Jun 4, 2008

ABARE ignores inconvenient truths

ABARE’s rigid adherence to denying realities like peak oil and climate change emerged strongly during the long reign of Dr Brian Fisher, writes Bernard Keane.

Last week’s Estimates hearings brought out again the tendency of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics to base its modelling on implausibly optimistic scenarios reflecting a business-as-usual approach that ignores such inconveniences as climate change, peak oil and resistance to GM crops.

ABARE’s rigid adherence to this approach emerged strongly during the long reign of Dr Brian Fisher. Fisher headed ABARE for 18 years until he departed for the private sector in 2006. A former head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Sydney, Fisher is said to be a hardline free marketeer with a strong objection to market intervention or attempts to remedy market failure. While Fisher had been undertaking climate change modelling in the last days of the Keating Government, it was under John Howard that he found his public service calling as a willing assistant in that Government’s campaign to resist and delay carbon abatement measures.

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3 thoughts on “ABARE ignores inconvenient truths

  1. Connor Moran

    Bernard, “repair” ABARE? Are you mad? Exterminate it.

  2. Tony Papafilis

    More evidence why the left should be sidelined from any serious influence in society – leftys are capable of nitpicking modelling work of any kind if it gets in their political way yet refuse to acknowledge the massive flaws in modelling that they use in suport of their positon. Hence the exposed garbage that is climate change modelling is held up as irrefutable evidence of a left wing political position while those exposing its flaws are denounced. Thsi shows the left do not operate for benefit of humaty at large but for a small segment – hence it’s predisposition towards dictatorial tendencies.

  3. Roger

    Even though ABARE with its ‘steering committee’ (or sponsor committee, that the ombudsman suggested was a more appropriate name) used a variety of assumptions that tend to make carbon taxes be less than efficient; they still found that a carbon tax of A$200 a tonne (1996 dollars) essentially had no overall impact on the economy – though causing lots of changes, naturally.

    Why is there now such concern about proposed very modest changes to our taxation regime, away from taxation of value adding, personal incomes and general consumption and towards taxing resource consumption?

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