Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sun's Out....

... and Dr Yowie is pleading for another lesson in the short game. Back a little later, winnings in hand.

Wendy's Wonderland -- Part II

IN Radio National’s hatchet job on Viscount Monckton, reporter Wendy Carlisle (below) makes much of her allegedly rough treatment at the hands of those attending the anti-carbon tax rally in Hyde Park. It is an audio verite moment, the note of peril in Carlisle’s voice adding much to the drama. Here is that section’s transcript:

Woman in the crowd [sound from the rally]: Are you from the ABC, dear?
Wendy Carlisle: Yes I am.
Woman in the crowd: Yes, I saw your ... You'll just ... from this. Yeah, enjoy.
Lord Christopher Monckton: ...and that is just four incidents in less than a week in which the ABC has shown its credentials as supporters of utilitarianism, socialism and of fascism.
[Crowd chants, 'ABC, ABC']
Wendy Carlisle: As Lord Monckton spoke, I stood in the crowd not far from the stage, my microphone held high to catch his words. My ABC ID badge was clearly visible and a young man in the crowd turned and started to point at me and mouth, 'A-B-C'. It was then that people started to deliberately push me.
Lord Christopher Monckton: ...not interested in giving people a fair go. So I do have a message for your Liberal and National coalition...
[Sound of crowd jostling and taunting Wendy Carlisle as Lord Monckton continues in the background]
Wendy Carlisle: I'm now being jostled by members of the crowd.
Man in crowd: Don't use force against her. Do not touch her! Excuse me, coercive force is the hallmark of...
Wendy Carlisle: I'm now being harassed by people in this crowd...
[Crowd applauds and cheers Lord Monckton]
Man in crowd: Leave this woman alone... Piss off!... Just leave this woman alone... She's free to stand here... She's free to be here...
Wendy Carlisle: I've actually never encountered this in a reporting job ever before.
So here are another couple of questions:

1/ Who was that white knight who lectured the crowd about “coercive force is the hallmark of….” and did he accompany Carlisle to the rally?

2/ Why was the quote truncated before his sympathies, pro or con the tax, were made clear?

From the broadcast audio, you get the impression that Mr White Knight is most likely an anti-taxer prepared to extend a sense of decency and fair play, even to ideological opponents. But if he is, say, Carlisle’s beau, that needs to be stated, since it would raise the possibility he might have been acting as both agent provocateur and supporting player in an orchestrated and deftly edited  hit on Monckton and his supporters.

Prior to this, although omitted from the broadcast’s transcript, Carlisle can be heard begging sotto voce for space as she worms her way through the crowd to the apron of the stage. Why did she feel this re-positioning was needed? Her microphone was quite clearly picking up Monckton's every uttered word. And why did she feel the need to nestle in the bosom of the mob? A friend of the Billabong who attended the rally insists that a roped-off space directly in front of the stage was available to the press. So why did Carlisle, who says she was but feet from Monckton, not duck under the barrier and stand even closer to her subject? 

One way to settle these points would be for the ABC to post the full, unedited  tape of  Carlisle’s afternoon amongst the Hyde Park barbarians, including any other exchanges with Mr White Knight.

The only (semi)comprehensible audio snatch from the crowd comes  at the start of the above section, when an unnamed woman wishes Carlisle well, addresses her as “dear” and urges her to enjoy the afternoon. After that comes an apology from someone in the crowd and the exclamation “There, that’s better.” Is that really what thugs say when pushing women around?

That unedited tape could make for some fascinating listening.

A FURTHER THOUGHT: Wouldn’t it have been nice if some member of the crowd had captured Carlisle’s “scary moment” on video. Flip cameras are cheap, easy to operate and their footage is simplicity itself to upload. In the light of the ABC’s manipulative partisanship, having recourse to an independent view of its operatives’ actions would do much to settle those frequent accusations of bias.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wendy's Wonderland

 A CHALLENGE: Wendy Carlisle, the lectern is yours. Respond to the three apparent errors listed below. You have been tweeting up a storm of denial, but a professional journalist would surely wish to invest more than 140-characters in defending her competence, honesty, or both. Email the Billabong or join the comments thread. Silence can only condemn.
By the way, there is another little curiosity about your report, but that can wait until tomorrow.
ABC reporterette Wendy Carlisle informs visitors to her twitter page that she is “working on a new secret story”. Women are said to be particularly good at multi-tasking, according to the settled science one finds in dog-eared magazines available in hospital waiting rooms, but Ms Carlisle must be a genuine journalistic wonder. After broadcasting her Background Briefing assault on Viscount Monckton, she promised to address the many criticisms of that 60-minute, taxpayer-funded slander, and in sundry other posts has insisted she and the ABC “stand by our story”. Yet two weeks have passed and no defence, comprehensive or tweeted, has been forthcoming.

Perhaps she simply does not know where to start, there being so much on her plate and so much that was wrong – not just sloppy, but downright, irredeemably false --  about the Monckton report. Now that she is also tweeting defences of a polar biologist who has been suspended over allegations of scientific misconduct, the poor thing may need a little help organising her thoughts. Indeed, she has not found time to note that the bounced boffin, Dr Charles Monnett, was one of her prime sources for her attack on Monckton.

Chivalry is not dead, at least not at the Billabong, where young, firm women can always expect gentlemanly courtesies. So to help the credulous Carlisle address those matters of gross inaccuracy, here are some of her assertions and the documentary evidence refuting them. All Carlisle’s quotes are taken from her broadcast. Each quoted source is lifted from the “supporting documents” she provides at the show's Background Briefing web page:

Wendy’s Wonderland #1:

Wendy Carlisle: … he [Fred Singer] was one of those scientists to basically cast doubt on the link between smoking and cancer

Fred Singer (from the cited paper): There are certain things about smoking which science can demonstrate. For example, active smoking is detrimental to the health of millions of smokers.

Fred Singer: It is accepted that smoking is linked to several forms of cancer, particularly of the lungs, and also to heart disease.

The full document is here. Readers will note that Singer casts not a shred of doubt on the cancer/smoking link; rather, he endorses it. His beef is with the bent and cobbled together “science” deployed to ban fags in bars and other public places, research that saw secondhand smoke designated as a known carcinogen only after orthodox statistical analysis was jettisoned to achieve that result.

Sounds kinda like climate science, eh?

QUESTION FOR CARLISLE: Did you not read the supporting document you provide?

Wendy’s Wonderland #2:

Wendy Carlisle: The scientific paper Lord Monckton cites does not say that the polar bears drowned because of a big storm.

The polar bear paper: High mortality in 2004 was more likely related to extreme and metabolically demanding conditions, such as high sea states associated with stormy weather.

The polar bear paper: Our count of dead polar bears related to the 2004 windstorm almost certainly represents an underestimate of the actual number of polar bears affected

The polar bear paper: Over the next days, high winds occurred across the study area with light westerly winds switching to strong easterly winds peaking at 54 km/h at Endicott and 46 km/h
… Winds offshore were likely considerably higher

The polar bear paper: Seas became very rough with wave heights estimated in excess of 2m.

The full document is here. And just for a little perspective, let us note that the paper’s author, who is in hot water with US federal investigators, has been, ahem, peer reviewed, as he explains: “Uh, well, it was, it was reviewed here. Um, Lisa Rotterman, my wife, who is a, you know, Ph.D. ecologist, reviewed it and, you know, she took the first cut”

Ah, the benefits of a happy and supportive marriage!

QUESTION FOR WENDY: Did you not read the supporting document you provide?

Wendy’s Wonderland #3:

So far, in our examination of Carlisle’s litany of loose reporting, her sins can be understood, if not forgiven. Let’s assume the slur on Singer and the misrepresentation of the polar bear study (itself highly dubious) were inspired by a dash of cavalier laziness and a larger dollop of personal bias. It is easy to see how it might have happened. Her green contacts fed her the libels, and being a reporter committed to carbon justice and a candle-powered planet, she parroted and published them. Shockingly slack, but not without precedent, as a good many of her ABC colleagues so often cut the same corners.

But the third and final of Carlisle’s transgressions is no mere study in slackness. Indeed, it is such a monumental misrepresentation that Media Watch’s Jonathan Holmes, even if he can ignore #1 and #2, needs to be all over this example of dopey, devious journalism. He won’t touch it, of course, but he most definitely should. Read the transcript below – and read it carefully.

Wendy Carlisle: And the show continued like this for another 50 minutes, with Lord Monckton repeatedly misconstruing the scientific evidence.
Christopher Monckton: Because Al Gore says in his movie that because of the melting of two ice sheets, Greenland and the West Antarctic, sea level is going to rise by 20 feet, imminently. But in fact the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says that because of those two ice sheets the amount of contribution to sea level rise will be, over the whole of the next 100 years six centimetres, which is two and a half inches; not 610 centimetres, which is 20 feet. So there is a hundredfold exaggeration by Al Gore. 'I'm gonna do this big, baby!'
Wendy Carlisle: On this occasion the exaggerations cut both ways. Yes, Al Gore did overstate his case, but Lord Monckton's assertion, that the UN's climate change panel says seas will only rise by six centimetres this century, is pure fiction. According to chapter five of its report on sea levels, the sea is expected to rise between 20 and 50 centimetres this century.
Well, yes, the IPCC does say something like that, and you can find its predictions of total seal level rise at page 409 of its 2007 magnum opus.

But the key word is “total” – and Monckton was not talking about the overall global increase. The element of Al Gore’s theology that attracts his attention is the projected sea level rise attributable to just two ice sheets, the Greenland and West Antarctic ones. They are but two of several sources and factors the IPCC believes will drown us, the chief amongst these being the fact that water expands as it warms (see graphic 10.33 on page 821 and section

For those interested, the IPCC explains its logic not in Chapter 5, where Carlisle refers listeners, but in Chapter 10 (see section 10.6.1 on page 812), where the settled scientists note that Antarctica is unlikely to be a major source of sea level increases in the short term because the volume of land-based ice is growing. The Greenland ice sheet, it continues, is likely to be more troublesome, but estimating its contribution, and the speed of that contribution, must remain speculative because of all the many variables. According to the graphic on page 830, the near-total disappearance of Greenland’s ice might be seen 1,760 years hence, an interval that would appear to grant humanity a little breathing room.

All of the above is very interesting, but delving into the IPCC’s minutiae is to miss the staggering mischief in Carlisle’s reaming of Monckton. Just to recap, he refers to a 6cm sea-level increase as a consequence of just two ice sources melting in the short term. Carlisle pretends he is talking about total rises from all global sources and then uses that misrepresentation to give him a right bollocking while simultaneously excusing Gore’s towering falsehood.

Where did Monckton get his 6cm? Well, that remains a mystery, quite possibly because the IPCC report is a thick, dense and difficult document for a lay Bunyip to decipher in its entirety.  If that figure is in there and readers can find it, or if more incisive souls can spot the numbers Monckton crunched to get his estimate, please post a note of explanation in the comments thread and this post will be updated ASAP.

But again, fixating on pure numbers is a mugs game. Carlisle’s sin #3 is flat-out misrepresentation, the actual number being beside the point.

QUESTION FOR CARLISLE: Did you not read the supporting document you provide?

Add another exhibit to the body of evidence that says the ABC needs to be cleaned out or, if that proves impossible, shuttered for good. That the ABC published Carlisle’s poison is appalling. That it has allowed it to stand is a disgrace.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chew On This

CONTRARY to popular belief, men enjoy a good gossip just as much as do women, though there are differences. It’s just one Bunyip’s appraisal, but your XYers do seem less inclined to critiques of a third party’s appearance. And apart from the odd “Oh, what a witch!”, generally men will not dwell on the deficiencies of other men’s wives, as women so often do about girlfriends’ husbands. But gossip men do, and one of ripest sources for speculation a few years ago in Melbourne, especially in male-dominated legal circles, was the nature of Police Commissioner Christine Nixon’s relationship with a gal called Bernice Masterson.

Now don’t be getting excited. There was nothing illegal or unnatural about their acquaintance, but the common bond certainly raised some eyebrows. As the front page of yesterday’s Phage reminds us, Commissioner Nixon ran Victoria’s police force, after a fashion. Ms Masterson chaired the Police Appeals Board, which makes sure promotions (or their denial), dismissals, transfers and various disciplinary rulings are impartial, above board and in the best interests of the force and citizenry. This is, or should be, very good for morale, as it provides officers with a forum to argue they have not been treated fairly. Petty discrimination and score-settling can happen, and the board is there to make sure they don’t.

The common link between Nixon and Masterson, the slim and single degree of separation, was a woman called Lita Bostjancic. During working hours, Ms Bostjancic laboured at Nixon’s side as her executive secretary. After work, she repaired to the home and life she shared with her partner, Ms. Masterson. While some in the force, and quite a few outside it, thought this triangular relationship sullied the board’s appearance of impartiality, the former Brumby government remained unconcerned, as it was about so many things, and the happy trio continued to enjoy each other’s company.

It was the Age’s front-page story, the one that championed Nixon’s absurd claim that girth and gender brought her down, that brought to mind that tight little knot of babes in blue. In particular this paragraph:
In her book she reflects how Herald Sun editor Simon Pristel rang her media person one night at 6 o'clock during the Bushfires Royal Commission and asked if it was true that on the night of Black Saturday she had held a party at home to celebrate her departure from Victoria Police. The spokeswoman told him it was not true, but that Ms Nixon had gone to a local hotel for a quick meal with her husband, her father and a friend.
The Phage leaves it at, which is a great pity because its list of her companions on that infamous evening is simply not accurate. According to Nixon’s own testimony before the Royal Commission, she was breaking bread with her hubby, Masterson and Bostjancic (see the Biushfires Royal Commission transcript, page 17,668). Entirely innocent, of course, but not a good look all the same.

Think about it: You are policeman who has been dismissed by the commissioner. You lodge an appeal and find that the person who chairs the body that will determine your fate and career is linked by friendship and a mutual intimate to your accuser. Not a good look at all.

All this would seem like ancient history, grist only for phallocratic gossips, except that it points to one example of the factors, one of the many, that raised all those questions about Nixon’s reign.

Expect the Phage to publish a correction in short order. Yep, you can bet on it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Apologies for the lack of posts, but after reading Christine Nixon's bid to blame Rupert Murdoch for her shortcomings, the laughter came on so strong that several minor organs were ruptured.

Actually, that's not entirely true.

Grandfather Bunyip is booked in for a brain scan after his recent stroke, so it looks like the rest of the day will be spent moping in hospital waiting rooms and attending to other family matters.

There is more to say about our former police commissioner. If not tonight, certainly tomorrow.

UPDATE: The medicos report that Grandfather Bunyip's brain is more or less where it should be, working reasonably well and that there are no signs of fresh blood vessels about to burst. He celebrated the news with several glasses of Stone's Green Ginger Wine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wind Turbines And Intelligence: A Case Study

IS THERE no end to end to the Murdoch evil? Dismayed by growing opposition to ugly, noisy, inefficient wind turbines, green blogger Sandi Keane nuts out the Rupertian conspiracy:

Besieged media mogul, Rupert Murdoch owns Cavan, a substantial rural property in the fine grazing country … The district of Yass has arguably been targeted for a larger proportion of wind farms than elsewhere in Australia … No other media in Australia has run a more distorted and dishonest scare campaign about wind farms than the Murdoch media.

You could not make this stuff up – but they do, all the time.

The Perfect Prefect

OVER at Catallaxy, threadster JC shares with Currency Lad his playground memories of ABC radio host Jon Faine:
…he was a unlikeable wanker even in high school. He was a groveler too…. like a few of us would be talking while the teacher was…. usual thing…. and he’d do a “shssssshh” loud enough to get me and another kid into trouble. We were in the same classes at times. He always walked around with a frown on his face as though he was unhappy.. like a constipated look. I dunno when he changed his name to “Jon” as he wanted to be called “Jonathon”… 
Faine is still shsssshh-ing people, although these days it is his producer  who hits the mute button on unfit and improper opinions, just as schoolmarm Christine Milne would wish.
The child, as they say, really is the father of the man. 


The Age Lets Truth Slip Out

SEE a story in the Fairfax press about the coming Low Carbon Economy and experience warns to brace yourself. Here it comes, you think, another exercise in opacity by some kid crusader who will be burying the grim news in a compote of clich├ęs, determined dissembling and incoherent writing. That has certainly been Adam Morton’s schtick in the Phage, which on Saturday allowed its environmental editor to heave a weary sigh and help his newspaper’s remaining readers see through the “smoke and mirrors” of the ecosphere’s enemies. The result in that instance was a streak of incontinent advocacy that dribbled down the page and pooled in a pair of final paragraphs astonishing for their evasions:

…each Chinese is responsible for about one-fifth of the emissions of each Australian. Australia continues to have the highest per capita emissions of any major developed nation.

For a fellow who, earlier in his column, sniggered at sceptics for not comparing “apples with apples”, such immediate recourse to the per-capita sleight of hand might strike some as rather brazen. Are a billion closely packed and mostly poor Chinese the best yardstick for judging 21 million thinly smeared and rather wealthy Australians? Morton seems to think so, or at least hopes he can persuade you to do so.

Despite this, China is acting. This week it again signalled it would pilot an emissions trading scheme, expected to expand nationally in 2015. And estimates suggest it is on track to meet its UN target of a 40-45 per cent cut in emissions intensity by 2020. At some point soon after that it is going to have to do much more, but government bureaucrats have said its 2020 target equates to Australia cutting emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, far more than either major party supports.

Catch the trick? Spot the artifice? China is “on track” to a “40-45 per cent cut”, but not in actual emissions, just “emissions intensity”. Morton neglects to explain what this might be, so take it from a Bunyip: China will be burning lots and lots more coal, much of it dug up in Australia, but its next generation of ravenous power plants will make the combustion process far more efficient. In other words, more of the wicked gas that keeps Morton tossing and turning of a night between his organic cotton sheets. That’s emissions intensity, folks, and it has no closer relationship with reducing CO2 than the Phage does with clear and honest English.

All of which means there could be angry words if Morton encounters colleague David Potts over a cup of fair trade coffee in the Phage cafeteria. For perhaps the first time in the newspaper’s coverage of the Gillard Gouge, a Fairfax journalist goes with facts and hard numbers. The whole piece is worth reading, but these quotes are its nuggets:

* It's a permit to pollute - just like getting a licence to drive - for a fee. Who calls that a tax?

It's a funny tax where a government hands back more than it raises

Gas and electricity utilities ''may have to bear some additional costs in the near term but longer term there should, ultimately, be full pass through [to consumers]''

* The Housing Industry Association estimates a carbon price will add an average $5500 to the cost of a house.

[Food] prices will rise but, hey, what was that diet you were thinking about?

* Winners would have to be companies that can sell carbon credits and all this puts a new perspective on those dodgy, I mean tax-dodging, June 30 tree-plantation schemes.

* [for investors] green chip stocks 
… need to be well run [companies] with strong balance sheets, a proven technology and not continually calling for more capital … Unfortunately, most green chips fall foul on at least one of these.

* t
he biggest problem is that the carbon price needs to [almost triple to] $60 a tonne before it is profitable for electricity generators to switch from coal to gas and renewable energy.

* The carbon price will rise by the inflation rate plus 2.5 per cent a year … Treasury's guess is $131 a tonne in today's prices.

* over time "it might slow the rate of increase" is the most the prime minister is promising.

China and India buy most of our coal, so any pollution created is for them to fix.

as some products and services become dearer the budget-conscious among us will switch to something cheaper.

Apart from ruining his chances of landing a job at the ABC as Fairfax goes under, Potts can expect much grief when he applies for one of those Fit & Proper Person permits which Christine Milne is so keen to introduce.

Morton’s application should sail straight through.

How To Smear, ABC Style

THE arrogance at the ABC, it beggars belief.

The ABC’s Jeremy Thompson (above) went out of his way to do a number on Vaclav Klaus, as Andrew Bolt  and Correllio explain, but don’t expect a correction or apology. With this bloke even a blush would seem out of the question. Here’s how the sort of journalist Christine Milne admires describes his responsibility to truth:

@jthommo101 Jeremy Thompson
Fantastic ABC defo course run by legal eagle Lynette - now we know how to defend the indefensible.

There is a lot of that indefensible stuff at the ABC.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Now For The Hard Bit

THE Gillard crew has signed its Malaysian deal, the intention being to see 800 illegal aliens deported. Fine, so far as it goes, which probably will not be very far at all.

Forget the resolute posturing and happy press conferences, which are no more than window-dressing. Yet to be resolved are the methods our government’s agents will employ to load the screaming, sobbing, clawing-at-the-carpet rejects onto their KL-bound planes.

This government does not have a good record when the time comes to shift those determined to stay put.

Control, It's Grist For The Milne

ABOUT the time Q&A’s audience was bagging the editor of Hobart’s Mercury for not denouncing his employer on the front page of a determinately provincial publication, the urge to switch off the telly became almost irresistible. Almost. Was it the perverse pleasure to be mined from outrage that kept the screen alive, or that the dregs of a nice drop and their bottle were not worth carrying all the way out to the study? Probably the latter, so the Monday night ritual of pap and piety and ex cathedra pronouncements was allowed to continue its drone and whine from the corner of the livingroom. The bottle died and, soon after, so did the box. The web had won the battle for attention once again, as it increasingly does, and the ABC lost another viewer to its omniscient rival.

The nastiest notes from Tony Jones’ orchestration of imbalance were still echoing on the stroll through the garden, fresh bottle in paw. So, too, the irritation that surges almost every Monday night. Why had Jones felt it necessary to introduce that poor editor as “a Murdoch editor” and to do so almost with a wink? How could he permit that lisping pommy pistil-fiddler to thunder so, mostly about the magnificence of his own, planet-loving moral worth? And when the creature from the green lagoon reviled The Australian for leading simple souls astray, why did Jones not pull her up, point out that the Gillard Gouge is genuinely unpopular and that Rupert Murdoch, even at the height of his wicked powers, could have fanned no more than a small front of such a fire?

Because he is Tony Jones and it is their ABC, that is the simple answer. After yet another Monday festival of sneer and bias, a parade that begins with 7.30, runs often through Australian Story, and builds to its preachy climax with Four Corners, Media Watch and the Q&A, the conclusion that the fix is in is undeniable.

And last night, as the Billabong’s computer fired up, so did a sense of rueful astonishment.  How did the rather appealing idea of an honest, inoffensive national broadcaster metastisise into such an ugly growth. Every Monday sees the pillorying of the unfashionable. On other nights, much the same via other vehicles. Mark Scott, the media mogul who needs not turn a profit, swears his ABC is a “market failure broadcaster”, that it plugs a gap the commercials will not fill. How then to explain Crownies?  Young hornbags shedding their gear to the accompaniment of a clunky script, it’s a concept quite thoroughly explored, one would have thought, by Seven, Nine and Ten (not to mention cable’s cavalcade of tits and teeth.)

Somehow it happened, the transformation from Mr Squiggle to Mr Straight Party Line. At, a site devoted to the history of Oz viewing and its ephemera, the buffs have very kindly collected images of what they call “classic TV Guides”, and last night, after Christine Milne’s use of the ABC pulpit to promise that “hate media” would soon be examined, judged and regulated, it seemed worthwhile to turn back time and take a quick look at the ABC of three decades past.  The entry for July 29, 1981, isn’t relevant because all stations’ schedules were dominated by live coverage of Princess Di’s wedding, but a facsimile page from May speaks to how much things have changed, to the mission creep that would see Bellbird, if it were to re-made today, devoted to Joe Turner’s wind generator, Olive’s hunza pie and the local rag’s crusade for carbon justice. Can anyone doubt that John Quinney would be a big polluter, not to mention a cross-burning foe of the sweet family of Muslim refugees modern scriptwriters would feel obliged to introduce and extol?

Back in 1981, apart from an afternoon news broadcast at one o’clock, the daytime schedule was devoted entirely to kiddie fare and educational programming. By 7pm, it was the nightly news, followed by Big Country, then documentaries and imported drama, with another 40 minutes of current affairs before the evening tailed off with the lightweight laughs of Three’s Company.

Now look at the today’s ABC. Having been awarded a dedicated cable channel to mind Australia’s children, it has stacked the early mornings with japanimation -- second-rate superheroes smacking each other around without pause or plot. Again, what is it about such shows that does not replicate the commercials’ offerrings?  After that, lots of stuff like this.

On the web, for semi-grownups there is the Drum, where the ABC feels obliged to replicate the piffle that Eric Beecher serves up at Crikey. Again, where is the market failure? Beecher mines a profit from morons, and good luck to him, for that is the way markets work. But at the Drum, there is not the excuse of profit, only green left ideology leavened with the odd quisling entry by a token writer from the right. As the late Alene Composta demonstrated, no opinion is too ridiculous for the Drum, so long as it appears to originate on the left.

You could on and on about the ABC – not least the the way in which, say, the Q&A guest roster  reads like a list of those invited to a family gathering. The whining Anna Rose, of the Children’s Climate Crusade, gets a seat on the panel; she is the lovemate of Simon “Shakedown” Sheikh, who also gets his frequent dollop of government-guaranteed exposure. An Australian convert to Islam, Susan Carland (on last week’s Q&A), is introduced as a sociologist; more relevant, one suspects, is that she is the spouse of the ABC’s (and SBS) favourite tame Muslim Waleed Aly. Those unofficial networks of friends and mates and lovers, you get the impression they carry an awesome weight with ABC bookers.

It would be nice to shrug off the ABC’s advocacy of its employees’ personal views. As the web demonstrates, there are more alternative sources of information and opinion than in 1981, so if you can stomach the ABC’s pushing one side of the political divide while largely ignoring the other, it is, or should be, no big deal.

But then, chillingly, you hear Christine Milne’s vow to bring dissident opinions to heel, even when they represent bodies of opinion far larger and much stronger than that of the other-worldly 15-odd percent who supported her party at the last poll.  And she will, too. Make no mistake about the shamelessness of your typical crypto-fascist.

It would be nice if the ABC could be restored to the wholesome inoffensiveness of entertainments like Blue Hills and the Argonauts, but that can never happen. As an institution it has been colonized by the tawdry, the vulgar and the true believer, often all at the same time.

There is only one way to fix the ABC and that is to defund it. As Tony Abbott and his handlers count the days until this staggering government falls at the next election, whenever that might be, he should keep a running tally of Aunty’s outrages. John Howard had the spine only for fiddling at the edges. Abbott needs to punch out the ABC’s lights. And then he must drive a stake through its irredeemable heart.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Animal Magnetism

WITH $25 million available to promote our PM’s carbon tax, the opportunities for gain are immense. Some smartypants PR consultant will already have cashed his or her government cheque for suggesting that dogs make adequate replacements for electric blankets, but there is much more largesse yet to be dispensed. That is the great thing about this government. No matter how deeply it pushes Australia into the red, its printers will always be standing ready to run off a pallet’s load of  fresh currency for the benefit and gain of its supporters. Just ask Annabel Crabb, whose contributions to the Drum (and other fora) could not have hurt her chances of landing what is reported to be a new gig as the resident wit on 7.30.

That is fine and dandy for Ms Crabb, but those Australians who are neither Maureen Dowd impersonators nor the beneficiaries of Mark Scott’s golden patronage need not despair! There is a cash a’plenty up for grabs, so don’t dally. Get yours before all the money is gone (and this government with it).

With the upcoming trout season raising thoughts of how nice it would be to fasten a new and expensive, seven-bearing reel to the Professor’s favourite rod, the following suggestions have been dispatched to Greg Combet, Minister for Fixing The Weather. The landing net will be kept handy to the letterbox, because this cheque is going to be a whopper.

Sustainable transport:
and the GT model….

Two-wheel aficionados have not been overlooked...

                And when the LaTrobe Valley is powered down, don’t despair


 After a night or two between the sheets with Rover and Spot, it will be time to do the washing in a sustainable way….


And for greedy Murray Darling irrigators, here's your new pump…

 As for pastoralists, they can cough up….

… or light up with this handy, four-legged power source for all green, book-in-bed reading needs (just make sure your sleeping companions are cattle dogs)

And when the next election comes due and Labor’s pollsters are reporting that alternate energy is no longer quite so popular, here’s the foundation of the Gillard government’s next budgetary pitch to the electorate…

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Spiking Stuff -- Respectfully, Of Course

VICTIM OF SEXISM Anna Rose posts the following note in the comments thread of her poor-me post:
 Hi everyone – I know there are a lot of people coming to this site from Tim Blair’s blog. Welcome – it’s exciting to have new readers. I would just ask this when you read about my experience. You might disagree with the work I do on climate change. You might decide you don’t like me as a person, even though we’ve never met. You are entitled to your views! But please, think about whether the experience I went through adds to constructive debate online, and whether or not you would think it’s reasonable for your sister, daughter or mother to have those kinds of comments hurled at them. My point is this: we should all be free to do the work we think is important without being the subject of sexist abuse. I like to think that many people who read Tim Blair’s blog, while you disagree with me on many other things, would agree with me on this. Thanks to those of you who are respectfully contributing to the debate happening here.

Anna, whose pillowmate, organizes boycotts against businesses whose views he dislikes, swears she wants to promote “constructive debate online”.

But not too constructive, mind you. The following comment was submitted for publication on that same thread, but never saw the light of day:

Dear Anna Rose,
I wonder if you could direct me to your organisation's current statement of income and expenses? I thought I might find those details in your annual report, but it is heavy on young people leaping and very light on ledgers. Indeed, there are no numbers at all -- a remarkable omission in any annual report.

I am particularly interested to know how much your "major backer", the Purves Foundation kicks in, as well as the contributions of US taxpayers.

If you could also direct me to a list of salaries, including your own, this also would be appreciated, as it might give you a chance to dispel my suspicion that AYCC is an exercise in puppetry by those who find your blueshirts quite handy for PR purposes. As you know, Ms. Rose, the more information, the better those "conversations" you seem to think we need.
Yours in anticipation etc etc
Open as Anna is to “respectfully contributing”, it might have been a mere accident or oversight that saw the comment vanish.

So why not send those financial statement over to the Billabong, Anna? They will be treated with respect. Promise.

Crazy Stuff

A FRIEND who labours in the groves of academe passes along this tidbit about one of Australia’s foremost snafflers of climate-research grants.
“When [this joker] is at odds with a colleague, he has been known to say ‘My brother is a psychiatrist and I have consulted him about your behaviour. We both agree you a paranoid/narcist/etc., so this discussion is at an end.’ ”
The science gets settled in so many interesting ways.

Gone To The Dogs

OUR government has a website that urges Australians to save the planet from the carbon curse by, amongst other things, sleeping with our dogs -- an inanity the Silly reports without comment until the last paragraph, when it passes on the information that "opposition climate change spokesman, Greg Hunt, branded the government's advice farcical."

Yes, the very last paragraph.

As for the photo (above), that is how the Silly chose to illustrate the coming joys of power penury. The caption also demonstrates how close to the abyss Fairfax has come. Apparently dogs also do the paper's sub-editting, as the illiterate caption makes clear: "Keeping green ... the Stanbridge and Winslade familes gathers around to play a board game."

No indication of who the Stanbridge and Winslade familes (sic) might be, where they live, or why two clans deserve a singular verb, a misspelling and the tautological "around".

UPDATE: More advice on staying warm from our disgrace of a government.
1/ Put an extra blanket on the bed.
2/ Close the door
3/ Turn off heaters
4/ Open curtains when the sun shines
5/ Spurn showers
6/ Huddle with kin under a blanket
7/ Ride a bloody bike
8/ Hang washing on the line
9/ Turn off appliances
10/ Don't waste food.

Somewhere in Australia, some poor sucker contributed what would no doubt be a year's worth of taxes to pay the consultant who compiled that list. Let's hope he or she enjoys fleas between the sheets.

He Stoops To Concur

... Tough it out with Gillard and hope the Bulldog in her starts to emerge....
Having moved to Sydney some time ago, Williamson demonstrates that he is as out of touch with Melbourne's winter sporting scene as with worthwhile metaphor. Like his pinup PM, the Bulldogs began their season amidst many confident predictions of glory in September. Since then, they have failed, disappointed and collapsed. Only yesterday they went to Sydney and  were whipped once again.

If Gillard is to draw inspiration from her favourite football team, coach Rodney Eade will be its source.

He will be fired, and not before time, very soon indeed.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


THE contract with the Billabong’s mobile phone provider expired at the start of the year and, for reasons that now seem entirely ill-considered, the business was switched to Vodafone. The consequence has been a standard of service that might have passed muster in, oh, 1998-or-so, but is sadly lacking by today’s norms. Calls drop out in mid-sentence (if they can be placed at all), web browsing is slower than Wayne Swan and customer service is of the Subcontinental variety, so heavily accented as to be unintelligible. Six weeks have passed, for example, since a lady in Bangalore (or some such other remote location) promised to straighten out an incorrect bill. While she has not called back as promised, Vodafone’s collectors have continued to send dunning notes. If you are thinking of signing with Vodafone, don’t. A wet blanket and a smoky fire will do the job just as competently and at a lower cost in aggravation.

Poor service and a call centre operated from a sheltered workshop are two good reasons to spurn Vodafone.  There is also another.

While Vodafone could and should be putting every available cent into fixes and improvements, it has decided to invest in the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which boasts of the sponsorship in its 2010 annual report (see page 28).

On page 29 of the same report, other sponsors are listed, including NAB, the Ten network (wait until Andrew Bolt hears about this!) and, improbable but true, the US Government. Why American taxpayers would wish to support a posse of adolescent attention-seekers in another country is a matter a congressman might like to raise, especially with Washingtom poised to shut down for lack of funds.

But let us go easy on America. The hegemon could drown little brown babies in Agent Orange and it would still be not half so annoying as Vodafone.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bed of Rose's

ANNA ROSE, of the Children's Climate Crusade, and Simon Sheikh, of the ABC's go-to Rolodex, are an item, as has long been known. On the one hand, this is a good thing because it saves two other parties the unpleasant surprise of waking of a morning beside either of them.

On the other hand, there is always the possibility they might prove to be a breeding pair, despite their concern for sustainability. This would be a terrible thing for their planet. Apart from another generation of smug, precious, ABC-favoured self-promoters making the 2035 season of Q&A absolutely unwatchable, the whining in other fora would be deafening.

Read this to get an idea of just how bad it would be. It's frightening.

Sound Observation?

IS IT just a Bunyip’s imagination or does the theme music for QI owe a little something to All My Friends Are Getting Married?

Contrast and compare:

QI's intro:

Wanted: Less Ted, More Teddy Boy

ALL who know him generally agree that Victoria’s Premier Ted Baillieu is a lovely fellow, a thorough and courteous gentleman. It may not seem that way during Question Time in the Legislative Assembly, but blame parliamentary convention for confrontation’s trumping of civil conversation. Off the floor, even Liberal Party critics most often preface their remarks about Victoria’s leader with observations about decency and the pleasure of his company. At least they do at the Billabong when the port is flowing, gnawed bones have been cleared away and the post-dessert fare is running to gossip and, it must be said, quite a bit of grumbling about this man who is liked so very much.

Some of the harsher words – and they are so far only relatively harsh – dwell on the premier’s disconcerting lassitude. His government replaced a crew whose incompetence was exceeded only by its genius for making the odious appear admirable. There was no catastrophe, no failure to execute or breach of the public trust the party of Bracks and Brumby could not run through the mill of its PR operatives and have transformed into a triumph. It was an approach that bore fruit time and again – aided, it must be said, by a tame media’s willingness to be conned. Perfect example: The near-unanimous prediction that Brumby’s rum lot would be returned at last year’s election. That was Labor’s party line, and reporters gobbled it along with hook and sinker. The key battlegrounds, they parroted, would be places like Bendigo, where Labor’s intense efforts to prop up incumbent Jacinta Allan left Baillieu’s candidate with little chance of success. Meanwhile, in electorates along the Frankston train line, an entirely unnoticed revolt was brewing. Bendigo stayed in Labor’s hands, but the Frankston line’s concerns about crime, traffic congestion and transit snafus put Baillieu over the top. True, his was only a one-seat majority, but it was enough to form a government. 

Since then, not much in the way of reform or repeal, despite Victoria being such a target-rich environment. Yes, some fixes are tough and difficult and cannot be implemented as soon as one might wish. Deep-sixing the anti-vilification laws, for instance, needs to be done, and perhaps one day we will actually see it happen. You can be entirely supportive of jolly ethnic types and their odd little ways and still rate free speech, even ugly and distressing speech, as being at least as valid as some misogynist cleric’s right to praise purdah. The to-do list is long, and after a dozen years of spin and cronyism, there is not a stall in Spring Street’s stable that would not benefit from a good mucking out.

Optimism says we will see the big fixes happen, eventually. But what of the smaller targets, the poisoned and low-hanging fruit that might be easily and quickly plucked? Why did it take so long to see off Christine Overland (or is it Simon Nixon?) as police commissioner? Why has there been no purge of the green loons who have infiltrated the Department of Sustainability and Environment? Why are Labor hacks promoted to the bench (or appointed to usurp the courts at VCAT) being allowed to preside untroubled by a quiet word that their conduct and decisions will be subjected to a very critical scrutiny? Where is the fresh draft of conservative judges and magistrates to redress a decade’s imbalance?

If those matters are too prickly to tackle with dispatch, surely the same cannot be said of the sitting ducks, like Film Victoria? For God’s sake, why is Baillieu continuing to allow those in charge to underwrite with public funds anti-Catholic bigotry, gratuitous obscenity and, via an alliance with SBS, the vile assertion that Imperial Japan’s  aggression was prompted by Australia’s white racism?

Not so long ago Film Victoria threw a lavish party for its departing chief. There was much adverse comment, even from artsy sorts, who no doubt believe the cash might have been better spent on their own, worthy little projects. A man with just a slightly thicker streak of nastiness might have seized the moment and acted -- especially if that man had also taken it upon himself to handle the Arts portfoilio.

Baillieu did nothing and let the opportunity slip. He needs to change that, not least because so many other branches of his public service remain infested with Labor-appointed white ants. If he persists in doing little or nothing, the cracks in his party’s unity of purpose will become fissures, especially with the press forever ready to hail Labor’s re-birth as a credible replacement. Public servants will leak to those same reporters, and members of a divided cabinet will blame each other for the bad publicity. According to some whispers this is already happening.

Big Ted, a lovely man, was elected to govern. He should do so before it is too late.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two Pods in The Pee

ONE OF the more interesting things about smoking is the opportunity to observe the way butts discarded in the toilet often find each other. Not always – sometimes they will sulk in separate corners – but surprisingly often, and for no apparent reason, they are drawn to float butt-to-butt or side-to-side, like little logs on a Canadian river. What mystery of physics arranges these matings must remain a riddle until the grants and peer-reviewed literature are in, but it seems noxious discards’ mutual attraction also applies in the wider world.

UPDATE: As a reminder of Nixon’s oily dissembling, let us re-visit her testimony before the Bushfires Royal Commission on April 14, 2010. Nixon is being asked to explain details omitted from an accounting of her social calendar provided at an earlier appearance:

Q: The statement makes no mention of a meal at a pub; do you agree with that?
NIXON: I think that, looking at the statement, it
was prepared with the best knowledge I can at the time…
Q: When you prepared this statement had you forgotten that you went to the Metropolitan [Hotel]?
NIXON: Look, I didn't think it was relevant, and what I understood I was being asked about was my role as the Police Commissioner and the other two responsibilities I had on the day. Whether I had a meal at home and prepared it myself or whether I had a meal otherwise, I didn't see as being important….
Q: …But you have just agreed, Ms Nixon, that the omission of the reference to the meal out in the statement was a matter of choice. You decided it was not relevant?
NIXON: I did.
Q: I suggest to you, you deliberately omitted reference to the meal being out at a pub both in your statement and in your oral evidence because you didn't want to reveal that you had gone out for a meal rather than stayed at home?
NIXON: Look, I don't agree with that point at all. It was an arrangement that was easily cancelled. It wasn't significant. It wasn't a celebration….
And thus it was that Victoria’s senior disaster official left the bushfires command centre to stuff her face while 173 Victorians were being burned to death. As the full transcript makes clear, for three full hours on the terrible night of February 7, 2009, not a single emergency official bothered to contact Nixon, presumably because those at the command HQ realized her wisdom was not worth the cost of a phone call.

Is it any wonder a pair of oleaginous specimens like Nixon and our PM enjoy such mutual esteem?