually think DAVID HAND that it would be hard to hand it back to labor voters and not welfare greedy libs,hell how would they know a labor voter from a toxic baloney voter.

  88. David,
    For painting you up as a denier, I’m sorry, my mistake. You are much more interesting.

    [I was thinking of Green party member rhetoric such as]

    After this you mention one (edit air biscuit originating from the brain) from one person and ascribe this comment to all others politically aligned to him. Pot, meet kettle.

    You then concede that he has thankfully toned down a bit. I would not ascribe to these views, but I’m not surprised that Clive Hamilton freaked out enough to make such a suggestion after reviewing James Hanson’s work. I doubt this view is what lost it for him in Higgins, which is probably the toffiest seat in Melbourne.

    [when Flannery was saying Brisbane dams will never fill again]

    He said may. Big difference. Thank’s to Bolt’s blog for this clarification. He also didn’t say that it won’t rain again. This would be an extremely knobby thing to say which would render his quals not worthy of the paper they’re printed on.
    He is a palaeontologist, so I reckon that he would have a pretty good idea about climate history, dare I say it, better than you or I, given that it relates directly to his field. You also directly refer to an article that identifies an expert who is making some pretty dire predictions. I’d say he definitely has a better idea than you or I, but you disagree with him (actually, you don’t even refer to him, just Clive).

    As for the masquerade you refer to, setting up renewable energy is no masquerade, in comparison to the conversion of coal stations to gas you mention. It is necessary to compensate low income earners and pensioners, given that they don’t really have enough money to spare. I’d say that the residents of Higgins do, and that they typically gross consumers of energy with a high proportion of large 4wd’s. Perhaps if we had implemented the original mining tax proposed by the Henry Tax Revue, there would not need to be so much wealth redistribution.

    Take a random member of the human race not from Australia. Ask which country should be first to take serious action on climate change. None would suggest their own, I’d say they would choose the wealthiest country. That’s us.
    Your reasoning would have no country acting ever. I would not dispute your points about competitiveness, which is why we need to work on other countries also take action.

  89. @Radguy

    ‘ We just want to benefit more from OUR dirt.’

    And in the same breath:

    ‘ Fear not, right wingers are for the most part too busy upgrading their status symbols and strategising how to squeeze more cash out of society for themselves.’

    What I find most interesting (astonishing really) about people like you – is that you are really do think you are intelligent.

    Radguy, the Pseudo scientist, the pseudo economist, the pseudo intellectual.

  90. @ Frank Campbell

    After Brown’s Aliens invaded earth rant and shocking election result for Greens in Queensland, Brown knows they the tide is receding and he was smart to bail now.

    A smart politician, gives Milne the hospital pass.

  91. Hey Marilyn,
    Trust you left elite bendy-bus f*tishists (thank you, Boris!) to think we Liberal supporters only think as far as our wallets.

    But of course I will be paying the carbon tax. It will be printed in red on every NSW power bill right up to the next election.

  92. Hey Radguy,
    You make fair points. Applying the term “lunatic fringe” to people like Flannery diminishes the point I’m trying to make, but hey, a bit of hyperbole in the Crikey crypt never did anyone any harm.

    The issue that worries me is that climate science is an emerging thing and not even climate scientists understand it. The challenge we face as a society is this huge risk management decision about what to do in the face of climate change predictions. We don’t know what will happen in the next 20 years. We can only guess and the current consensus is not optimistic.

    The denialist fringe makes a lot of noise but they are mostly on the fringe. The Climate alarmist fringe however, is not on the fringe. They are at the very centre of policy development in our government processes and therefore much more denagerous.

    Their danger is not so much their commitment to action on climate change but their eagerness to go on TV and announce absolutist rhetoric that is later debunked by actual events. To illustrate what I mean, though you and Flannery may parse his statements at the height of the last El Nino drought with qualifications contained in what he actually said, there is absolutely no question that the agenda was to prepare Australia for a drying out. There was talk of limiting immigration due to lack of water. The government began to buy people out of the Murray Darling Basin. The Wivenhoe dam’s operating procedures were changed. Desalination plants were built.

    An enormous amount of policy change was enacted in the atmosphere of eternal drought created by respected climate spokespeople like Flannery. The La Nina period we are now in has therefore come as a surprise to a lot of people and has done a lot of unnecessary damage to Brisbane residents’ homes.

    The influence of people who are clearly making it up as they go along, changing their rhetoric to suit actual events but unwilling to rethink their fundamentalist beliefs is disturbing. They have a lot to answer for.

  93. Hey Radguy,
    You make fair points. Appl.ying the term “lunatic fringe” to people like Flannery diminishes the point I’m trying to make, but hey, a bit of hyperbole in the Crikey crypt never did anyone any harm.

    The issue that worries me is that cl.imate science is an emerging thing and not even cl.imate scientists understand it. The challenge we face as a society is this huge risk management decision about what to do in the face of cl.imate change predictions. We don’t know what will happen in the next 20 years. We can only guess and the current consensus is not optimistic.

    The denial.ist fringe makes a lot of noise but they are mostly on the fringe. The cl.imate alarmist fringe however, is not on the fringe. They are at the very centre of pol.icy development in our government processes and therefore much more dangerous.

    Their danger is not so much their commitment to action on cl.imate change but their eagerness to go on TV and announce absolutist rhetoric that is later debunked by actual events. To illustrate what I mean, though you and Flannery may parse his statements at the height of the last El Nino drought with qual.ifications contained in what he actuall.y said, there is absolutel.y no question that the agenda was to prepare Austral.ia for a drying out. There was talk of l.imiting immigration due to lack of water. The government began to buy people out of the Murray Darl.ing Basin. The Wivenhoe dam’s operating procedures were changed. Desal.ination plants were built.

    An enormous amount of pol.icy change was enacted in the atmosphere of eternal drought created by respected cl.imate spokespeople like Flannery. The La Nina period we are now in has therefore come as a surprise to a lot of people and has done a lot of unnecessary damage to Brisbane residents’ homes.

    The influence of people who are clearl.y making it up as they go along, changing their rhetoric to suit actual events but unwill.ing to rethink their fundamental.ist bel.iefs is disturbing. They have a lot to answer for.

  94. David Hand’s views are such a mismatch from reality that I suspect that he doesn’t believe them himself. Most likely he is just repeating the spin of the denialists.

    If we take what is in the IPCC and Garnaut reports as the mainstream scientific view, then it is very clear that the likely effects of climate change will be very severe, and what Australia and the rest of the world is currently doing or planning to do in the very short term falls very far short of what is needed to prevent significant warming.

    If we take Stern and Garnuat, we find that the economic costs of a warming planet are so significant that it makes economic sense to take the actions needed to prevent warming exceeding 2 degrees.

    David and other denialist like to give the impression that we are doing far too much already. But looking at the consensus science, the lack of action over the last 20 years, and the lack of significant future action, it is now almost certain that future warming will be significantly over 2 degrees.

    Fortunately I suspect that not one person has changed their views on climate change from reading these replies – the spin of the denialists, even when the pretend that they are not, is easily seen as lies and spin by those who accept the science.

    Even so, it is probably worth pointing out the deliberate lies and spin of the denialists. It is they who will have lots to answer for.

  95. Good piece, Bernard.

    Bob Brown’s political life out-lasted and out-classed John W Howard, his chief nemesis. Bob’s doubters and haters will be proven wrong by history.

    I have great confidence in Christine Milne’s ability to rise to the occasion and redefine leadership of the Greens and Australian progressive politics.

  96. @DAVID HAND

    Your point about climate alarmists being too close to the centre of government processes is an accurate one.
    It results in ideology influencing the design of carbon abatement schemes instead of common sense. As misguided and expensive schemes are wound up due to cost blowouts and poor results, the public’s cynicism grows.

  97. Hey Michael,
    The hard reality is that the true science about climate change and the necessary action to address it is not a mass media thing. The court of public opinion is irrelevant. The people who can actually do something were all together for a few days in Copenhagen in late 2009. All the sober, informed wise and knowledgeable climate scientists had to do was convince them.

    And they failed. Miserably.

    Why is that?

  98. So many people pontificating about the left wing stance of the Greens. Where else could the Party have gone? The amount of right wing Parties in Australia is beyond reason. The National Country Party, The Liberal Party, the ALP, the DLP, the Sex Party, Bob Katter’s Australia Party are but some of the right wing Parties.

    What possible chance would the Greens have had if not to fill a vacuum in Oz politics? Bob Brown is to be saluted for keeping alive the left wing ethos of a unique Democracy whereby the meanest and most humble citizen begs to differ from the hegemony of Rightards. More than anything else, and in direct opposition to the right wing parties, he has left something for posterity and something of beauty. He will be missed.

  99. Yep, the scientific consensus is not the munatic fringe. Absolutely. I actually accept the scienfific consensus.

    The scientific consensus says (amongst other things) we need to reduce CO2 emissions.

    The consensus amongst economists (who, I will grant, are not scientists) is that the best way to do this is with an emissions trading scheme.

    So, we have enacted an emissions trading scheme, that just happens to take the form of a tax for the first few years.

    Which part of this are you disagreeing with ?

  100. @David Hand,

    You said earlier: ” I actually accept the scienfific consensus.”

    So why don’t you tell us why the international political discussions have failed to act on what the science says in necessary, and tell us why this is a bad thing.

    It is worth noting that, contrary to impressions given by our media, the Rudd and Gillard governments position at these international meetings has been one of mainly siding with the USA against the European view, and thus Australia is one of the baddies (if you accept the science).

  101. The issue that worries me is that cl.imate science is an emerging thing and not even cl.imate scientists understand it. The challenge we face as a society is this huge risk management decision about what to do in the face of cl.imate change predictions. We don’t know what will happen in the next 20 years. We can only guess and the current consensus is not optimistic.

    The denial.ist fringe makes a lot of noise but they are mostly on the fringe. The cl.imate alarmist fringe however, is not on the fringe. They are at the very centre of pol.icy development in our government processes and therefore much more dangerous.

    This is the problem. When people like you are as disconnected from reality as the above two paragraphs demonstrate, it’s impossible to make a counterpoint you’ll even acknowledge, let alone consider.

    The people who can actually do something were all together for a few days in Copenhagen in late 2009. All the sober, informed wise and knowledgeable climate scientists had to do was convince them.

    And they failed. Miserably.

    Why is that?

    Because nothing can convince people who aren’t prepared to be convinced. On top of that, no politician wants to be the bearing of bad (nay, disastrous) news. Better to just kick the can down the road and leave the problem for the next guys, like the right-wing governments of the world have been doing for the last decade or two.

  102. @SB.

    When comparing Gillard to all the other countries in the OECD they are clearly a government of the right.

    On the whole, Labor has not been very different from the Howard years (some things more right, some things more left), so once again the ALP is found to be a right wing party.

    The Sex Party on the whole is a single issue party, but unless they have other policies I’m unaware of, I would have put them to the progressive side of politics.

  103. The ALP, DLP are very much left wing.

    They ALP haven’t been seriously left wing since the late ’90s. They are a victim of the worldwide shift towards the right over the last 15 – especially the last 10 – years. This has even happened to the Greens who are now just centre-left rather than seriously left.

    Much like the Democrats and Republicans in the US, the differences between Labor and Liberals are almost entirely minor issues of semantics or scale, not fundamental ones of policy.

  104. @ drsmithy

    With so many communists, ex communist, extreme looneys, the Greens are extreme left. Look at Lee Rhiannan, look at the founders of the Greens (all Communist parst), even Peter Ormonde agrees with this and he was with the Communist Party.

  105. With so many communists, ex communist, extreme looneys, the Greens are extreme left.

    Please highlight which of the Greens policies are “extreme left”, and why.

    On the quite well respected Political Compass, in 2010 the Greens came in as centre-left libertarians. The ALP and LNP come in at varying levels of authoritarian right.

    The Greens now occupy the same part of the political spectrum Labor did back in the ’80s and early ’90s.

  106. The communist party of russia and china were different,places like north korea are basket cases,in my time the communists in this country influenced very little.

    The main influence of one communist I applaud,Jack Mundy is responsible for saving The Rocks fom greedy liberal supported developers.

  107. I accept the scientific consensus that the world is warming and that man made CO2 emmissions are a key contributor. I agree we must reduce carbon emissions and I think an emission trading scheme is the best way to do it. This in my view is the scientific consensus.

    Most of the countries with a price on carbon, and a much lower one at that, are heavy with nuclear power generation. An Australian carbon tax at $23 per tonne when the rest of the world is not acting in unison is bad policy that won’t work. It certainly wasn’t dreamed up by scientists, more likely politicians.

    I see no contradiction in this.

  108. @David,

    The IPCC and Garnaut reports don’t just say that climate change is happening and we should do something, they report on what has already happened, and predict what will happen under different scenarios. These reports also provide predictions of the consequences of what is likely to happen under each scenario / temperature increase.

    If you accept this science, then the only moral response is to urge all countries to take much more action and to do so very quickly. And the only moral way for Australia to say this to the world is by leading by example.

    The Australian deniers work hard to give the impression that Australia will be leading the world with the carbon tax, but this is complete nonsense. We have such a long way to go to catch up with other countries that have already taken action that it is unfortunately true to say that Australia should hang its head in shame.

    The carbon tax is far too little too late, but at least thanks to the Greens (particularly Bob Brown and Christine Milne) at least the carbon tax is a start. Note that the carbon tax is like ETS, just one where there is a fix price as it starts up, and I think the legislation says how it will move to a full ETS.

  109. @ Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    The scientists are paid for comments, cash for comments or fired for not supporting extreme politicians, simple as that.

    Our carbon tax, while the most expensive by a factor of 3 or 4 will do nothing to reduce temperatures, but costs lots of jobs and GDP.

    Rudd and Gillard have been suckered, beating the drum, cause to admit they were wrong will cost them votes, just like back tracking of incompetet Swans and dishonest Gillards hundreds of surplus promises

  110. @SB,

    Please explain how the Australian scientists were paid for comments or fired for not supporting these ‘extreme’ views when Howard was PM, or the USA scientists when Bush was president.

    Please explain how this scientific conspiracy operates for the vast majority of scientist with relevant expertise in EVERY country, and has done so for several decades.

    And it is worth noting that our publicly paid scientist are allowed to talk about the science, but are NOT allowed to talk about policy. That is why you are not hearing about the huge gap between what the science says is needed and what is being proposed.

    And I can’t recall the details, but at least one CSIRO scientist was either sacked or came close to this for speaking out.

    PS It is interesting to note how the spin strategy of the right is to blame their opponents for what they are guilty of. So climate deniers ignore all the evidence and just believe, so the spin is that the scientists are the ones ignoring the evidence and that the scientist just believe. And SB claims that scientists would be sacked for denying climate change whilst the truth is that they are banned from speaking about policy and can be sacked for doing so.

  111. What the media does not report that both howard and abbott said a carbon tax was the sensible way to go,but for abbott to get elected he has to attack what he once stated publicly was a good thing,pure opportunism by tony baloney.

    A youtube video proves what I have said as fact ,but baloney gets a free ride.

  112. “Our carbon tax, while the most expensive by a factor of 3 or 4 will do nothing to reduce temperatures, but costs lots of jobs and GDP.”

    OOOOh, scary. Norway has carbon price at $53 per ton and VAT GST at 25% and their latest unemployment rate is 3.2%.

  113. @ Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Look at dishonest Gillards pet scientist, who lives on the waterfront on the Hawkesbury River at Coba Point? You know the one who gone into hiding, since his Sydney’s Dam will be dry by 2009 prediction flopped.

    These scientists needs to earn a living to pay bills, like you and me. So they write what the paymaster wants. Its not just science, its other areas as well. S / He who pays the piper gets what they want.

  114. @SB

    “Norway is a basket case, bailouts a plenty.

    In any case unemployment figures are a farce. You work 1 hour a week, you are employed.”

    Oh SB you spin faster than the ceiling fan. How about Switzerland the land of safe money haven has carbon price between $30-$60 and their current unemployment rate is 3.1%? I’m sure you Liberal spinsters can always find something to twist and spin, no point for me to waste more of my time on endless arguments.

  115. @sb. It’s one thing to disagree with the findings or with the policies but another thing to accuse scientists with which you disagree (how’s that for arrogance and/or delusion) of being corrupt. It’s the classic argument of the ignorant.

  116. @ mikeb

    This particular scientists made a bold prediction in 2005, that failed to materialise 4 years later and he has since slipped out of public view, while still collecting a huge 6 figure income from dishonest Gillard.

  117. @sb – I have no idea to who you refer but anyway, even if he/she was the most corrupt person to ever live, how does that affect the findings of the vast majority of other scientists?

  118. @ Apollo

    What manufacturing is done in Switzerland? Clocks and cheese and chocolate?

    What manufacturing is done in Norway these days?

    Pick an equivalent country (in land mass and diversity), like Canada, Germany, Brazil, USA, India, Russia.

  119. @ mikeb

    Any Government / Company can find a ‘professional consultant’ or ‘scientist’ whatever to write an ‘independant’ report to reflect what they want.

    Its simple to understand really. If they don’t write what the paymaster wants they get fired, never used again, reputation tarnished, papers stamped, call it what you will.

    Same with Government bodies, the Government of the day inserts people who are sympatheic to their wishes, look at RBA Board, FairWork, High Court, ACCC, you name it.

    There is a huge market in ‘climate scientists’ selling their services to all sorts of bodies, as this is their source of income. Outside that what do they have, Uni lecturers, maybe a Board spot on the odd company, slim pickings.

  120. There is a huge market in ‘climate scientists’ selling their services to all sorts of bodies, as this is their source of income. Outside that what do they have, Uni lecturers, maybe a Board spot on the odd company, slim pickings.

    So if you can’t trust scientists being paid the pitiful sums of money from Government coffers, how can you trust the ones being paid from the vast sums of money sloshing around in the private industry ?

  121. SB of course ignores my request to tell us all why the publicly funded scientists under Howard and Bush all supported climate change. Instead she just throughs mud, which are often lies, and ignores what she doesn’t like.

    She is a great example of how Tea Party techniques have replaced any rational and logical debate in the Crikey comments. Of course the IPA is funded by big business and are speaking out against climate change because this is in the interests of their funders. So Suzanne’s side really is guilty of having people paid to mislead. So in classic spin style, she just accuses the scientists of all having no credibility.

    Yesterday I tried to recall a single post by an Abbott supporter that put forward a truthful and rational argument which would have had the potential to make an open minded person reconsider their position. I could not think of any.

    So lets have a competition – who can spot the first post by an Abbott supporter which makes a truth-based, rational argument that in the area of discussion shows that Abbott has a firm policy that he is likely to implement which is better than what is being done by Gillard.

    A post that would give a rational and open minded Labor or Green supporter a valid reason to have to admit that on this point the Liberals are better.

    I won’t reread this very long thread, but I doubt there is such a post above.

  122. Never really understood what Brown had contributed over the years. Keating left many positive tangible legacies with few to equal his ability to get things done. Brown from meory just pandered to ideas but I can’t remember a tangible benefit ??

    Climate change is a misnomer as there is always “climate” and it basically means a “changeable state” .

    The debate is simply about Co2 being caused by man and the outcomes of increased CO2. The IPCC reports are predictions based of model extrapolations of the past. They are just that..predictions which means we think this may happen. No matter what your beliefs are predictions don’t become fact until they happen. A bit less emotive discussion based on fact would be useful in determining outcomes instead of idealogical dogmas.

  123. Harry, good on you, but give it time and you’ll get the emotion thing happnin’ too, when you realise what some will do with the *cough* facts…. Hmmm ?

  124. They are just that..predictions which means we think this may happen.

    Yes. This is how the whole world works. Everything from the biggest company choosing which products it sells to the poorest person deciding how much money to take down to the shops for groceries.

    A bit less emotive discussion based on fact would be useful in determining outcomes instead of idealogical dogmas.

    Which “facts” in the discussion about CO2 are you having problems with ?

  125. @ Harry Rogers

    Brown has contributed nothing, except Franklin Dam issue.

    Had to laugh last year extreme Milne wants to ban wood fires (thought that was renewable) and then you have the smoke billowing from Brown’s chimney. Double standards?

  126. So now we all know that Harry Rogers is totally ignorant about Australian politics (even Abbott could reel off a long list of what Brown had contributed – though of course Abbott would not agree that this was all good).

    Given Harry’s ignorance about politics, it is no surprise that he does not even know what is meant when people discuss climate change.

    Is this the best that the Abbott supporters can come up with?

  127. Yesterday I tried to recall a single post by an Abbott supporter that put forward a truthful and rational argument which would have had the potential to make an open minded person reconsider their position. I could not think of any.

    So lets have a competition – who can spot the first post by an Abbott supporter which makes a truth-based, rational argument that in the area of discussion shows that Abbott has a firm policy that he is likely to implement which is better than what is being done by Gillard.

    A post that would give a rational and open minded Labor or Green supporter a valid reason to have to admit that on this point the Liberals are better.

    I won’t reread this very long thread, but I doubt there is such a post above.

  128. Anything else Michael (MWH)??

    Instead of a number of replies perhaps its best to let you have your full say and opinion. You can fill up the whole column if you like and when you are finished maybe some rational discussion may take place.

  129. Harry Rogers, scientists of all stripes have been ‘predicting’ for thirty years or more that global temperatures are likely to rise because of the increase in the greenhouse effect caused by the rising quantity of atmospheric CO2 and other ‘greenhouse’ gases. So the models, the hypotheses, the guesses of the past have all now turned out to be more or less true. Global temps are increasing at a pretty predictable rate, sea levels are rising and so on. The models of the past have turned out to be pretty accurate.
    Nowadays the challenge is to try to predict when a ‘tipping point’ will be reached. That’s a more difficult procedure because science doesn’t really have that good a handle on that process. All we know at present is that there is likely to be a tipping point and it would be handy to understand it before we get to it. You still don’t seem to accept that there is a greenhouse effect?

  130. @SB. “Had to laugh last year extreme Milne wants to ban wood fires (thought that was renewable) and then you have the smoke billowing from Brown’s chimney. Double standards?”

    Reputable reference please otherwise I call bullsh*t.

    If you are referring to the Tamar Valley atmospheric inversion problem then I call you for misrepresenting the facts.

  131. Hugh there seems to be an inexplicable dogma out there on a whole number of issues.

    Believe it or not there are people like me who have read all the IPCC reports and have not come to any solid conclusion as to what outcomes will be and whether those outcomes demand immediate action or much more considered action . Technological change in many fields has been of immeasurable benefit to us all over the past 20 years and I believe human beings will cope with whatever outcomes are thrown at us.

    I guess cynicism is part of age and wisdom. It appears to me that people consider 30 years a long time in the age of the planet,,, thats about since 1980 you say predictions of warming have been occurring. Perhaps a reasonable time in the life of a human but insignificant in terms of geological history.

    In answer to :

    You still don’t seem to accept that there is a greenhouse effect?

    On current technological knowledge yes it’s clearly there on the evidence. Is this causing damage both short and long term ? What are the implications? Will it continue? Can we predict further technological advances to give us better understanding of the outcomes and is intervention available? Do we need to intervene?

    An informed discussion on this issue is very difficult since the political donkeys took hold of these debates but of course in a democracy they are entitled to fume and fuss as much as they wish particularly if it suits their personality.

  132. If anyone believes that Harry Rogers has read all the IPCC reports then I’ve got a special offer on a bridge for sale in Sydney.

    If Harry wishes to prove that he is informed about this issue, then I challenge him to present the arguments that someone who accepts the science would write to rebut his last post. (If he is informed then he will know what the other side would say).

    He can also inform us how it is that so many experts have got it so wrong.

  133. @SB “Google “milne” “wood fires” and you will see all her rants. She says we should wear more clothes and we don’t need heating.”

    Show me where. The only reference I found points back to you!!!! You are the font of misinformation. Congratulations.

  134. @ MikeB

    Here is the photo

    Brown Smoke (see photo) justgroundsonline.com/forum/topics/it-s-just-the-weather?page=5&commentId=3535428%3AComment%3A339921&x=1#3535428Comment339921

  135. @sb “Here is the photo”

    What – Bob Brown standing in front of his house proves that “extreme Milne wants to ban wood fires ” and “She says we should wear more clothes and we don’t need heating” ???

    Is that the best you’ve got? You’re just making it up.

  136. Harry Rogers, you can’t (or shouldn’t try to) wander in and out of the science camp into the political/economic camp and back and forth with the blogs and forums treating them all as the same thing. Science, the scientists, the science institutions etc have put the issue on the table with the best available evidence. Our political institutions have received the science and are working on a response to it. The scientists are not working on the politico-economic-policy response – that is not their function. We shouldn’t expect climate scientists to develop public economic/political policy. However, the politico-social block is employing particular scientists who it/they think have communication and interpretation skills which will help them create the policy/process response that they are working on. Hence Garnaut, Flannery and Co.
    I think some of the science can be said to be “settled”. The greenhouse effect is settled science. Global warming and consequent sea level rise, as a generalisation, is settled science. El Nino and La Nina, generally speaking, are settled science. So some arguments can be put behind us. We don’t have to go over and over them. It would be great if the blogosphere could keep moving along and not continually argue back to square one where some say they simply don’t believe the science, any science and it’s all a conspiracy. I hope you are not in that category.

  137. @ Mikeb

    I thought you meant the proof Brown has a fire.

    Google Greens ban wood fires

    and you will see the articles. Rhiannon, Milne and the other extreme loonies.

  138. Hugh McColl

    A brief reply as in some sense you are correct not to move from scientific discussion to socio/political however this appears to me is the essence of what the debate has become and has become a bit of a bore to me.

    Although I must say it’s refreshing to see the man in the street questioning scientific results, which I would suggest is principally due to the freedom and availability of information on the internet.

    Should be more of it and perhaps less politicisation of Science however the genie is out of the bottle and I think your comments are a little dated. They remind me of the old days when you were’nt supposed to ask your doctor anything as he knew everything and the priest or minister said dont question just believe.

    Fortunately I’m encouraged by the emergence of the younger scientists out there who understand that Science continues to evolve and like Einstein did…they continue to question.

    I appreciate you interest .I’ll leave it to others to debate.

  139. Interesting new bit of denialist spin from Harry Rogers – that the younger scientists have a differing view from the old on this subject. Of course we will not get any evidence that this is the case. If there is a university anywhere in the world where the the young people who are doing their Masters or Doctorates in related areas have found a major flaw in the science, I would have expected that this would have been headline news.

    @MIKEB – Remember that SB is still insisting that all the scientists in EVERY country are only saying that climate change is true because they are told to, and she has failed to explain why the scientists supported climate change when Howard and Bush were in charge. You will never get her to admit that she is illogical, so don’t bother with her other claims.

    But the incredibly low intellectual quality of the Abbott supporters and the climate change deniers in the Crikey comments has got me thinking. Whilst the looney-illogical-right-wing-spin has worked in the Murdoch press, would it be effective with Crikey readers?

    I can’t imagine any Labor or Greens voter reading SB’s posts and changing their voting intentions. And I can’t imagine anyone who accepts the need for action on climate change reading a post by Frank Campbell, Harry Rogers, and the other deniers and changing their mind.

    But I can imagine a Liberal supporter who reads Crikey starting to question their support for the Liberals when all they read from Liberal supporters is the endless drivel from the regulars.

    And I can image someone who is genuinely unsure about climate change becoming someone who accepts climate change because the comments on Crikey show that the deniers have no consistent and logical rebuttal to the scientists.

    So perhaps SB and her ilk, and the climate change deniers, are achieving the opposite of what they intend 🙂

  140. @sb. I repeat the question again. Show me where Christine Milne “wants to ban wood fires ” and “She says we should wear more clothes and we don’t need heating”. If you can’t then stop spreading stupid allegations that you read on a redneck blog somewhere. The fact that BB has a wood fired heater in his bush home illustrates how stupid that assertion is.

    If you are getting confused with the issue surrounding wood fires in the Tamar valley during winter then please enlighten yourself. That is a different issue centred around the geographical aspects of greater Launceston whereby smoke can’t escape the valley during periods of winter. causing much distres to the residents with breathing problems. Another reason why a pulp mill is a bad idea in that valley (but possibly perfectly fine elsewhere).

  141. Mmmm, it seems that all my posts are now being held for moderation (with a delay of over 2 hours so far).

    Any advice on what words I should avoid?

    And will this post get through? Let’s see.

  142. Give up MIKEB , she does not know how to use google,and all her facts are in her head , or made up at the local liberal branch ,where spin is needed as a qualification.

  143. Hahahaha, MikeB don’t waste your time with SB. It’s her job to spread crap all over the internet for the Liberal party. Just look at the absurdity she came up with to cast doubt about Norway’s economy and employment rate then even talk more crap about Norway and Switzerland’s industrial production. Norway’s industry makes up 39.3 %GDP, Switzerland industry makes up 27.2% GDPwhile Australia is only 25.5%GDP (simple start with research on indexmundi.com will help).

  144. Apollo said (about SB) “It’s her job to spread crap all over the internet for the Liberal party.”

    I wish there was a way to one day find out just who is a paid troll, who is doing it as a volunteer, who are not organised but know that they are posting rubbish but think that this helps their side, and who are real people who really believe what they are writing.

    And I wish that Crikey had a way that we could ignore the trolls so that for once we could have a real discussion.

  145. @SB
    Please don’t make a fool of yourself.

    I’m an Australian currently living in Norway and there have been no bailouts in Norway. As a high-taxing nation with strict-labour laws and protections, Norway is going gang-busters economically despite most of its major trading partners slipping into an ideologically-induced recession and it’s kronor rising significantly against other currencies making itæs exports less competitive.

    Ideological induced-recession in that the Eurozone is failed neoliberal experiment, consistent with the overall economic bent of both sides of Australian politics. what Australia has over the Eurozone (like Norway) is a sovereign currency and floating exchange (which incidentally renders all the debate on deficits nonsensical but that’s a point for another discussion.) However in essence the decision to impose monetary union over the member nations meant they abandoned floating exchange rates and under pressure from the dominant Germans, chose to eschew the creation of a federal-level fiscal authority (the equivalent of Australia’s Reserve Bank). It was borne of a flawed and ideological belief the self-regulating capacity of the markets over sovereign states.

    So we have the nonsensical situation of a common currency effectively rendering the member-states as foreign-currency users without an exchange rate and without the prospect of federal redistribution assistance in the face of asymmetrical and negative aggregate demand shocks. The states of the Eurozone have been reduced to the equivalent of our states without the system of redistribution that we have. States in Australia would have been bankrupt years ago if such a system in place across the Eurozone were enacted in Australia.

    When Germany as an economic powerhouse lost control of its exchange rates under the Maastricht Treaty, it instead resorted to manipulating other cost variables, specifically labour under what is known as the Hartz process. This involved wage suppression and casualisation. The cost of these neoliberal policies were to be borne by workers when in fact Germany’s success prior to the Euro lay in the high-wage, high-skills, extensive worker protections model which Norway also continues to pursue to this day. The lesson is that Germany’s model of economic success which existed prior to the implementation of the Eurozone in 2001 and is Norway’s current model for success goes against all the neoliberal posturing from the Coalition (and to a lesser extent Labor’s) on increased productivity (code for worker’s working more at on demand for less), reduced penalties, job security and conditions and so-called worker ‘flexibility’.

    Norway has eschewed the low-tax, reduced conditions model of it’s neighbours. Norway is currently experiencing significant growth levels in immigration from southern Europe as labour moves to meet demand; Norway simply can’t get enough people at the moment not merely despite but because of it’s high-wage, extensive worker protections and social welfare, and high-tax model.

    You need to be more careful Suzanne about the examples you cite before you go spouting nonsense.

  146. And further, if you look at the posts by Harry Rogers I think they are fare too sophisticated in their spin to be from an ordinary person.

    Lines like “there are people like me who have read all the IPCC reports” and then the brand new bit of d*nial spin “Fortunately I’m encouraged by the emergence of the younger scientists out there who understand that Science continues to evolve and like Einstein did…they continue to question.” are not what the average person would write – it feels to me much more like some well planned spin.

    Of course this post will be attacked by claiming that I’m against free speech.

    But you only need to look at this thread to see how a few people have diverted the discuss away from making any real progress.

    Compared to the cost of funding lobbyists, the IPA, and advertising, the cost of having a few people deliberately disrupt forums like Crikey is very small. So I’m pretty certain that this forum has been deliberately, and successfully, sabotaged.

    It would be nice to one day find out the truth.

  147. Despite copious past evidence that ORAC is a thread derailing, time wasting troll I decided to check its reference to “greens ban wood fires” on Google.
    Guess what? Utter B/S.
    Why am I utterly unsurprised?

  148. There are pages of references to the Greens wanting to ban wood heaters.

    Rhiannon, this one theherald.com.au/news/national/national/environment/wood-heaters-could-go-on-back-burner/2197004.aspx

    The Milne one was on radio in an intervew after Rhiannon’s Januray 2012 comment

  149. Rhiannon referred to wood heaters in that they should be considered for a health certificate only,cannot find a reference for milne banning woodheaters,even looking at yahoo search engine,actuallywould not be surprised if Milne actually had a wood heater like Brown has they are less polluting overall.

  150. Suzanne Blake
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink
    @ Apollo
    What manufacturing is done in Switzerland? Clocks and cheese and chocolate?
    What manufacturing is done in Norway these days?

    @SB you really are an idiot and amatuer to boot!What do you purport to have a degree in?
    The Swiss economy:
    Switzerland’s economy is based on a highly qualified labour force performing highly skilled work. The main areas include microtechnology, hitech, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, as well as banking and insurance know-how. They do however also produce and dine on very fine locally produced cheese and chocolate.
    The Norwegian economy:
    Norway’s economy is based on oil and gas exploration and the fishing industry.
    Both countries have vigorous, viable and wealth creating economies also they both responsibly, a price on carbon.

  151. Lilac – ORAC took that stupid quote from Graham Greene’s THIRD MAN(probably the movie – it doesn’t read … stuff) when Harry Lime tries to justify his corruption compared to the wunnerful achievements of red-in-tooth-&-claw free enterprise, aka corruption. If i recall the novel, he was selling ground sand as penicillin and his good friend was tracking him through the sewers of Vienna.
    Like Norway & Switzerland, we should be so lucky to have a government committed to the common weal.

  152. Suzanne Blake
    “What manufacturing is done in Norway these days?”

    Rather than continue to embarrass yourself why not first spare a moment to check your facts before posting?

    Not only does Norway pump copious quantities of oil and gas from the ground it’s also a leading developer and manufacturer of cutting-edge technologies involved in petroleum extraction, storage and distribution. Their competence, skill and specialist technologies in these fields are sought worldwide. Additionally, Norway’s energy sector is heavily involved in the development and manufacture of renewable energy technologies in the areas of hydro, solar and in the development and manufacture of cell technologies. A small but significant number of electric cars are manufactured here and a host of supporting industries have developed to buttress this sector.

    Norway is also heavily involved in the manufacture of finished and semi-finished metal products and is still a significant player in shipping (remember the Tampa?) and in shipbuilding. The Aker Group is involved in shipbuilding and other heavy manufacturing industries.

    Norway’s telecommunications sector, not least its major player Telenor, is a significant player in emerging markets, notably in the Indian subcontinent.

    The biotechnology sector is currently experiencing significant growth as is the microtechnology sector. Norway is a leading player in the development of silicon-based sensors fir example.

    Not bad for a country of 5 million. As Apoloo states, the manufacturing and R&D sectors account for close to 40 percent of Norway’s GDP.

  153. Basically, Norway is a picture of everything Australia could – and should – have done with the mining boom, but failed to do.

    This outcome is all the more disgusting given we had their example to follow, and didn’t. At least if we were the first country to ever have a natural resources boom, screwing it up so badly could have been excused.

  154. @DrSmithy
    Essentially yes. It’s not perfect here by any stretch and Norway finds itself under pressure, like most western nations from low-skill, low-wage competition, from a high-kronor and from a significant downturn in its major trading partners but all in all it’s remarkably well. The government here invests heavily in joint-ventures with local industries or holds virtual monopolies of some sectors such oil extraction – consequently there are no oil billionaires here using their disproportionate wealth to pervert and influence policy. Indeed, donations to parties are strictly curtailed here in any case. Most oil and gas profits are invested into Norway’s sovereign wealth fund.

    And before Suzanne Blake claims (just to pre-emept her) that Norway can afford high-wages and an extensive welfare system because of it’s oil, present and future governments on all sides of politics are bound to spend no derive no more than 4 percent of the public sector budget from oil and gas revenues in any financial year. The bulk is invested – indeed the very platform of the populist/quasi-libertarian, anti-foreigner Fremskrittspartiet (of which Breivik was once a member) is to abolish this cap. As a consequences public sector spending is substantially financed elsewhere.

    It’s galling to witness the likes of SB make false claims and sprout economic nonsense. What I witness in my daily life here – a resoundly social democratic society demonstrably invalidates her arguments and ideological premise.

  155. @sb. As I suspected. Absolutely no evidence of your claims about CM. All just made up in a redneck blog somewhere.

    Re the woodheaters. I have one myself and i know at the time i was shopping for one they introduced more stringent emission standards. This has a double benefit – less wood smoke pollution and use less fuel. I seem to remember that there was talk about monitoring chimney emissions in Launceston because of the inversion problem they have but that was a council initiative – nothing to do with CM.

  156. SUZANNE BLAKE: To be misinformed is one thing, but blunt refusal to get your facts straight is unforgivable. Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    The ALP has drifted to the right. In their own words they did so in order to appease the hard right-wing voters. You know the sort: the rural bods with down turned mouths and who manage to speak without moving their lips.

    As the ALP became right wing they left a void in our electoral system. A void that was smartly taken up by Bob Brown. What was that void I hear you ask? The left-wing voter was left with no one to vote for, but, hey, the Greens espoused a lot of the principles that the ALP once stood for.

    Only a fundamentally ignorant person like yourself could have come out-in print, no less-and accused the DLP of being left-wing. Have you learned nothing since your heated entry into Crikey? The DLP is composed of Catholic fundamentalist voters who vote the way the Catholic Church tells them to vote. They have never pretended to be anything else.

    By the time you’ve learned to read you will understand that what I say is F A C T. Not, as in your case, hilarious comedy capers based around a heap of wishful thinking.