Brenden Hills, The Sunday Telegraph, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 8). Crikey published:

“The co-author of the Sunday Telegraph’s “Carbon” Cate Blanchett beat-up, Brenden Hills, is fondly remembered by Labor advisers for an amusing performance during the NSW state election campaign. Spies say Hills ventured down to Pitt Street’s Civic Hotel one night and started haranguing staffers over the carbon tax…”

I read with interest Crikey‘s “Tips and Rumours” for Tuesday May 31.

Just wanted to let you know I’ve never been to the Civic Hotel in my life and have better things to do than harangue political staffers on a Friday night.

Check your source on that one.

Regards and thanks for reading,

Carbon tax, celebrities and climate change:

Ken Lambert writes: Re. “Rundle: the celebrities won’t save us” (yesterday, item 6). Guy Rundle would be even more pithy in his analysis of the Carbon Tax celebrities if he knew something about the latest climate science.

Steffan, Flannery and Karoly are trotting out the standard version of AGW alarmism based on the last 30 years of warming temperatures, rising sea levels and other “multiple lines of warming evidence”. And why would not an intelligent Guy believe it?

Trouble is that the last 10 years of climate measurement is not following the AGW script. Surface temperature rise is flattening, sea level rise is dropping below the touted trend line of 3.1mm per year, and the warming imbalance measured by ocean heat content is flattening, by some measures down by at least 30% and by others — actually cooling.

Jim Hansen (AGW guru and lead IPCC author) has recently written a 52 page synopsis which finds a reduction in the warming imbalance from 0.9W/sq.m to 0.59W/sq.m which he mainly attributes to substantial underestimated cooling due to aerosols.  His explanations of other factors are highly contentious, including a preposterous “delayed Pinitubo rebound effect”, however the import of his conclusion is the sleeper in this debate.

Jim Hansen has abandoned the “it’s there but we can’t measure it yet” explanation of Dr Trenberth’s missing heat travesty, and recognized that at least 30% of the warming “trapped heat” in the oceans — ain’t there at all.

I am sure Cate Blanchett would appreciate these bombshells in climate science if she knew a Joule from a jewel, but gigatonne Guy Rundle has less excuse for parroting the press releases of the paid AGW establishment.

Tamas Calderwood writes: Guy Rundle informs us that with human CO2 emissions at record levels “we have well and truly bust [sic] the thermostat”, a 3-4C rise is now on the cards that “shifts the relationship between nature and humanity” and “there’s a good chance the species won’t be around by 2200”.

Hoookay. Of course, in the past 70 years there has been one warming spurt from 1975-1998 that saw the world’s temperature rise by less than 0.4C and total warming in the past 150 years has been less than 0.8C.  And don’t forget that the general warming trend actually stopped in 1998, just as it did between 1880-1910 and 1940-1975.

Thus, given that our record emissions seem to be having no perceptible affect on Earth’s temperature, how do you then extrapolate out to human extinction and general societal collapse again?  With lashings of hyperbole, I guess.

Still, at least he gets that celebrities telling us to say “yes” to a tax we all said “no” to at the last election makes them look like idiots, which I think is what the last 1,000 words of his article was trying to say.

Wilkie and the QHA:

Ray Edmondson writes: Re. “Wilkie slams internal QHA pokies ‘talking points‘” (yesterday, item 3). According to The Economist, Australians are now the world’s biggest gamblers per capita, with each of us losing $1208 last year. That’s a sizeable chunk out of an average income. So what do people gain for this expenditure to sustain the gambling “industry”?

Unless you regard playing the pokies as entertainment and you are willing to pay what it costs, the answer is — nothing. By definition, gambling per se is a zero sum game. It cannot create wealth — at best it can merely shift it around. Organised gambling exacts a price for doing so, thereby ensuring that output is always less than input. The gambling “industry” makes no net contribution to the economy: the term is an oxymoron. Yet this basic economic fact doesn’t seem to rate a mention in all the debate on the topic.

The gambling lobby will argue that casinos and clubs provide community facilities, subsidised meals and entertainment , and support charitable causes — that indeed they are public benefactors, offering something for nothing. But the reality is that it is the gamblers, not the clubs or casinos, who are the unwilling philanthropists — they are getting nothing for something.  If all pokies were abolished tomorrow, the money now fed into them at clubs and casinos would remain in the economy and be diverted to more productive and efficient uses.  The clubs would have to charge higher membership fees and prices for their services,  but the average punter would still be well ahead.

We know this won’t happen. But any action to reduce the impact of gambling on those least able to manage it must be applauded. Whoever spent that $1208 on my behalf last year may well be among that group.

Rob Oakeshott:

John Goldbaum writes: Rob Oakeshott is a fool and a hypocrite. Having voted against the Speaker’s ruling, he can’t get up and say he has confidence in the Speaker, unless he apologises for his actions, admits to being a fool, promises not to do it again, and acknowledges he has egg all over his face.

However, although he was third to speak to the ensuing confidence motion, he said he would just as likely vote against the Speaker’s ruling if similar circumstances arose in the future. That means the Speaker can’t enforce order in the house by naming a member even after he’s issued a general warning. The Speaker’s position is therefore untenable and he must resign.

Rob Oakeshott might be the only hypocrite, but Tony Windsor is equally culpable for not backing the Speaker’s ruling. You can’t show confidence in the Speaker by missing a division. Same goes for the Mad Hatter.