Liberal Party leadership:

Marion Diamond writes: Re. “42 to 41: how Abbott squeaked in” (yesterday). We all know that Turnbull is a descendant of Governor Bligh, but a quick search of the Australian Dictionary of Biography on line shows that both Abbott and Minchin had alter egos involved in the Rum Rebellion.

Major Edward Abbott (1762-1832) seems to have been a bit of a fence sitter: “…though Bligh removed him from the magistracy when he came to Sydney, he took no active part in deposing the governor, being concerned for the reputation of the corps and anxious to avoid a blunder. He approved the governor’s arrest but, although he returned to the bench, he declined to act when Johnston appointed him judge-advocate.”

Lieutenant William Minchin (1774-1821) on the other hand, was in it up to his neck. “He was prominent in the rebellion in January 1808 and, while his part will never be fully clarified, at Colonel George Johnston’s court martial he was accused of removing the screws from the guns outside Government House and training those on the parade ground to fire in that direction.”  He later commandeered spirits from a visiting ship to celebrate Bligh’s overthrow.

Sadly, there’s no sign of a Hockey.  There was a Bishop too, but “Bishop’s mind began to crack in 1804, and in October 1805 [Governor] King made a constitutional innovation by calling a jury to consider his sanity. It confirmed his committal as a lunatic, and Bishop entered confinement. In April 1809 he moved to private lodgings but did not improve, and William Paterson returned him to England in October. He appears to have died in 1810.”

Shirley Colless writes: Time will tell whether or not the Coalition will squeak in to a vastly reduced number of seats at the next election, but with politics, who knows?  At least the voters will know which members can tell the truth — even on a daily basis —  and which can remain true to their ideals.

As for Abbott and Bishop, the cartoonists should have a field day, this combination of a very narrow and certainly not broad “church” is an absolute gift.  Malcolm Turnbull’s top hat and bank note can retire to the back benches to linger like Banquo’s ghost which, if you remember your Shakespeare, led to the eventual downfall of Macbeth — but Abbott’s downfall can I hope be safely left to the electorate.  If at the next election the electorate decides to thump the Liberal Party then that should see the end of at least one member of the unholy duo.

It is evident that the Liberal Party is collapsing into a rump controlled by the extreme right of the party.  John Howard started the rot by appealing more and more to the Xenophobe reactionaries on the extreme right of  both the populace and the party, exemplified by those raising the horrid spectre of Australia being taken over by a few dark skinned “illegals” or by Senator Minchin who even now has the gall to raise that tired old shibboleth the Communist Party. Dear me, where has he been for the last fifteen years?

A new, truly small-l liberal party might just be a good idea.

PPP writes: Re. “Keane: Turnbull will now watch, wait and white-ant” (yesterday). For a first time comment from the silent liberal voter camp I am devastated by the leadership result. What a pack of  useless, toothless, and mindless  individuals of liberal parliamentarians we have ended up with to produce an outcome with a leader who has managed to put  most forward thinking liberals off side with his views on monarchy, climate change, as well as religious fanaticism.

I hope Malcolm Turnbull re-presents himself for leader soon.  Joe Hockey I respect, but I think he is not leadership material yet.  At least I feel I know what Malcolm Turnbull thinks and believes in and has the integrity to commit to that view and to do what he says he will do.

If not re-elected as leader then I would be happy to support him to form a new party which represents the classic liberal philosophy i.e. freedom and dignity for the individual, encouragement of disciplined free business for the individual as well as for corporations, sympathy for the less well off, and upholding the system of governance and morals we are used to with the minimum of government control.

Denise Marcos writes: Re. “Liberals will rue the day they lurched right” (yesterday). Albeit it a little early but yesterday morning The Ruddster received the perfect Christmas present.

John Goldbaum writes: To lose one leader, Ms. Bishop, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.  How can Tony Abbott regard you as other than a Jonah, a jinx?

Dan Gocher writes: Re. “Milne: A defeat of climate hypocrisy and a moment for hope” (yesterday). Christine Milne sounds an awful lot like a member of a party that has the luxury of never actually having to be in government. To state that any climate change legislation, Liberal or otherwise, “will unfairly allocate the burden of action to the community instead of the polluters”, misses the whole point of the debate.

Sure, industry accounts for large chunk of Australia’s total emissions, but so do households. The last time I checked, there has not been a mad rush by the electorate to sign up for clean energy. Nor do we seem to be willing to buy smaller cars, or build smaller homes.

Like it or not, the community, as well as industry, must be forced into changing their habits. Sure, the ETS in its current form is not the answer, but to claim that households can carry on doing as they are doing, and only big, bad businesses must be penalised is blatantly dishonest.

And for the record, though my membership has lapsed, I will continue to support and vote for the Greens.

Chris Hunter writes: Let’s face it, the thought of Kevin Rudd going to Copenhagen with an ETS deal was too much for The Man Who Would Be King, Tony Abbott. The mere thought of Rudd treading the world stage as something of a luminary sent this highly egotistic God botherer into a tailspin. Despite its flaws, the ETS deal would have put Australia up as a world leader on the issue.

As far as increased taxes go with regards power consumption, well, people would have done what they always do in this regard, they would conserve to keep costs in check. But then Tony Abbott wouldn’t know much about budgeting, having been in the sheltered workshop of parliament way beyond his used by date.

Martyn Smith writes: Re. “First Dog on the Moon” (yesterday). In all the excellent commentary from the Crikey contributors on Tuesday, the one I really liked was from one of the little animals in First Dog. It said basically, “Tony is taking us to the abattoir!”  Spot on.

He’s just taken the Liberal Party there and if he gets his way he’ll take the country along too. I believe he used to box, maybe he got hit in the head once too often? As for his Bishop, I suspect she may be a pawn, under the thumb of Old Nick.

Minarets in Switzerland:

Alex Joseph writes: Re. “Implications of the Minaret vote bleed beyond Swiss borders” (yesterday). Shakira Hussein’s article made interesting reading.  There has been a lot of stuff in a similar vein on the radio and in the press.  A lot of gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, a lot of tut-tutting about the naughty Swiss banning minarets and the naughtier French, who are banning the burka. But, let’s not get too carried away.

In Rome, the city that is the centre of Christendom, there are mosques.  I do not know whether the Roman mosques have a minaret attached, but they are mosques nevertheless.  And presumably there are a few Islamic clerics in those mosques.  And plenty of copies of the Koran available in bookshops in Rome, as well as all other western European cities.

What is the situation in Saudi Arabia?  You cannot even bring a bible into the country.  Much less build a church.  You cannot buy a Christmas card in a Saudi bookshop.  If by any chance you want to send a Christmas card to someone outside the country, you have to put the card in a plain envelope, with a piece of paper around the card so that the mullahs cannot hold the envelope up the light and see that it is a Christmas card!  And, whereas anybody can go to the Vatican, enter St Peters Basilica, and wander through the Vatican museum, only Muslims can enter Mecca.

Before criticising the Swiss, all Muslims should first of all acknowledge that Saudi Arabia is far worse in its treatment of non-Muslims.  In fact, non-Muslims get far worse treatment in Muslim nations than Muslims get in non-Muslim countries.  It is about time Muslims stopped this constant whinging and gave up this victim mentality.

They have not said so, but I feel the Swiss have every right to say that Muslims can have their minarets when Saudi Arabia allows churches on its soil.  Not just churches, but churches with nice tall bell-towers.

And if the mullahs want to broadcast their calls to prayer, that is possible only when the churches in Saudi Arabia are allowed to ring their bells loud and clear.

James Burke writes: It should not be left to Muslims like Shakira Hussein to speak out against the ludicrously bigoted referendum result in Switzerland. A minaret ban! What next — a ban on moustaches, or fluffy dice? Why not order all Muslims to wear a crescent? Or Jews a star? This is the thinking of the Nazis and the Taliban.

Switzerland — a country which has for too long hidden behind a facade of neutrality, while profiting from the murder of European Jewry and the efforts of international organised crime — should be hung out to dry, after this display of naked racial and religious hatred. It won’t be though. We’ve already seen the double standard, where Austria is reprimanded (mildly) for Haider, while Israel gets a nod and a wink for Lieberman.

Australian politicians will continue to give lip-service to multiculturalism while passing money under the table to any fascist eager to trade. And while we sink into ever deeper crises of environmental and economic debasement, our leaders will tell us ever more earnest lies about the noble intentions of our trading partners.

Opium, anyone?

Janet Albrechtsen:

Brian Mitchell writes: Re. Janet Albrechtsen (yesterday, comments) who wrote: “We are in the business of information, not malicious disinformation.” BWAR! HAR! HAR! HAR! HAR! HAR! Seriously, I’m a fat man in my 40s, my heart can’t take it!

Climate change:

Kieren Diment writes: More drivel from Tamas Calderwood (yesterday, comments) . Maybe you keep publishing him because his drivel sells papers.  I’d suggest that a page 3 girl and boy (for balance) might be a more intellectually stimulating and rigorous alternative.

The Satellite data does not differ significantly from any other measurements of global temperature, and most certainly does not show any statistically significant cooling trend. The satellite data shows a trend of an increase in 0.153 degrees centigrade per decade over the past 30 years.

A graph of the complete time series of the satellite temperature observations shows clearly that Tamas’ view is not driven by any approximation of reality. All we get from Tamas Calderwood and his co-conspirator Ken Lambert are wild jumping to conclusions mixed with a dash of paranoid delusion.

Steve O’Connor writes: Tamas Calderwood states that CRU temperature records are flawed because they deleted the original raw data and haven’t released the algorithms used for processing.

His assertion is that CRU scientists deliberately manipulated the data and deleted the evidence, rather than — more plausibly — removing it because they didn’t have enough space for archiving. Whatever the truth, it is likely that the raw records exist at many of the weather stations that originally collected the data (unless the weather stations were in on the global conspiracy too) and hopefully it will be independently verified that there was no funny business.

If the IPCC scientists who wrote the Copenhagen Diagnosis relied only on this ‘tainted’ data-set then there may be, rightly, some cause for concern. However, as good scientists do, they used other data-sets to corroborate the evidence, such as the NASA global temperature records.

I would be the first to jump for joy if it was all just a hoax, but once you start seriously looking into it, the evidence for this fantastical theory just isn’t there. “Oh sh*t”.

Steven Evans writes: Interesting reply from Tamas Calderwood again, but there are numerous examples of corruption of the IPCC through this climategate affair that Crikey just doesn’t seem to want to report on.

Either way, doing a little bit of reading has yielded results as to the uncertainty of Surface Temperatures: there is a documented email trail by Dr Roger Pielke Sr with his dealings with Dr Thomas Karl, director of the US National Climate Data Center (NCDC), where Thomas, as the lead editor of an IPCC report successfully suppresses the biases and uncertainties in the Assessment Surface Temperature Trends Report that  Roger wanted to be part of.

At the same time, I am yet to find any significant publication of Climategate and the associated ramifications of this, the greatest scientific scandal of our generation, in any Australian news source.  Instead of having people like Tamas or Ken continually have to perform research and be the unpaid journalists that I would consider re-subscribing for.  Always in the last couple of paragraphs at the end of the paper – the last thoughts of the day.

With news this big you’d expect it to be front page news, like in Canada, Germany, Switzerland, America… with so many lives and jobs in the balance, any coverage of this, 15 years of manipulation of IPCC findings, and the gullibility of the media to not ask questions — to take the word of 1000 editors, aids and scientists (with over $70 billion US in funding so far) over the word of 31,000 scientists, demonstrates that there is something wrong here.

Why is there a news vacuum?

There’s a good analysis of the scandal at TheRegister in the UK. And another at the Telegraph in the UK also. Perhaps forwarding those links to Bernard Keane to read and digest would be a good first step…

Harold Thornton writes: Tamas Calderwood expresses dismay at alleged ethical lapses revealed by illegal trawling through the private emails of climate scientists and selectively quoting there from.  Perhaps Tamas would be kind enough to expose his own private email archive to similar scrutiny.  As the master of the decontextualised factoid, he surely couldn’t object.


Crikey: Yesterday, an incorrect version of the story “As it happened: countdown to Abbott oblivion” appeared in the Crikey email due to a publishing error. The correct version appears on the website.

Peter Fray

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