Home > Oz Politics > Delusion and delay

Delusion and delay

August 17th, 2010

Tony Abbott demonstrates yet again why he is utterly unqualified to be Prime Minister, pushing the absurd line that “global warming stopped in 1998” [1]. As John Cook points out, this silliness requires three separate cherrypicks, each worse than the last. And, as the same story shows, the rest of the Liberal Party is just as bad.

But is it any better to understand the science and do nothing about it as the Labor Party under Gillard is doing? The hacks and spin merchants who now control Labor policy are every bit as bad as Abbott. Delay is just as bad as delusion.

Truly this election is the most depressing I can recall in forty years. If there has been one in our history where both parties have so thoroughly dodged the issues, I’m not aware of it.

fn1. As previously stated, I’m not willing to debate the science of climate change on this blog, since there are plenty of better venues. But you don’t need much expertise in the statistics of time series to expose this line for the dishonest piece of cherrypicking it is. Anyone who espouses it is either a liar or a fool. If anyone wishes to put themselves into one or other of these categories in the comments thread they are welcome to do so.

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  1. Alice
    August 17th, 2010 at 19:39 | #1

    The “dodgy” election is right. Both major parties have dodged elvery major issue. They have played the boat people, they have kissed babies, they have run billy cart races, one side in particular has stumbled and bumbled over the economy until its painful to watch yet another billion dollar mistake… the figures have been atrocious from Tony Abbott.

    The man doesnt know what he is talking about. He doesnt have a clue about the economy.

    But the baby kissing and the boat people bashing goes on. We get to hear about Julia’s unmarried atheist status and how a defacto is moving into the lodge. We got to hear about Abbotts religiousness and his sporting prowess and the size of his budgie smugglers, We get to hear how he has lots of gay friends but doesnt like the idea of them getting married….who cares? None of this matters. Defacto and gay partners should have had the same legal rights as other partners years ago.

    I blame the media. I also blame the spin merchants in both parties who court the court jester king of Australian media who makes a mockery of Australian political campaigning. How can either party stoop so low as to invite ridicule by the press here and the distaste of the Australian people?

    Ask Murdoch – he still pulls the strings. So why are the major parties so anxious to be filtered and screened and misrepresented by an obnoxious old media magnate who is out of touch with what the people of Australia want (and thinks he can control what the people want?)

    Im voting for the man the media ignore, because he is the only honest politician we have. .and because Murdoch has no interest in him.That man is Bob Brown. Im voting for him because I wont vote the way Murdoch wants me to on a matter of principle.

    The Greens dont have a spin team (cant afford it – they dont take donations from large corporate interests) and the court jester media ignores the Greens because they cant pay for ads, but they also dont duck and weave away from what matters….and worry about their hairdos.

    Maybe …just maybe its because the Greens arent so obsessed with their corporate donators. Yes Arbib and Bitar must go from Labor – could not agree more. So must the spin merchants in NSW and QLD state Labor. They are detested.

  2. paul walter
    August 17th, 2010 at 20:32 | #2

    With you Alice.
    Way too depressing and so despicable, so much of it, from both sides.

  3. Factory
    August 17th, 2010 at 20:52 | #3

    I dunno, it would hard to beat Abbott’s government issued bonds that are apparently not government debt.

  4. paul walter
    August 17th, 2010 at 21:24 | #4

    Factory, if youve been online today you’ll have seen whole regiments of them out today, head-hunting Stiglitz and the “Desperate fifty”.
    Now we have a chance of an Antipodean Bear Sterns in hot pursuit of another crash caught red handed with that sort of scrap. The Aussie people are liable for the clean up and all the insider deals are long inside Swiss banks in numbered accounts.
    Back to the future, this is 1987 writ large.

  5. Rationalist
    August 17th, 2010 at 21:29 | #5

    Nobody cares about climate change any more, people care more about jobs and the economy.

  6. Alice
    August 17th, 2010 at 21:47 | #6

    @paul walter
    Paul – if only they could tell the media to go jump – really Im not for collusive agreements but on this I am. Politics has become a sideshow. All parties need to give the royal flick to the Australian media – write letters to us all and say “you dont publish all of my letter and thats it boys – no interviews – no photo sessions – no questions – nothing!” ZIP.

    They (the media) frankly need to be starved until they learn some respect (thats it RESPECT!)- but it needs to be a decision made together with all parties.

  7. Peter Evans
    August 17th, 2010 at 21:59 | #7


    Pains me to be a pedant, but Bob Brown is not up for re-election. He was last re-elected in 2007, so he’s not on the ticket this time. Also, he’s Tasmanian, and I’m pretty sure that’s not where you are enrolled Alice.

    But I hear what you are saying. The Greens have not dodged issues or cared much how they play in the corporate media, or commissioned focus groups to help them hone in on the hot button non-issues.

    But back to the first point. We live in a representative democracy – a point rammed home by the demise of Mr Rudd (deserved in my view, but that’s another issue for Faust and another day). Celebrity politics and media dummying down give us the illusion that we directly elect a temporary dictator, but that is far, far from reality. Professional politicians get this, but figure ultimately it works in there favour. But they are wrong, and it is at the core of why our experience of choosing government is so unsatisfactory.

  8. August 17th, 2010 at 22:02 | #8

    It is very discouraging. The ‘warming has stopped’ issue has been addressed so many times. I think Abbott is quite an honest man so my conclusion is that he is a bit of a fool. He seemed better at handling a narrower portfolio and doesn’t seem equipped to be a leader.

    As usual the Liberal Party rang me to leaflet for the forthcoming election and to work on election day. I told them that to do so would be an act of dishonesty as I didn’t think Abbott deserved support because of his climate change stance. The difficulty for me is that Labor is an inept government. It is a very discouraging election – the whole electoral process seems to be heading downhill. If you cast aside partisan political perspectives the current situation spells problems for Australia whatever the election outcome.

    Maybe we will stumble along through this process but I suspect not – the mining tax debacle sticks in my head. Wise investments in rent-seeking by large mining companies who propagated deception won the day. We look like America.

    We need principled central government and a strong and honest opposition. We don’t have any chance at all of getting either.

  9. paul walter
    August 17th, 2010 at 22:03 | #9

    Watching “Insight” for a little while and someone was saying its down to the inexperience of the leaders. They are ultra cautious, yet make quite elemental blunders at times.
    Rationalist, you are right, but the chooks have well and truly been fed by media and politicians alike. Once again the baser instincts of the Australian have been appealed to.
    From basic self concern it deteriorates downwards.
    Alice, there has been so much of perversity in this election. And its tied up to a universal uncertainty that has people uneasy inspite of, or perhaps because of, the banality of the election.

  10. Alice
    August 17th, 2010 at 22:14 | #10

    @paul walter
    Paul – Im really disgusted at not being able to call up from myself barely a skerrick of respect for our major contending politicians in this election – but who is to blame?. Look at what they say? Look at how they pander to vested interests and still try to appeal to non vested interests for a single reason – our vote next week – after which they will happily return to their core business of raising funds for the party and staying in power …and travelling overseas.

    Its the media, its the vested interest groups waving fistfuls of dollars under their party noses and its little but a circus. How can we respect them when really they have no respect for us or our votes beyond the election?

  11. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 17th, 2010 at 22:27 | #11

    John, in comparison to Turnbull many would agree with you that Abbott is completely deviod of certain basic skills which seems to cloud his judgement.

  12. paul walter
    August 17th, 2010 at 22:30 | #12

    hc brings a mild releif, apparently some lib supporters are as baffled at these goings-on as us lefties. ha, ha..
    Alice, as you know, it’s far more complicated than even that, our insecurities drive us to the same ultimate compromises as the politicians in the innermost darknesses of ourselves. They know us and we know them.

  13. paul walter
    August 17th, 2010 at 22:33 | #13

    Mosh, he’s been a flatfoot.
    He must hail from somewhere far, far away way beyond our galaxy spiral. Methinks David Bowie, but better not speak, Conroy and Kevin Andrews might be listening.

  14. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 17th, 2010 at 22:47 | #14

    John, I should have also stessed that I find Abbott’s stance on asylum seekers un-Australian, un-Christian like and an act of bastardry.

  15. cbp
    August 17th, 2010 at 23:19 | #15

    Tony Abbotts says : “But in the end, I’m not going to win an argument over the science – I’ll leave that to the scientists”

    Now there is so much that aggravates me about this sentence.

    Firstly, he’s a woose. He won’t even he stand up and argue what he supposedly believes in.

    Secondly, he’s obviously not ‘leaving it to the scientists’ – he’s ignoring the unanimous pleading of Australian scientists and running with the advice of one mining executive and a couple of amateur bloggers.

    Thirdly, of course he’s not going to win – he’s wrong. And he knows he’s wrong. He must. This is a guy who has no qualms about saying to your face – “I know I’m wrong, but f*** you, I’m just going to do whatever pleases my psychotic fanbase, because hey – its money in the bank”. He’s like the Peter Andre of politics.

  16. paul walter
    August 17th, 2010 at 23:27 | #16

    cbp, am just watching Scott Morrison bullsh-tting about boat people on Latteline. I can’t watch am so close to collapsing with laughter.

  17. paul walter
    August 17th, 2010 at 23:35 | #17

    I have seldom seen a politician demolished so efficiently, as Scott Morrison by Lee Sales just now..

  18. Donald Oats
    August 17th, 2010 at 23:58 | #18

    As soon as I heard that Scott Morrison was going to appear on Lateline, I stopped watching. Unfortunately, I rather stupidly bought the Australian newspaper today – first one in a long time and probably last one for an even longer time. In it they did a slaughter job on the Greens in an article by Christian Kerr. He looked at their economic policies and placed an ignorant negative slant on every one of the planks, rather than thinking about how the various issues – population growth/decline rates, humanitarian immigration, anthropogenic global warming – fit together. Noone is arguing for communism as a solution to these issues: the Greens just want the market-based system of economics to take these issues into account, which generally means setting a price by some mechanism or another.

    I’m still going to vote for the Greens where I can, if I can. I don’t even care who the local candidate is (well, maybe not Ivan Milat), they have my vote. However, I live in a safe Liberal seat where global warming stopped in 1998 yada yada yada. Makes me puke.

    As they say, whoever you vote for, a politician gets in!

  19. Donald Oats
    August 18th, 2010 at 00:02 | #19

    PS: Tony Abbott copped a pasting on the 7:30 Report earlier tonight. Kerry O’Brien reminded him of the various quotes of him saying one thing, only to then say something different shortly thereafter. As some quipped a couple of weeks ago, with Tony Abbott the first question should be “Tony, can you put that in writing, please?” With Tony you don’t know which way he’ll go unless it is committed in writing first.

  20. Tony G
    August 18th, 2010 at 00:20 | #20

    They can’t even measure an average global temperature to within a tolerance to PROVE that it is either warming or cooling. That is why they only have anomalies and not an average global temperature. It was necessary to change the theories name from global warming to climate change. (because the weather runs hot and cold and their hoax theory fits with that observation)

    If Australia cut emissions by 100% it will do nothing to kerb the increase of carbon in the atmosphere, so come up with something that will and then I might believe what ever you are on about isn’t a hoax.

  21. observa
    August 18th, 2010 at 00:36 | #21

    My take is it’s a lot of our own fault for placing our politicians in such an invidious position having to chase marginal seat voters. What’s the answer to that? Simply this. The Reps should be proportional representation with one vote one value, thereby ending branch stacking, marginal seat pork barrelling and rent seeking to concentrate on national issues for us all. The parties select their candidates in order of their ticket preference which allows them to parachute in the best talent they see fit without the need for baby kissing, etc and the need for prospective PMs and cabinet ministers to defend single seats. With 150 maxm Reps members the parties nominate 150 candidates maxm and can replace their final elected quota anytime with anyone on the original ticket only, which takes care of casual vacancies and byelections. A house of Govt with a national agenda because the party candidates have to have run the gauntlet of the national party membership and without the distractions of lost kittens.

    That only leaves a seat based Senate where no candidate can belong to a political party, ostensibly to keep the bastards honest and not too remote or esoteric, with strong committee interrogatory powers and the ultimate sanction. Well resourced local office backup to deal with lost kittens and Centrelink cheques. This member House finally selects the HoS from nominated candidates put up by the party based Reps (maxm one nomination per seat in the Reps), which solves that thorny republic problem as well as overtly political appointments.

    You think about it and it’s the only way to get around the current shortcomings including the wisdom of our maker for the AEC with boundaries currently. Then you argue the toss about peripheral things like public funding and compulsory voting and the like.

  22. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 18th, 2010 at 00:52 | #22

    Tony G, if Australia cut emissions by 100% then we will all breathe fresh clean air. Better go back to your den and hibernate for the winter.

  23. paul walter
    August 18th, 2010 at 01:04 | #23

    Christian Kerr?
    A certain redolence of the oxymoronic yet dead accurate name..

  24. TerjeP
    August 18th, 2010 at 07:08 | #24

    JQ – you imply that Julia Gillard understands the climate science. Personally I pretty much doubt it. If she was ever grilled on this by a half competent journalist I suspect she wouldn’t be across the technical details at all. Her views on climate seem to me to be as much based on faith as those of Tony Abbott. But why would we expect anything else given that both are professional politicians. Their expertise is in judging the public mood, anticipating the schizophrenic nature of the public mood, carving off a majority portion of the public and pandering with fine rhetoric. These are the skills our political ecosystem selects for.

  25. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 18th, 2010 at 08:09 | #25

    Terje, in the past I have listened to Gillard arguing a good case for tackling global warming and the need for an ETS. As for Abbott, well one day global warming is crap, the next day it is up to the Gods to fix our planet, and the following day a green corp will fix our problems. This is a man who is totally confused.

  26. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 18th, 2010 at 09:07 | #26

    Terje, when it comes to pollution Abbott just does not get it for there are major differences between himself and Turnbull, and with his State counterpart O’Farrell when it comes to public transport.

  27. Austin
    August 18th, 2010 at 11:21 | #27

    You are right about the woeful state of this election. But mark my words. People in their droves (~70%) will put their primary votes for the major parties even with the sad state of affairs we have here in Australia. I believe this is mainly because they don’t see this as an election of a representative body but as a direct election of an executive (i.e. Julia vs Tony). This will naturally give people the perception that they have less choice then they really do have.

    We desperately need a new electoral system which truly separates the executive and legislative. At least that way it will be easier on the poor overheated braincells out there in the community to figure out what their vote means rather than confusing the two arms of governance. (And if we can give the old girl the flick at the same time, then all the better).

  28. Jim Rose
    August 18th, 2010 at 11:49 | #28

    what ever happened to the division of labour? ministers has chief executives who set the directions, make the critical decisions and hire experts for technical issues.

    swating up for mastermind style media quizzes on climate change, broadband or constitutional law or whatever are a waste of time that get ministers bogged down in the details. then again, all the better, because a details ridden government does not get anything done.

  29. Russell W
    August 18th, 2010 at 16:06 | #29

    The same group of voters who believe that Oz is flooded with boat people will accept Abbot’s drivel that AGW is a non-event, it’s smart politics.
    As long as Australia uses compulsory voting we will be subjected to “lowest common denominator politics”.

  30. August 18th, 2010 at 16:06 | #30

    As I recall, the ALP did put forward their ETS legislation twice, and had it knocked back in the Senate, so they decided very sensibly to work towards a better position of power to reintroduce it. When people declare that Labor have “given up”, I just roll my eyes. I agree that we can’t afford another three years of inaction, which is precisely why we can’t afford an Abbott government. Greens are fine if you want a protest vote, but for action, vote Labor.

  31. August 18th, 2010 at 16:17 | #31

    They will for sure care about jobs and the economy big time if they don’t care about climate change.

    LNP candidate for Ryan Jane Prentice a couple of weeks ago said no one is talking green issues, only jobs and the economy. I hope she gets a pretty big surprise on election day. Take a look at my blog, where one of my most popular articles looks at how this year is shaping up to be the hottest year on record. Follow the instructions there to update the AMSU-A graph. If that doesn’t frighten you, you are clearly expecting to move to a different planet.

  32. August 18th, 2010 at 16:20 | #32

    @Chris Grealy
    What I find sad about the ALP is they could have gone to this election with exactly the same platform as last time, except now the Garnaut report is available, and asked for a mandate to implement the policy. It’s very unlikely the Coalition will have the numbers in the senate after this election to block a new improved ETS.

    That is why some of us accuse them of giving up, and why the Greens campaign in Ryan is being overwhelmed by an unprecedented wave of volunteers.

  33. August 18th, 2010 at 16:25 | #33

    @Tony G
    Tony, by “you”, I presume you mean yourself. Scientists earn PhDs and publish in top journals as a consequence of figuring out how to solve hard problems. Right-wing bloggers can trash their work for free. The term “climate change” is more accurate because the planet will not warm uniformly and there are more things changing than temperature (like rainfall).

    The difference between science and politics is in science, you try to give things accurate descriptive names, and correct them as knowledge improves, whereas in politics, there’s spin. The anti-science debate is all spin, and is essentially politics. Attacking use of words by scientists is part of that.

  34. Nick R
    August 18th, 2010 at 16:34 | #34

    ‘If Australia cut emissions by 100% it will do nothing to kerb the increase of carbon in the atmosphere’

    Tony G,

    I (and others) have repeatedly explained to you the flaw with this line of reasoning. You cannot claim to be making the mistakes you are making in good faith.
    I have my own opinions, but I am interested in what you think of people who repeatedly press an argument that they know is misleading.

  35. Fran Barlow
    August 18th, 2010 at 16:43 | #35


    The Reps should be proportional representation with one vote one value […] With 150 maxm Reps members the parties nominate 150 candidates maxm and can replace their final elected quota anytime with anyone on the original ticket only, which takes care of casual vacancies and byelections.

    Not bad, but another PR approach that stuck with the 150 members might be as follows:

    1. Baseline for a party to achieve representation by quota would be 6% (=9seats)
    2. Each electorate is drawn to have an approximately even number of persons (tolerance =5%)
    3. Each party stands a candidate in as many electorates as they see fit
    4. Individuals may contest as well
    5. Primaries are tallied
    6. Every individual or group that reaches baseline is allocated a quota based on the proportion of national support they achieve. Partial quotas are rounded down.
    7. The candidates in each electorate are ranked for vote tally.
    8. Where a candidate leads the primaries and represents a party that has not been allocated its full quota, that candidate is declared elected. If the candidate’s party has been allocated its full quota, then the next most supported candidate of a party that has not been allocated its full quota is elected, and so forth.
    9. Once all parties have been allocated their full quotas, unallocated seats are examined to see if any candidate has achieved 50% of the primaries + 1 or failing that, has won on preferences. Where a candidate achieves this then regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof (s)he is elected to the parliament.

    The advantage of this system is that it parliamentary reperesentation would be very substantially reflective of actual national support of parties, but would still allow scope for local and regional interest to play a part in public policy, relieving small parties and independents of the need to run national campaigns to have a say.

    Imagine that, for argument’s sake, the ALP gets 40% primary. The Libs get 36% primary. Greens get 10% primary. The Nats 4% primary. Another 9% are others and 1% are informal.

    In a 150 seat house, the ALP gets 60 seats. The Libs get 54 seats. The Greens get 15 seats. That leaves 21 seats to be allocated. Of these, it might well be that the three ex-nats (or their replacements) get up. The Nats might get 11. And ALP and Libs might split the rest (3-4 each). So in the wash up you’d have a parliament composed of ALP+ Greens of 77-78, Coalition 68-9 + Independents 3.

    Since the ALP would need The Greens policy would be a lot more green-friendly and the Coalition would see an interest in at least pitching at Green voters. In some of the unallocated seats it might even be possible for Greens to challenge. The system would still preserve local representation, but voters who missed out in having their own preferred candidate could still feel that they had helped elect one someplace else and that candidate would have an interest in his or her party not being too keen on porkbarrelling. He or she would want to appeal to people outside the electorate. We would discourage PMs and Opposition leaders effectively running for local mayor or state premier.

    Now broadly, I’ve advocated a much more radical policy than the above here in the past and I still support it, but it seems to me that given that PR is an order of magnitude or two more likely than sortition, a system like this might overcome some of the objections often raised against PR and would certainly have far greater legitimacy.

  36. Fran Barlow
    August 18th, 2010 at 16:54 | #36

    @Nick R

    I am interested in what you think of people who repeatedly press an argument that they know is misleading.

    In cyberspace they are called trolls. I wouldn’t even mind so much if they at least acknowledged prior objections and tried to explain why the objections were (in their opinion) unsound, but they don’t. That would be progress.

    Instead, it’s like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Every morning you wake up to Sonny Bono caterwauling I Got You babe!

    Really, this is not an intellectual exercise that the delusionals and trolls are engaged in. Some of them doubtless take perverse pleasure in simply being annoying. Others would see themselves as taking part in some counter-cultural assault on the invasion of their personal space by socialists, nihilists and tree huggers in league with governments, bureaucrats, pointy-headed geeks and people who don’t live near where they do or talk funny. Fear and angst comes in many forms, but none of it requires that people take intellectual discourse seriously. When you are at war, or terrified by conspiracies of the great and powerful, you make your own rules.

  37. John H.
    August 18th, 2010 at 17:28 | #37

    Unfortunately the Climate Debate has reached these depths.


    Strange thing is that while public acceptance of AGW has declined somewhat the scientific community at large is now looking at the consequences of the changing climate. In the scientific community the debate is largely over. However where Labor stuffed up is the constant reference to consensus. Consensus is rare in if not entirely absent in cutting edge science. Cutting edge science by definition involves ongoing debate, in this instance there remain a minority of scientists who are sceptical. That is a good sign, not a bad one.

  38. Alice
    August 18th, 2010 at 17:55 | #38

    @Philip Machanick
    says “Scientists earn PhDs and publish in top journals as a consequence of figuring out how to solve hard problems. Right-wing bloggers can trash their work for free.”

    and often do…but what irks me is why the self destruction coming from the right?

    To me it comes down to this. Its mostly a party for elites and run by elites, not the majority. The conservative parties are the wealthiest (thats no accident). They work to protect the wealthy from taxes. Wealth cant really protect you from climate change though but the right only has a couple of major concerns – paying less tax and shrinking governments. Hence governments who impose higher taxes on them are accused of being “wastrels and incompetent bureacrats”, Ditto any government spending. Faced with higher income taxes they complain “the reward to innovators is declining and it wont promote job creation if the boss doesnt get to keep his wealth.” Very few on the right acknowledge that there is a difference between the personal income of a very wealthy person and the income generated by a company that is wealthy. They see no difference. Why would an executive plough his own personal income back into the company he works in to create more jobs when he can plough the company’s money in if he so desires?. Where does his personal income go – does it generate more personal superannuation tax concessions on the artworks he hangs in his house – which produce nothing?

    The best way to avoid paying tax (the principle objective of the right) is to deny that there are problems worth spending our taxes on in the first place. Hence many on the right deny climate science. …but its not really about the science at all. Its about their own unwillingness to be part of a structured tax paying society (they see themselves as needing nothing and being free individuals – that means the freedom not to contribute).
    In their view paying income tax is only for the riff raff.

    The right deny listening to experts on the benefits of the fiscal stimulus.,,,but its not about the stimulus power. That costs them their taxes too. They deny the US needs to consider raising taxes in light of its deficit. They would rather reduce government spending so they get to keep their taxes. So to do that they would rather cut health, education, welfare initiatives, government spending on infrastructure etc ie someone elses benefits. They deny the multiplier effect of spending, any spending…even welfare spending.

    Its about the here and now to conservatives. Its not about the future direction of any economy. They deny that their policies are really about tax minimisation for themselves. They also deny who funds the denial industry on a range of issues and why. Mostly heavyweight corporates with a tax minimisation objective. The right as we know them today are the annoying and often ill mannered supporters of corporate irresponsibility and a self serving elite that sees itself as immune from the rules that govern the rest of us.

    They try to find a myriad of ways to sell their political ideologies but they will also go to extraordinary lengths to deny the truth – that they peddle the politics of individual and corporate greed (at the rest of socioety’s expense) on behalf of those who have the wherewithall to fund such a campaign.

    Conservative parties here and in the US have now become known as the party of denialists.

    However, there is no denying that they have lost their moral compass.

  39. Nick R
    August 18th, 2010 at 19:05 | #39


    I agree that there are a lot of trolls on political websites. A question is whether they simply like being annoying (I can sympathize with this, I like to be annoying too) or if they actually see themselves as brave counter-culture warriors fighting the ‘good fight’ against bizarre conspiracies. I suppose either way it is difficult to argue with them.

  40. August 18th, 2010 at 23:26 | #40

    @Nick R

    In the end, it doesn’t really matter. For the most part, it’s probably worth ignoring them, which is mostly what I do, especially in cases where the particular site has enough people to give the lie to the trollish rants. It’s like scratching mozzie bites. It feels good at the time, but it doesn’t help and sometimes you are just feeding the problem.

    If they are mentally ill or sociopathic or both, what’s the point? Making fun of people with mental illness is unethical, and sociopaths may like it. Nobody who really wants to know the science will have any trouble finding it.

  41. Jill Rush
    August 18th, 2010 at 23:54 | #41


    I don’t see how you can think that Abbott is an honest man – only in the kindest sense like thieves with their code of honour. Haven’t you noticed how he finds it hard to look anyone in the eye and has eyes that flit from side to side? Didn’t you notice the mad glint as he pushed that terrified child in the billy cart – as if Christopher Pyne was a real challenge when clearly he would never have beaten his leader and he understood the need not to harm a child in the pursuit of fun.

  42. Jill Rush
    August 18th, 2010 at 23:57 | #42

    How do the global warming sceptics explain away the warmest northern summer just gone?

  43. paul walter
    August 19th, 2010 at 02:45 | #43

    ” up to the gods to fix..”.
    Mosh, re Abbott’s response to climate change. So Jesuitical, in the worst sense.
    The arrogance with delayed costings, not turning up for debates and interviews. The lies about the economy. The nasty stuff with “othered” groups.
    JR, dont be too hard on hc, he tried, its no more fun for him to see his ideals smashed than for others, theirs. And mine.
    But it is a good thread, to me.

  44. observa
    August 19th, 2010 at 03:20 | #44

    “But is it any better to understand the science and do nothing about it as the Labor Party under Gillard is doing?”
    Well perhaps they do understand the latest science John, nowhere more devastatingly depicted than Briggs peer review yellow line drawn here in support of McShane and Warner’s treatment of Mann’s now defunct hockey stick-
    Heavyweight statisticians finally weighing in to support what Congress and Mckintyre and Mckitrick told us all some years ago and were reviled and pilloried for in the greatest scientific scandal of our age- Advocacy pseudo-science.
    There is some Nobel stripping to be done and some great names to be added to the roll call of Science, to retrieve the Nobel from the gutter and place it back on its rightful pedestal.

  45. August 19th, 2010 at 06:27 | #45

    Jill, Your political beliefs have developed into a pathology. Abbott isn’t a child-hating monster just as Gillard is not a barren witch with a big nose. There is no Church of Labor and you are not defending the Pope and attacking the Devil.

  46. paul walter
    August 19th, 2010 at 06:34 | #46

    We know the Devil is in the detail. Pity costings hadn’t been released in time for appropriate scrutiny.

  47. BilB
    August 19th, 2010 at 06:43 | #47

    The thing is hc that Tony Abbott, in my considered opinion, is not a well man…


    ,…do the comparison. There is more defintion here…


    Everyone has noticed things about this guy that cause discomfort. When it is all added up it forms a profile. A very scary one.

    If it is true, then even for a welded on cobalt blue liberal Tony Abbott is not a safe person to have as a party leader, and least of all Leader of the Nation.

  48. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 19th, 2010 at 08:38 | #48

    Generally speaking voters do know what Abbott is against but not what he is for. At times much of what he is saying is utter rubbish for he has a tendency to ignore expert advice, makes up a lot of crap, does not know the intricacies of the subject matter he is arguing against be it global warming and/or climate change, does not accept past mistakes, does not apologise for being wrong, etc. In all my years I have never seen a dopier person running for Office and have to agree with our host that Abbott is not fit to be Prime Minister.

  49. Ikonoclast
    August 19th, 2010 at 09:37 | #49

    Denial is most powerful when the addiction is at its most intense. And when the addiction is at its most intense the crisis is not far away. The crisis resolves in one of two ways. The sufferer either goes over the brink to extinction or the sufferer experiences a moment of great clarity and great horror about what is happening and begins taking depeserate and often effective action.

    In my opinion, there is no way to explain the intensity and irrationality of the deniers except by addicition analogies. They are addicted to money, power, cruelty and a belief in their own omnipotence over all the laws of nature and physics.

    More broadly, our society is addicted to cheap power, cheap transport, excesses of food and entertainment and so on. The real crises of climate change, resources depletion and mass species extinctions are not merely imminent, they are already happening. Yet, as JQ says in his original post, he has never seen such an avoidance of the real issues in an election.

    Our whole society is in denial. The only circuit breaker now is for the crisis to break out in full since we are patently not going to act before the crisis.

  50. Alice
    August 19th, 2010 at 09:51 | #50

    @paul walter
    This is how fanatical the Coalition has become….

    ” shadow treasurer mr Joe Hockey told the herald that despite commissioning WHK Horvath (private accounting firm) two months ago, the Coalition had always planned to give its costings to Treasury for verification. He said the Coalition had handed over 52 policies before deciding it no longer trusted the department. The treasurer, Wayne Swan said the Coalition numbers could not be trusted because it had ignored the charter of budget honesty which requires Treasury and Finance to do the work.”

    I guess when a political opposition party trusts a private accounting firm to do its budgets for Australia wide policies, more than than the department of Treasury and Finance – we must start to suspect they have really lost the plot……

  51. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 19th, 2010 at 09:56 | #51

    Ikonoclast, in a court of law lawyers are expected to know the difference between what are facts and what is law. In Abbott’s case he does not even know what are ‘facts’ let alone the law.

  52. Ikonoclast
    August 19th, 2010 at 10:17 | #52

    Abbott is an example of how faith reasoning completely clouds the intellect. If you reason from faith any flight of metaphysical fancy is possible and empirical realities never get in the way. If you reason from an empirical basis, real world verifiable facts serve as a check on fanciful or illogical reasoning.

    If you reason from an empirical basis there are some things you can know with reasonable certainty. You also are aware that there are many, many things which are outside the scope of your knoweldge. If you reason from a priori faith assumptions then, to put it colloquially, you think you know everything when you actually know nothing at all. That pretty well sums up Abbott. Along with his arrogant assumption that because God is on his side, even when he’s wrong he’s still right.

    Faith reasoners are dangerous fanatics all.

  53. Alice
    August 19th, 2010 at 10:22 | #53

    This clip is clever and it sums up (in some strange way) what really scares me about the Coalition (and politics)…..”no handlebars”..a world where everything is OK and nothing at all needs steering? Artwork quite amazing too.

  54. paul walter
    August 19th, 2010 at 10:47 | #54

    Nice little thumb nail from Ikon.

  55. paul walter
    August 19th, 2010 at 10:53 | #55

    No handle bars. “Oh, Brave New World”.
    There’s just a scent of 1968 in it.

  56. Alice
    August 19th, 2010 at 11:01 | #56

    @paul walter
    and a little bit of Pink Floyd?

  57. paul walter
    August 19th, 2010 at 11:37 | #57

    Am thinking of the turbulent times of 68 and 69. The film clip is what we should have seen in 1975, heading toward Reaganism. That its turned up, shows what history from a distance shows about how the new generation sees the era against those of us about back in those times through to now.
    In a sense the music reminds me of Gerry Rafferty and the sensibility of “Baker Street”.

  58. paul walter
    August 19th, 2010 at 11:40 | #58

    Here’s a thought. Swap the components for the two thread starters.
    “Delusion on stimulus” and “Open letter on delay”.

  59. Alexander
    August 19th, 2010 at 12:03 | #59

    Bold statement about Labor “understanding” the underlying science 😉

    Even though I would not expect everyone to have read the entire IPCC report (the synthesis report, plus the reports from the working groups), one would expect politicians to have at least read the summary report for policy makers – as a bare minimum.

    But then again, you wouldn’t want to confuse the electorate with weird things such as facts.

    Just shows how disconnected Australian climate policy really is.

  60. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 19th, 2010 at 12:36 | #60

    Alexander, here is one undeniable fact ‘few are punting on a hung Parliament’ which can only mean Labor is over the line.

  61. Jim Rose
    August 19th, 2010 at 14:28 | #61

    relevent ministers will have read the summaries of IPCC report prepared for them by their own departments and other advisors giving their views of the weight of the evidience and more than in the IPCC report on the implications for Australia.

    counter-example, do you expect ministers to read important court judgments or the departmental advice on those judgments along with department prepared options on what next?

  62. amused
    August 19th, 2010 at 17:54 | #62

    This clip is clever and it sums up (in some strange way) what really scares me about the Coalition (and politics)…..”no handlebars”..

    Jeez. That was cheerful. Not.

  63. Alice
    August 19th, 2010 at 18:27 | #63

    No it wasnt cheerful was it Amused?…..started out innocent enough but it got much much worse…
    so lets all let the markets drive themselves with no handlebars? Good idea?

    I dont think so.

  64. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 19th, 2010 at 19:19 | #64

    Alice, unless I am totally wrong Tony Abbott has not made any significant gains since he replaced Malcolm Turnbull as Leader of the Opposition on December 1, 2009. For this very reason after preferences are distributed the election result should follow the same script ALP 53% and L-NP 47%.

  65. Jim Rose
    August 19th, 2010 at 20:13 | #65

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    The demise of Rudd was not a significant gain for Abbott?! Abbott’s unwillingness to join hand-in-hand with Rudd and go to the next election endorsing a carbon tax, as turnbull would have, led to the great back-down on emissions trading

    When Abbott became opposition leader 7 months ago, the Liberals had no chance.

    Now the liberals do have a chance, so much so that the ALP puppet masters re-branded the whole show under a new leader, a slogan of moving forward, and no carbon tax until the Liberals agree.

    I am still tipping Abbott, just, because a lingering doubt that will become terminal for the real Julia when voters pick up the ballot paper.

    The voters never had a scintilla of doubt about who they were voting for and the approach to governance that each symbolised when the real John, the real Bob and the real Paul were seeking the PM’s office in 1980s, 1990s and up until 2007.

    The voters thought they were voting for the real deal for Kevin07, and dumped him with no second chance for a come-back when they found out that they were deceived on a core issue.

    Abbott is what you see is what you get. none of this “being for it after being against it” and “this is the real Julia” double-dealing.

    there is one thing the voters hate more that a politician, it is a phoney indecisive politician. the voters elect strong decisive politicians. nothing less will do.

  66. Chris W
    August 19th, 2010 at 20:18 | #66

    Jim @ 20:13,

    You’re kidding aren’t you ? Mr “Parental leave over my dead body” Abbott swings like a weather vane when it suits him !!

  67. Jim Rose
    August 19th, 2010 at 21:05 | #67

    @Chris W
    so the Libs would have a better chance on saturday if turnbull was still their leader?

  68. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 19th, 2010 at 21:34 | #68

    Chris W, the Liberals blew it when Abbott took over from Turnbull. All talk & no action.

  69. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 19th, 2010 at 22:16 | #69

    Chris W, if the above stats are correct then Labor is no worse off than when they won in 2007.

  70. Alice
    August 19th, 2010 at 22:27 | #70

    Im tipping an ALP Greens force….I hope the Greens get more in the senate. We need to swing away from the extreme right wing policies that are doing so much damage (the same sort of policies that have wreaked total havoc in the US).
    Imagine even thinking now that unregulated markets would regulate themselves. It seems such a stupid idea in the post GFC world and the extent to which the Coalition has taken market worship has become absurd. They cant even work with government. How can you have leaders that despise the very systems of government they are supposed to head (using the derogatory term “bureaucrats” for anyone who does work in government)?
    An Abbot led government is fuzzy logic.

  71. Jim Rose
    August 19th, 2010 at 23:28 | #71

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    So turnbull had Rudd’s scalp well within in his sights, and Abbott just stole the right to finish Rudd off?

    Rudd was a dead carcass hanging up and just flapping in the wind, waiting to be cut down well before Abbott became opposition leader.

    The liberals voted out of an opposition leader who was about the cutdown a PM, and had even a better chance of winning than Abbott now has.

    why was rudd deposed if it was not fear of outright electoral defeat?

  72. Ken Fabos
    August 20th, 2010 at 12:24 | #72

    I’m constantly amazed that anyone can interpret a hot spike (1998) within a warming trend as any anything but more evidence of warming; if Abbott can’t see the problem with that – and it’s clear he can’t – I don’t think he has the smarts to run our country.

    I can’t see that Abbott would be willing to trust the superior abilities of others (like Chief Scientist or CSIRO head) when they fundamentally disagree with his interpretation of the ‘facts’. Watch out though – on the basis that climate science can be seen as both ’cause’ to the ‘effect’ of calls for ‘new green taxes’ as well as costing taxpayers money in it’s own right, it could look perfect for cost cutting under an Abbott government. Then we really would be utterly reliant on God (and maybe Ian Plimer) helping us. Now that’s alarming.

    Gillard, I think, has superior ability but looks deeply beholden to the Labor power brokers (whose abilities are impressive but not in a good way) and those power brokers are more concerned with staying in power than in facing the big issues and would cut her down as readily as Rudd should she take a stand on anything ‘divisive’ without permission.

    Meanwhile the distinctions between informing, advertising, opinionating and entertaining have blurred and the result is frankly awful. Big media will take down any leader of any stripe that takes a stand on something divisive without their permission; permission being largely related to the relative advertising budget of the competing interests. And Big media has it’s own interests in fanning controversies to attract readers/viewers/listeners that is wholly unrelated to the kind of informing that supposedly underpins democratic choices.

  73. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 20th, 2010 at 12:47 | #73

    Ken Fabos, some commentators are starting to question the latest Newspoll results. So maybe the Galaxy poll is a wee bit more accurate.

  74. may
    August 20th, 2010 at 12:55 | #74

    welcome back JQ

    we will fight them on the boatramps.

    two niggles from a small mind:

    1)the Rudd govt and the Gillard govt and the abbot govt are bulldust.
    can we get on to calling our administrations by their proper names.

    2) the conservatives have had since the possibility of a double dissolution to present all policies costed to the Australian people.

  75. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 20th, 2010 at 13:01 | #75

    May, there has never been an Abbott government but there has been a lot of bulldust coming from the rabble within the Shadow Cabinet.

  76. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 20th, 2010 at 13:21 | #76

    For those interested in the latest Galaxy poll, the results show primary support for the ALP has gone down since Nov 2007 from 43.4% to 38% & the L-NP down from 42.1% to 33% and but not enough for the L-NP to win tomorrow after preferences are distributed.

  77. Jim Rose
    August 20th, 2010 at 14:03 | #77

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Have the liberals won any opinion polls in the last 10 or 15 years except on election day?

    as an example, howard was almost always behind in the polls, having to fight back to win on the one day that counts.

    I am sure latham was a bit surprised when he lost in 2004. Was the swing to howard and his winning the senate picked up in the polls?

  78. paul walter
    August 20th, 2010 at 15:11 | #78

    Yes Jim, of course it was, particulary after the judas like response of the Tassie Logging mafia against Latham’s more economically and environmentally sound policy, released, then sabotaged.

  79. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 20th, 2010 at 15:56 | #79

    Paul Walter, if I am not mistaken the majority of voters voted for Labor in 2007 because:

    “John Howard is a liar and a backflipper.”
    “I can’t stand the country being run by a corrupt PM.”
    “I have never liked the Liberal puppets — Howard is Bush’s puppet.”
    “John Howard is too American.”
    “I think John Howard should never have gained leadership of 21 million people — he never achieved anything and he took Labor’s ideas.
    “I despise John Howard. His policies of fear and lies, as well as Iraq.
    “Because I wouldn’t trust John Howard as far as I could throw him; he’s a liar.”
    But then I could be wrong.

  80. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 20th, 2010 at 16:30 | #80

    To conclude, I find the Roy Morgan & Galaxy polls more credible than the Newspoll. Until next time all the best for tomorrow.

  81. Jim Rose
    August 20th, 2010 at 16:31 | #81

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    you are wrong. howard was re-elected 3 times despite these faults.

  82. Jill Rush
    August 20th, 2010 at 17:54 | #82

    I find it amazing that Tony Abbott believes firmly in a being which conveniently dictates that men rule. There is no way of proving that God exists although I suppose those that are making Mary McKillop a saint would disagree.

    On the other hand Tony Abbott doesn’t believe in global warming which has a mountain of science to support its existence.

    And he is within the grasp of being Prime Minister of this country. If he is elected then not only will the case have to be made again and again there will not even be any way to change his mind to take action – unless we can arrange a message from God. Perhaps on one of his runs he will find a tablet of stone to guide him.

  83. paul walter
    August 20th, 2010 at 18:53 | #83

    ” Unless we can arrange a message from God”- Jill Rush.
    A lightning strike, say?
    Now why would God typify the wastage of carbon dioxide creating a lightning strike, when we know She is a good Green, most likely?

  84. Chris O’Neill
    August 20th, 2010 at 20:06 | #84

    Tony G:

    It was necessary to change the theories name from global warming to climate change.

    At least his spelling is as good as his climate science.

  85. Chris O’Neill
    August 20th, 2010 at 20:44 | #85

    Also by Abbott in the SMH article:

    we have a credible response that will achieve a 5 per cent reduction by 2020

    What a shameless liar.

  86. August 20th, 2010 at 22:42 | #86

    @Chris O’Neill

    Tony doesn’t know what the last two characters “CC” stand for in UNFCCC and when this body arose. He has also missed when the IPCC was set up and the similarity.

    As he is ignorant, I think we can excuse him that.

  87. Tony G
    August 21st, 2010 at 00:17 | #87

    Chris O’Neill said @ 35

    “What a shameless liar.”

    It is better than being a dickhe-d like you Chris, next you will be telling us they can accurately measure a global average temperature, well they can’t Chris and that is a funny anomaly just like you.

  88. Chris O’Neill
    August 21st, 2010 at 05:06 | #88

    Anyone who votes for an undefended shameless liar like Tony Abbott deserves everything they get.

  89. Donald Oats
    August 21st, 2010 at 07:25 | #89

    @Tony G
    Well, you can’t measure the average of something that doesn’t exist – temperature – because that is what the Essex paper told us all. That is why scientists just make it up using a random number generator called a thermometer. It does a great job, and with just a little more work the scientists can compute some really strange numbers they call anomalies. Sure fooled the grant payers (oops!, Let the cat out of the bag.), and we all know that scientists get to spend grants on cars and iPads ‘n’ stuff for themselves, their partners, the kids, etc. And supercomputers; the biggest gaming boxes in the world. That’s what you taxpayers – scientists and their mates are not taxpayers, thanks to grants – pay for!! And you get a bunch of anomalies no one can make head or tails of. Whattabargain, ay?

    Take a chill pill Tony.

  90. Tony G
    August 21st, 2010 at 12:52 | #90


    they use temperature anomalies (departure from average) and not absolute temperature measurements because temperature averaging generally shows cooling. (which is probally what is happening)



    “Absolute estimates of global average surface temperature are difficult to compile for several reasons. Some regions have few temperature measurement stations (e.g., the Sahara Desert) and interpolation must be made over large, data-sparse regions. In mountainous areas, most observations come from the inhabited valleys, so the effect of elevation on a region’s average temperature must be considered as well. For example, a summer month over an area may be cooler than average, both at a mountain top and in a nearby valley, but the absolute temperatures will be quite different at the two locations. The use of anomalies in this case will show that temperatures for both locations were BELOW average.”

  91. Chris O’Neill
    August 21st, 2010 at 17:43 | #91

    NOAA make an example to illustrate the concept of consistency of anomalies but Tony G can only pick up the word that is used purely for the sake of example, i.e. “cooler”. What a moron. No wonder he’s a science denialist.

  92. Tony G
    August 22nd, 2010 at 23:50 | #92

    Chris, they admit themselves that they cant measure a global temperature so how can they tell if it is changing? you moron.

  93. paul walter
    August 23rd, 2010 at 00:38 | #93

    Tony g, if you are standing knee deep in a septic tank, you know you are doing better than with the water flooding up towards your mouth past your chin?

  94. Chris O’Neill
    August 24th, 2010 at 22:00 | #94

    they admit themselves that they cant measure a global temperature so how can they tell if it is changing?

    So someone could take a mercury thermometer that had all its markings removed (and thus doesn’t show the standard temperature), put a mark against where the mercury currently is, but couldn’t tell if it was warmer or cooler later on by referring to his mark.

    This Tony G is as dumb as they come.

  95. Tony G
    August 24th, 2010 at 22:53 | #95

    Not as dumb as you Chris, one who believes in the AGW hoax data that NOAA peddles; when the absolute temperature readings show a cooling, normalize the data and express it as an anomaly, that’ll warm things up.

  96. Chris O’Neill
    August 25th, 2010 at 08:27 | #96

    Tony G can’t even understand disproof by contrary example. He’s as dumb as they come.

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