7.30, Fitzgibbon and some interestingly positioned fruit:

Alan Sunderland, head of policy, ABC News, writes: Re. “Media briefs: 7.30’s erect banana … NotW’s killer story … YTT up? …” (yesterday, item 19). I am usually reluctant to interrupt people having a bit of fun, but the speculation about the fruit bowl seen in the background during a 7.30 interview with Joel Fitzgibbon last night is getting a little out of hand, so I probably need to set the record straight.

The placement of the fruit was both accidental and innocent.

When setting up for the interview, the cameraman decided to move the bowl of fruit from the coffee table to the shelves to improve the shot. The fruit fell out, he hurriedly replaced it and rolled on the interview.

The pure-of-mind 7.30 team did not notice anything amiss, either during the interview or during the editing and production process.

So, for the record, no one from the ABC and no one from Mr Fitzgibbon’s office was in any way involved in a deliberate attempt to make a joke or send a message.

Now do carry on.

Mining tax:

Michael Whiting writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. For several years I have subscribed to Crikey and have enjoyed the other side of the argument that may not get aired in our mainstream press. However  I have to take argument with yesterday’s editorial.

Crikey talks about greedy, lying mining corporations — surely you jest! I thought it was going to be greedy lying GOVERNMENTS. I raise this because some years ago Don Argus publicly raised the awareness to the mining industry of  the introduction of new taxes. The industry was waiting for dialogue but no, Rudd/Swan, in desperate need of budget deficit filling dollars, dumped a massive indiscriminate tax on the industry.

Every person/industry/group has the right to argue against and fight against such measures. Crikey seems to think this is undemocratic. Surely the issue is why didn’t the government engage with the industry and introduce a mining RRT — simple, easy and fair.

There should be a tax on extra normal profits and despite what Terry McCrann says they should go into a SWF so the governments of the day cannot use it as general revenue and put us in the bind we now find ourselves in.

You are right, this new tax will cost as much to implement as it will deliver but it is the government’s fault not the mining industry.

Abbott on Whitlam:

Michael R. James writes: Re. “Abbott’s humour less than killer, but does he lack compassion?” (yesterday, item 15). Like David Ritter I found Tony Abbott’s insult in parliament of the great Gough Whitlam revealed a “serial insensitivity shows a standard of manners and politeness less than that which should be a minimum requirement for public office. At worst what is revealed is a genuine failure of compassion. Taken collectively there seems to be pattern of instinctive and aggressive callousness; an impulsive failure of empathy.”

It provoked thoughts of What would Gough do? Why, of course, he would demolish and humiliate the intellectual midget of Tony Abbott in parliament. Even at age 95 today he still could.

In fact there is a certain déjà vu induced by Abbott’s relentless negativity and Malcolm Fraser’s obstructionism during the Whitlam government. Here is a small extract from my earlier article:

“But the positive impact on Australia [of the Whitlam government] remains huge and incalculable. It would take a separate article to describe them but Medibank (reversed by Fraser, reinstated by Hawke as Medicare), voting at 18, equal opportunities for women, no-fault divorce, abolition of White Australia Policy, and relations with China are just a few. I have no doubt that if those Young Libs reflected for a few seconds they would drop their jaws that many of the things that define our society today, and which they take for granted, were created during those brief turbulent 35 months and were totally, relentlessly opposed by their own party.”

Greenhouse gas emissions:

John Bushell writes: Re. “Behind the Seams: the science behind CSG’s clean credentials” (yesterday, item 10). The article compares greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for competing technologies rather than asking the question: do any of the technologies go close to meeting the constraints that unlimited global warming impose on mankind if we continue to want to live on this planet?

Man-made GHGs must not exceed 18 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent per annum from 2050 on if catastrophic global warming is to be avoided (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research). This is the equivalent of two tonnes CO2 equivalent per annum per person with an assumed human population in 2050 of 9 billion. Just to pull its weight Australia needs to reduce its present  per capita emissions from 27 tonnes

CO2 equivalent per annum to 2 tonnes CO2 equivalent per annum — no mean feat.

Globally, assuming that electricity generation takes its fair share of GHG emissions reduction and that some 45 billion MegaWatt hrs (MWhr) of electricity will be generated in 2050,  GHG emissions cannot exceed 100 tonnes per MWhr of power generated.

Notwithstanding the figures used in the report quoted by Rebecca McNicholl, the figures for GHG emissions for brown coal, black coal and natural gas (methane) are roughly 1300,  1000 and 740 tonnes per MWhr respectively. Therefore, any use of fossil fuels to generate electricity in future will place massive pressure on alternative forms of low-carbon electricity generation (renewables and nuclear) for the balance of power generation, or alternative (non-electricity generating low GHG emission) technologies to dramatically reduce GHGs if we are to preserve our planet for posterity.