Polling, mandates and the carbon tax:

Shirley Colless writes: Re. “Pollsters lower their colours: carbon taxing credulity” (yesterday, item 3). Given that pollsters may not want their colours identified, what is all this monumental garbage about any government needing a mandate to any darned thing that was not explicitly or even implicitly mentioned even by one syllable in their election material?

Seems to me that this locks any government into a situation where it cannot respond to any issue or crisis that may arise during its term of government.

I can’t recall whether R.G. Menzies had a mandate to take Australia into three wars, World War 2, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  I very much doubt it and cannot remember as a voter during the Vietnam debacle anyone claiming Menzies did or did not have a mandate.  I can imagine, however, what the Australian voter reaction would have been had he put that one up in his election manifesto of 1960.

This mandate business is a dangerous game for any political party to play on for short term political game, because for that party in government it will simply be turned on it whenever the opposition sees its chance.

And as far as the media are concerned, it is time they got some common sense and concentrated on factual reporting and stringent analysis.

Peter Angelico writes: Who is next on Labor’s list to spruik about the carbon tax? Humphrey B. Bear! Perhaps Mr Bear could tell us how bears will no longer be able to do what bears do in the woods unless a carbon tax is in place!

My apologies, Humphrey doesn’t talk and he’d probably get arrested for not wearing pants in public!

Even though this bear can’t talk, he certainly couldn’t be any worse than the other hacks Labor have rolled out to promote this dud policy!

Live export trade:

Tilly Junker writes: Re. “Live exports ban a threat to delicate trade dispute” (1 June, item 3). I am astounded at the response of almost all sectors of community and government to the Four Corners expose of obviously problematic and unacceptable live export practices.

As a sometime vegetarian currently living in a small Chinese city (where to avoid meat is to avoid anything savory, so I often capitulate) I know I do not have the moral high ground. Nonetheless, I can’t help but greet the community-wide reaction with more than a little skepticism.

Online petitions and social media groups have sprouted and grown overnight and are populated with people who have no problem eating meat most of the time. While it is of course good to see carnivores showing an interest in animal rights, what worries me is that people are doing so without any question of what goes on their own backyard.

You might have flinched at Brian’s treatment at the hands of Indonesians, but are you still happy to eat eggs laid by an Australian chicken with floor space smaller than a sheet of A4 paper, or to buy a nice pork fillet from the supermarket without another thought as to the disgusting treatment of female pigs in your own country?

Is it too cynical of me to see all this outrage as a convenient, low-impact chance for everyone to show their activist streak without really caring about the central issue?

Plain packaging of cigarettes:

Ian Hanke writes: Re. “Will government’s plain-packaging proposals make a difference?” (1 June, item 14).I note from the comments on my article on plain packaging of cigarettes that some of your correspondents think that I may be in the employ of tobacco industry.

Let me state categorically that neither Agitating P/L or Media & Political Counsel P/L has been retained by the tobacco industry to prosecute a case for them.

The view I expressed was entirely my own and is consistent with previous positions taken on agitate.com.au on a range of subjects including criticism of the government’s National Health Preventative Taskforce recommendations where the plain packaging proposal was first floated.

Having said that I would be more than happy to accept an assignment from the tobacco industry, as I would from any other legal industry, and I would proudly proclaim it!


Peter Lloyd (not the ABC journalist)  writes: Re. “Media briefs: ABC Tassie staff angry … Kerry stole 7.30 eyes … Australia Net overdue …” (yesterday, item 18). It might be premature to write off the new, post-Kerry O’Brien 7:30, but it is harder to watch than it was.

Chris Uhlmann in particular appears to be trying to prove his credentials with aggression rather than precision or brilliance, appearing to see his job as to provide “balance” by asking the questions Andrew Bolt’s readers might pose.

The ABC would have been well advised to elevate Steve Cannane whose work on Triple J was often among the best radio journalism. Broadcast on the brain-dead national youth network, Canane’s work was thus ignored but he used his freedom to look at many macro issues that never make it into the many hours of current affairs produced each week.  He has also done good work on Lateline.

As it stands he is wasted on News 24’s The Drum, where he might eventually appear as bemused, tired and defeated as Barry Cassidy, worn out from wrangling morons.


Rod Bruem writes: Re. “Media briefs: ABC Tassie staff angry … Kerry stole 7.30 eyes … Australia Net overdue …” (yesterday, item 18). Tom Cowie reports 41 ABC Tasmania production staff signed a petition complaining about producing 21 hours of television per year.

Surely that can’t be right? That’s not a television production unit, it’s a taxpayer-funded sheltered workshop. And how many staff are there in Hobart who didn’t sign the petition?

In the real (commercial) world, 41 production staff would produce 21 hours per week — and more.

Are photographers journalists?:

Michael Frazer writes: Re. “The Age cries foul on OPI yarn, accuses Herald Sun of plagiarism” (yesterday, item 15). Andrew Crook wrote:

Crikey understands Ramadge and Gardner also exchanged barbs last year after photographs taken by Age photographer Wayne Hawkins of a riot outside an Oakleigh Bob Jane store were apparently used by the Herald Sun without attribution. Hawkins was the only journalist present during the ugly scenes, with News’ snapper arriving well after the angry mob had dispersed.”

Crook describes describes a newspaper photographer as a “journalist”. Nothing against the snappers, but I don’t think that is an accurate description of them.


Rob Oakeshott:

John Goldbaum writes: In reply to Brett Krieger’s request (yesterday, comments) that I clarify whether I believe “the opposition to be fools and hypocrites”, I do believe that Tony Abbott and most of his supporters are both, I believe Malcolm Turnbull and most of his supporters are neither, and I believe the most appropriate way to describe the parliamentary performance of the majority of them is to resurrect the old parliamentary quip that they have the brains of sheep.

Climate change:

Ken Lambert writes: Re. “Global warming above 2° so far mitigated by accidental geo-engineering” (yesterday, item 14). The elaborate story being perpetrated by Dr Glikson is all about the failure to measure the much postulated 0.9W/sq.m warming imbalance in the oceans. Hansen et al are only measuring 0.59W/sq.m from 2005-10, and that might be an overestimate based on one 0-2000m Argo analysis by von Schukmann.

When the “missing heat” is missing for long enough to be increasingly difficult to explain, the accidental Aerosol cooling is seized on as a reason, as if it were a new thing just discovered.  I have been banging on about the wide range of cooling forcings for aerosols for some time — and the fact that there is no direct measurement of any component of the several warming and cooling forcings. All these components are largely theoretical constructs.

In fact the direct measurement of the SUM of all the warming and cooling forcings by CERES satellites gives an imbalance of +6.4W/sq.m — which is 10 times the 0.59 number now postulated. This clearly impossible direct measurement was then ‘corrected’ by climate scientists down to 0.9W/sq.m by a process called the “circular scientific argument”. It goes like this: “Hansen models +0.9W/sq.m in 2005. We know +6.4 is impossibly high. We correct it down to +0.9. We then say that the satellite measurement confirms the models.”

This dear readers is the quality of the climate science we are asked to accept — and Carbon Tax ourselves in advance of 98.5% of all the other emitters on the planet in order to save it.

Tamas Calderwood writes: Andrew Davison (yesterday, comments) claims that when he fact-checks my comments I am wrong EVERY TIME, yet he can’t actually say what these incorrect facts are. He also said that Dr Kilbourne’s stated uncertainty about the causes of natural variability cannot be interpreted as saying the scientists “don’t know” — Kilbourne was just saying that there are short-term variations superimposed on a long term trend.

Well yes Andrew, but my question asked why the three warming spurts of the past 150 years were of the same magnitude given much higher CO2 emissions in the latter periods. Dr Kilbourne ducked that question and simply admitted that “there are different competing ideas right now about the causes” of long term natural variability. Sounds to me like they don’t know what causes these “variations that occur over decades and multiple decades”.

John Kotsopoulos (yesterday, comments)  isn’t interested in questions about the warming spurts and demands I explain the overall upward trend in global temperatures “at a time when carbon dioxide emissions are also rising”.

You mean like right now, when according to the website John references “global temperature has shown little to no trend [since 2002] while CO2 has risen”?

Oh, I know John — a decade isn’t a long enough timeframe, right?  But that retort would be curious given that you’re not interested in the warming spurts of the past 150 years.

Peter Fray

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