33 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. @Megan

    I don’t understand your post, including and in particular your apparent interpretations of my own words.

    I am talking about different skill sets of lawyers vs scientists and the different domains of inquiry and practice for which these skill sets have been developed (institutional vs natural environments). You call this stereotyping. If I were to agree with you, I would not know anymore how to find a plumber, when I need one, without facing the acute risk of getting, say, a creative writer. In short, if you interpret what I say as stereotyping then so be it.

    Mr Brandis is not a scientist and he does not claim otherwise. He says he is a ‘believer’ in human induced global warming. As such he is presumably amenable to persuasion one way or the other. He is not the Minister for Science – there is none in the current government. As Attorney General as well as by expertise, his domain is the institutional environment – the legal framework – and politics. I read his statements regarding human induced global warming as an attempt to shift the focus from the domain of science and economics to his domain, law and politics, and it is convenient to have a party political opponent, Penny Wong in this case, who has a similar skill base, law and politics. This way, Mr Brandis’ promotion of ‘freedom of speech’ is constrained to the domain where it makes sense, namely politics. He is quite open about this when he calls for a ‘political debate about global warming’.

    A Minister of Science is missing.

    Happy Easter.

  2. An interesting article discussed in the New Yorker:

    ‘Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens’
    Gilens and Page, in forthcoming issue of Perspectives on Politics

    From abstract:

    Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

    In a sense it is what we all know, but depressing to have research confirm it still. I guess it is similar in Australia. My own observations of Australian voting patterns compared with what people say in surveys of values and attitudes suggests many people here vote against their own professed values, which is a slightly different but probably related phenomenon.

  3. This worth reading thoroughly, though you might need to take a relaxant before you start. It explains so much and particularly how Abbott got elected.


    Now I know precisely why Abbott got the unprecedented, near endless and unchallenged, ABC television time to push his anti science spiel for 2 years leading up to the last election.

  4. According to Roy Spencer, close advisor to Tony Abbott, there is only one climate scientist in the world whose scientific work and opinion matters and that person is Roy Spencer, so we would all be well advised to become more aware of this great man who is the worlds “leading climatologist”.


    If read this you will that Jo Nova is in lock step with Spencer, and you might find a lot more too.

  5. You have to read into that that the Abbott government rejects all science except that of Roy Spencer, and that means that all Australian Climatw scientists are wasting their time an lives for as long as the Coaltion has power.

    Also what most people do not realise is that for 2 years before the last election Tony Abbott had a daily 1 to 2 hour morning television spot doing his “factory and business” visits in which he pounded the message of “toxic tax” and climate change doubt over and over dozens of times a day, if not hundreds, effectively brain washing the day time viewers, to the point that I made repeated complaints to the ABC. Now who are those daytime viewers? The grey vote. Newman very clearly had a hand in this unprecedented political interference. I am prepared to suggest that this is the principle cause for Abbott’s election, and that history will reflect this in examining how Libertarians were able to severely delay climate change action and the intense damage caused by this.

  6. @Ikonoclast
    I suspect we might compete in not understimating human fallibility. Big private organisations, even when monoplistic, may have advantages in efficiencies which can be taken to be desirable – although the labour laws of some EU countries might make that difficult. But if the alternative is business run by top management and board which is public servants whose orientation, some engineers apart, has little to do with running a business and politicians who are torn between multiple and discordant demands then the weight of argument has to shift towards putting private capital at risk (British Steel is a classic case, likewise Qantas and isn’t a nice dream to think of railways capital losses after the early 1900s having been born by private capital?). Still the regulation of private monopolies of essential services has to be as subject to human fallibility in large institutions as public ownership and management.

    A different consideration that I know to be valid from talking to politicians of all persuasions is that the public sector vote can be too large. In California, without our compulsory voting, it has become deadly as Democrat aligned public sector unions are uniquely able to get out the vote.

    Sorry about that longwinded exposition. I merely intended to reply that the Ord River scheme may well be fine now and lots of happy catfish breeding up in Lake Argyle but, given the time value of money and alternative ways it could have been spent the argument for the scheme is a bit like praising Stonehenge as an investment because of the tourist dollars it now earns.

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