An omission from the Fitzgerald era

Greg Chamberlin writes: Re. “There’s plenty behind LNP’s voluntary voting thought bubble” (January 4). Mark Bahnisch says a key omission of the Fitzgerald reforms in Queensland was the lack of any really independent arbiter for the rules of the electoral game. Has Bahnisch not found time to read Fitzgerald’s report and comprehensive recommendations? The first, in fact, was the establishment of an Electoral and Administrative Review Commission — “an enduring, independent process to review and recommend the necessary electoral and administrative laws and guidelines and procedures”. The inaugural chair was Tom Sherman and one of its landmark achievements was the end of the infamous gerrymander.

The commission was effective, efficient, and ran on a tight budget but not everyone in the then government welcomed its powers to initiate its own inquiries and report on them. On the recommendation of an all-party committee it was wound up at the end of 1993.

American club

Denis Lenihan writes: Re. “Exclusive Sydney club closes — where will rich old white men go now?” The very best views from the American Club are from the men’s john, as they call it. George H. W. Bush when VeePee and his wife Barbara were given lunch there way back when. George went to the john and returned to the table enthusing about the view. Nothing would do but that Barbara had to see it too, so the Secret Service men stood guard at the door while she did so.

Climate change

Chris Sanderson writes: I really think it’s time for Crikey to ban persistent deniers’ comments. The climate change facts are established and the global scientific consensus is final on this.

The more people who are deliberately confused by the faux science promoted by the fossil fuel industry, the longer it’s going to take their politician supporters to start doing what we have to do to deal with the consequences — which is exactly what the bastards want.

It’s time for the government to officially declare war on CO2 emissions and charge persistent deniers with treason, or preferably take them to The Hague and charge them with crimes against humanity.

We are running out of time before irreversible climate tipping points are passed.

Professor Andrew Dempster, director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research, writes: I am a real fan of Tamas Calderwood (comments, Wednesday), who Crikey publishes regularly. No one interprets data like Calderwood. He has consistently argued that because 1998 was the hottest on record, the world has been cooling since then. In the light of 2012 now becoming the official hottest year on record (at least in the US), I thought I’d use his own techniques to help him out with a new argument, analysing the new data in this week. So, Australia has had the hottest average maximum ever of 40.33 degrees (breaking the record of 40.17 set in 1972) and the longest run of days with the national average above 39 degrees (seven, breaking the record of four set in 1973). Now, on the face of it, you might think that this is clear evidence of warming. But don’t misread the data.

Applying Calderwood’s technique: the national average was over 40 on January 8 but below 39 on January 9. That’s cooling at more than a degree per day! By my calculations, we have an ice age due before the end of February!

Peter Fray

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