Greg Hunt: Can’t add, can’t read

Last time I paid attention to Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt, he was talking to the Oz, making absurdly inflated claims about the impact of a carbon price[1] on household electricity bills. Now he’s at it again, with a statement to Imre Salusinszky at the Oz, claiming that I endorsed Jonathan Moylan’s (reported) actions in the Whitehaven hoax, and that I supported market manipulation more generally. From that, he draws the conclusion that I have breached my legal obligation under the Public Service Act to comply with the law in all matters relating to employment, and therefore that I an not a fit and proper person to be a member of the Climate Change Authority. Here are the money paras from Salusinszky’s email to me and Hunt’s statement to the Oz

Greg Hunt says your public support for Jonathan Moylan raises a potential conflict with your role on the Climate Change Commission (sic), because the public service code of conduct deems that “an APS employee, when acting in the course of APS employment, must comply with all applicable Australian laws.” Hunt’s point is that by supporting Moylan you are implicitly endorsing stock market manipulation.

Under the Public Service Act it is clearly inappropriate and irresponsible for Statutory office holders to be supporting market manipulation and the use of false and misleading information. This raises deep questions in terms of both the Act and the public service Code and values on a number of fronts. The simple answer is that no public official should ever be endorsing the use of false and misleading information to manipulate the share market

Obviously, this is a grotesque misrepresentation. My view of Moylan’s (reported) actions was summed up by the observation “I’m not a big fan of hoaxes”[2]. My posts on the subject were not concerned with the ethics of the hoax, but with the absurdity of the reactions to it.

But the claims that I acted unlawfully under the Public Service Act take Hunt’s silliness out of the normal political category, and well into the realm of defamation. Of course, Hunt is safe enough so far. I haven’t got the time, energy or financial resources to pursue him, other than through this blog. News Limited is a different matter. Given their deep pockets and demonstrable history of malice towards me, they’ll make a tempting target if they are silly enough to publish Hunt’s libels. I don’t usually read the Oz, but I will certainly do so with care tomorrow.

Update When he was advised of my response by Imre Salusinszky, Hunt backed off, though with bad grace (he stated to me in email that it was more than he thought I deserved) and in a way that makes his claim of a breach of the Public Service Act even more nonsensical (leaving aside the fact that, at least according to Bernard Keane, I’m not covered by the Act anyway). The resulting article, in which Hunt also attacks Clive Hamilton, is here.

While checking on that report, I found another Hunt piece, a passionate defence of free speech against the “un-Australian” threat of litigation. Published in the Oz, of course, and only five days ago.

Finally, I should say that I don’t have any complaints about Salusinszky’s actions in this matter. He advised me of the accusations and took my response back to Hunt. The report as published is an accurate representation of what I wrote.

fn1. A policy he supported for decades, until it became necessary to oppose it.
fn2. I never mentioned Moylan by name, and I have no knowledge as to whether he acted as reported and, if so, whether this constituted manipulation of the share market. As I said on Twitter, that’s his problem, not mine.

59 thoughts on “Greg Hunt: Can’t add, can’t read

  1. Ben Cubby ?@bencubby
    45.7 in Sydney city, 45.7 in Bankstown, 46.1 at Camden, 46.4 at Sydney Airport. #weather

    That means Sydney Airport is 115.7F …

  2. @NathanA I’m getting a little tired of people of the like of Craig Kelly MP, who appears to only represent his distorted perceptions.

    We have been told on numerous occasions by well credentialed experts that climate change is happening and that as a consequence we can expect more extreme weather events. This can take the form of floods droughts storms etc. with the nett result being that ordinary people are placed at extraordinary risk.

    For example of that increased risk your average bushfire brigade, which is usually made up of an average slice of society (good bad and ugly), is now at an increased risk of being placed in extreme circumstances. Some states train their volunteers while others, like QLD have dumped the training. We now have volunteer fire fighters, possibly untrained, doing work in conditions that exceed known safe limits.

    I think it’s about time the LNP acknowledged the reality of climate change, for the sake of their constituency. They owe them.

  3. @Jim Rose Jim, if you are genuinely interested, read IPCC AR4 SYR 5.7 for cost and benefits across regions. Oh wait…sorry, just realised you are not genuinely interested in the science here..

  4. “…what are the benefits of global warming?”

    The benefits of global warming as a concept is, that we are conscious of a substantially high risk by our interference with the global climatic system and associated severe consequences for global safety and security. The benefits include, that we now have our best brains working to monitor these climatic changes and we do know how to stop it. The benefits to responsible people are, that they can now understand the consequences of so much additional energy trapped in our ecosystem and that they have to make some accommodations in lifestyle to avoid the worst extremities. As they know, that when we speak of say, a warming of two degrees , it does not mean that everywhere it will be 2 degrees warmer, rather an increase of extreme climatic variations and as a result drought, floods, fires and storms (now how does that benefit any country, buddy?). The benefits of sitting on a bomb and having children around it playing with matches (and silly questions), is that you can go to these children and tell them to stop it. If that does not work then the severity of the situation would warrant a quick clip around the ears!

    And so someone ought to pour a glass of water on Greg Hunt, so he may come to himself again. Andrew Elder at Political homeless points out the pathetic attempt of his policy development process, particularly the ‘green army’ projects. Perhaps we should start to have a serious look at what he actually has got on the table so far and how it stacks up?

  5. Mr Hunt may not be able to read or count, but he apparently has a veritable army of spambots followiing him on Twitter. It seems strangely apt that a man with no fixed ideas has followers who have no fixed identity, and who self describe as “evil beer zombies” or “bacon mavens”.

    You have to laugh.

    Anyone wishing to report as sp#m Greg Hunt’s spambots can go here:

  6. @iain Richard Tol observed in WHY WORRY ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?, ESRI Research Bulletin 2009/1/1 that:
    • Climate change is likely to have a positive impact in the first half of the 21st century, and impacts turn negative later.
    • The initial positive impacts are irrelevant for policy.
    • The workings of the climate system are so slow that they cannot be avoided even if emissions were to fall to zero tomorrow.
    • The part of climate change that can be influenced by climate change policy has net negative impacts.

  7. @Ootz
    Ootz, you mentioned Andrew Elder’s blog at Politically Homeless. Boy, he has some inside knowledge and he goes for it! He was a regular on The Drum but disappeared from it in April 2011. Do you know why?

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