Showing posts with label Tony Abbott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tony Abbott. Show all posts

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Tweet of the Week

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Tony Abbott: unpopular and unwanted

Sacked former prime minister and current Liberal MP for Warringah Anthony John "Tony" Abbott in August 2018.......
Crikey, 28 August 2018:

For nearly 25 years, Tony Abbott has done nothing in politics but destroy and oppose. His party, and Australia, desperately need him to leave.

Next year, Tony Abbott will rack up 25 years as an MP. And the best way for him to celebrate it -- for his party, for the government, and most of all for Australia -- would be to retire. 2019 should be the election at which he calls time.

Abbott said to one of his media friends on Monday that he still sees himself as a young man. In fact, Abbott has always been an old man; he is the classic example of Keating's "young fogey", from his days as a student politician through his stint as a seminarian and his devotion to BA Santamaria, through his entry into politics first as a staffer and then as an MP. Abbott has only ever seen the world through the eyes of an old man furious at the changes wrought by young people, determined to reverse the desecration of all that is sacred in his world where Christian white males hold unquestioned authority.

The Monthly, 27 August 2018:

What did the rest of Australia ever do to the voters of Warringah? Lucky to live in one of the most blessed constituencies on earth, stretching from Sydney’s leafy north shore to the northern beaches, its residents have nevertheless foisted on Australia the single most destructive politician of our time: Tony Abbott. The failed priest, nicknamed the “mad monk”, has done incalculable damage to this country. And for someone who aspired to be a “junkyard dog savaging the other side”, Abbott has lately mostly savaged his own, culminating in last week’s Pyrrhic victory over Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which slaked his thirst for revenge but left the Liberals in their worst position for a decade.

As a former director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, Abbott was a key wrecker of the 1999 republic referendum, denying this country a head of state who was one of us. Abbott employed David Oldfield, who moonlighted for Pauline Hanson and helped create One Nation. Realising the threat that Hanson posed to the Liberals’ right front, Abbott was the brains behind shabby outfit Australians for Honest Politics, which helped put her in jail for electoral fraud. As a pro-life health minister, under John Howard, he tried to block women’s access to the abortion drug RU486.

In 2009, Warringah’s local member tore down Liberal Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull over climate change. It was desperately cynical even then: Abbott admitted to Turnbull at the time that he’d been a “bit of a weather vane” on the issue. But Abbott decided it was “absolute crap” that the science of climate change was settled and, right there and then, introduced a kind of madness into our politics. Ever since, the country has found it impossible to agree on an energy or climate policy.

Emboldened after toppling Turnbull, the member for Warringah went on to launch a misogynistic campaign against our first female prime minister; he also embarked on a misleading “axe the tax” campaign against Labor’s emissions trading scheme, which his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, later excused as an exercise in “brutal retail politics”, given the ETS wasn’t a carbon tax at all. As prime minister, Abbott’s first great achievement was to kill off our car industry, and he went on betray his promise to the electorate that his government would make “no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS”. His first budget in 2014, possibly the worst in living memory, defunded schools and hospitals to the tune of $80 billion compared with forecast funding levels under Labor, and failed to pass the Senate. That year Abbott made Australia the first country in the world to abolish a carbon price. Then in 2015 he knighted Prince Philip on Australia Day, turning himself into a laughing stock, and his downfall began. When the Liberal Party turfed Abbott in September 2015, a grateful nation rewarded the new PM Turnbull with approval ratings of 68 per cent.

Ever since, Abbott has sniped, wrecked and undermined the Coalition. Although he describes his aim as being the “best possible member for Warringah”, he has never cared to represent his constituency faithfully. In the equal marriage postal survey, 75 per cent of his electorate voted “Yes” – the highest proportion in New South Wales – but Tony Abbott, a loud “No” campaigner, later scarpered from the House of Representatives.

Now, without care for the national interest, the institution of parliament, the office of PM or the electoral fate of the Liberal Party, Abbott has torn down Turnbull a second time. To what end? Not policy: Turnbull had conceded everything the hard right demanded of him. Not politics: today’s Newspoll[$] shows the damage caused by last week’s spill; the Coalition now trails Labor 44–56, and Bill Shorten is preferred PM. The member for Warringah will reportedly [$] give a “call-to-arms” speech to rally Liberal members behind new prime minister Scott Morrison. But can Abbott be trusted to serve Morrison loyally? Or will he start the work of tearing down another Liberal prime minister?

The party is desperate to put the Abbott-Turnbull wars behind it. Federal Liberal president Nick Greiner said yesterday [$] that Abbott is at least partly to blame for the divisions in the party: “Tony is an excellent political salesman, a political warrior; he should have been spending his time – and I of course said this to him – much more on bringing down our political opponents rather than focusing on internal differences.” Columnist Niki Savva was less politic on the weekend, writing: “If he had any decency Abbott would resign too, now that he has accomplished his mission.”

Former PM Kevin Rudd absolutely let rip this morning: “I cannot remember a single positive policy initiative that Abbott has championed and then implemented. Not one. As a result, unconstrained by policy, the entire energy of this giant wrecking ball of Australian politics has been focused on destroying his opponents – within the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. Of all modern politicians, Abbott is sui generis. His singular, destructive impact on national politics cannot be underestimated.”

Monday, 9 July 2018

How can you spot an uncharitable charity?

On 3 July 2018 Liberal MP for Warringah and former sacked Australian prime minister Tony Abbott gave the 2018 Bob Carter Commemorative Lecture  titled “Time to pull out of Paris” at an Australian Environment Foundation event at CQ Functions in Melbourne.

So who and what is the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF)?

AEF is registered as a charity and its current board comprises:

MORAN, ALAN Director
OXLEY, ALAN Director
RIDD, PETER Director

Its address is 19 Robinson Rd, Hawthorn, VIC 3122.

According to the Australian Business Register as at 4 July 2018, AEF business names are Murray Darling AllianceListentous and Australian Climate Science Coalition and its trading name is Australian Environment Foundation Ltd.

The foundation has no employees and is allegedly run by up to 10 volunteers.

AEF has no income except donations and in the 2016 financial year these donations totalled $1,175.

The AEF reported to the charity commission that its charity work consisted of updating the AEF website, sending out regular newsletters to AEF members on current environment issues, and on consequent benefits or costs of these issues, as well as holding public meeting with highly qualified speakers. However, although it spent $8,929 on these activities in 2013-14, it spent a mere $667 in 2014-15 and no money at all in 2015-16.

One has to suspect that the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) may now be picking up the tab for any outlays on newsletters, given AEF's close association with this far-right pressure group.

Venue hire and other expenses related to its "public meetings" appear to be picked up by corporate sponsors such as Bayer Crop Science and Monsanto in the past.

The original AEF website can be found at where its right wing ratbaggery was on full view.

According to the latest version of its website:

The Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) is a non-profit, membership-based organisation that seeks to protect the environment, while preserving the rule of law, property rights, and the freedom of the individual. 

We take an evidence-based, solution-focused approach to environmental issues.    
While it may be true that "We are all environmentalists now", the great majority of Australians have little or no say in the environmental policies being put to governments – federal, state or local.  These policies are almost exclusively the domain of a tight network of conservation groups ensuring one view, and one view only, is put forward.   

The AEF is a different kind of environment group, caring for both Australia & Australians.  
So what is this difference it speaks about?

Here is part of the answer.

Source Watch as at 4 July 2018:

The Australian Environment Foundation is a front group founded by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), a conservative Melbourne-based think tank.

The director of the environment unit of the IPA, Jennifer Marohasy was the founding Chairwoman and is listed as a Director in the organisation's documents with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Mahorasy is also the listed registrant of the group's website, although the address and phone number for the website registration are identical to the address and phone number for the Victorian office of the logging industry front groupTimber Communities Australia[1] [2]

In July 2005, the month after AEF's official launch, it was announced that former television celebrity Don Burke had been appointed chairman. [3]

ASIC documents also listed Mike Nahan, the former Executive Director of the IPA, as one of the other founding directors. The documents also listed AEF's registered place of business as the IPA office. (Nahan was ED of the IPA until mid-2005). Pdf copy of ASIC registration - 11kb
In a column by Nahan in the Herald-Sun, he described AEF as "pro-biotechnology, pro-nuclear power, pro-modern farming, pro-economic growth, pro-business and pro-environment." [4]

AEF managed to jump the queue for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Status awarded to not for profit charities who’s purpose is to help save the environment. This status was awarded by the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) and approved by the Federal Liberal Environment Minister. DGR Status entitles donors to a tax deduction at their marginal rate of tax for every dollar donated. The head of the AEF admitted that it is a group set up to protect timber interests and stop resources being taken away from the industry in an interview on ABC Radio station Triple J's Hack program.


The AEF was formally launched on World Environment Day (June 5 2005) in the northern New South Wales town of Tenterfield. "This new group will be vastly different to the established environment organisations that have had the ear of governments for some time. The AEF’s focus will be on making decisions based on science and what is good for both the environment and for people," the group stated in its press release.[5]

The formation of the AEF was first mooted at the 'The Institute of Public Affairs Eureka Forum' organised in December 2004 by the Institute of Public Affairs.
The Australian Environment Foundation was registered by Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)as a business in February, 2005. Its formation was also announced during the May 2005 Annual conference in Launceston of Timber Communities Australia, a timber industry front group.

AEF was officially launched on World Environment Day, 5th June, 2005. Jennifer Marohasy, who is the IPA's environment director, is a key player. On her blog Marohasy boasted that "The Australian Environment Foundation (AEF) has just formed and embraced the following 6 values based on my five principles." [6]
Reporting on the AEF's launch, the Melbourne broadsheet newspaper, 'The Age' reported that Marohasy is the group’s chairwoman. "Dr Marohasy said she acted as the group's leader as an individual and not part of the IPA," the Age reported. [7]
The launch was covered on Michael Duffy's conservative ABC radio show, ‘Counterpoint’ on the 6th of June in a story called ‘Putting People First’. Ironically, this phrase was the name of a (now defunct) wise-use group that operated in the US. The piece is on the ABC website. [8]

via @simonahac, 3 July 2018

According to one of the original AEF directors Max Rheese; AEF and IPA members share common values.

The AEF inaugural board members were drawn from the Institute of Public AffairsLandholders Institute, Timber Communities Australia and the  Bush Users Group.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull supports an attempt by former prime ministers Howard and Abbott to impose an elitist world view

Here is public comment on and by the main characters in what looks remarkably like an ill-considered and rather crude attempt at a beer hall putsch against academic freedom.

With one of the eight Ramsey Centre directors, Tony Abbott, giving the game away when he revealed that half of the proposed four-person Partnership Management Committee had an expectation that this committee would directly set the Bachelor of Western Civilsation curriculum and hire academic staff.

An expectation which appears confirmed by a statemet attributed to the Ramsey Centre CEO that; “If we feel like it’s not going to go to appreciation of Western Civilization, then we can withdraw the funding.”  

Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation vision statement:

Paul Ramsay was a leading Australian businessman who was passionate about education and wished to educate future generations in the traditions and practices of western civilisation: its history, philosophy, literature, science, theology, music, art and architecture.

He also wanted to create over time a cadre of leaders – Australians whose awareness and appreciation of their country’s Western heritage and values, of the challenges that have confronted leaders and people, with that broad heritage in the past, would help guide their decision making in the future.

The Ramsay Centre Scholarships will provide students from across Australia the opportunity to study western civilisation in this spirit at one of our partner universities. Places will also be available within the BA degrees to non-scholarship holders. [my yellow highlighting]

The ANU Observer, 8 March 2018:

ANU announced plans for a $25,000 a year scholarship associated with a proposed Bachelor of Western Civilization on Tuesday, subject to student consultation. The announcement occurred at a forum for staff and student feedback, where more details of the proposed program were given, though some students voiced concerns.

At $25,000, the scholarship is the largest ever offered at ANU. It will be larger by just above 15% than the Tuckwell Scholarship, which is set at $21,700 for 2018.....

In a question at the forum, one attendee quoted the CEO of the Ramsay Centre, Simon Haines, as saying, “If we feel like it’s not going to go to appreciation of Western Civilization, then we can withdraw the funding.”  [my yellow highlighting]

*The proposed program comprises 16 core courses, typically taken over three years, with an additional Honours year sequence open to outstanding students. Students may replace up to 4 of the 16 BWC courses with 4 courses of classical or modern European language study. Students will be able to take the program alongside other disciplines offered by the University and (in the case of double-degree students) other degrees.

*The different courses within the program consider books from a variety of genres or disciplines (predominately works of literature, history, philosophy, religion, politics) but also including architecture, art and music, 

*The program will be capped at 60 students consisting of up to 30 scholarship recipients in the first year and up to 30 non-scholarship recipients. Up to 10 further scholarships will be made available to students in the second year of the degree.

*A distinct aspect of the proposed program is the use of the ‘Socratic’ approach. The program aims to create active learners engaged with primary texts in classes of no more than six to eight students. These small-group discussions will be supplemented by a series of panel-style discussions where academics from different perspectives engage in discussion with each other and with students.

*Curriculum recommendations will be made by the Partnership Management Committee (consisting of two academic staff from the Ramsay Centre and two academics from the ANU, one of whom is the Dean of CASS) and considered through the normal ANU academic processes[my yellow highlighting]

Liberal MP for Warringah Tony Abbott in Quadrant Online, 24 May 2018:

“The key to understanding the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is that it’s not merely about Western civilisation but in favour of it. The fact that it is “for” the cultural inheritance of countries such as ours, rather than just interested in it, makes it distinctive. The fact that respect for our heritage has largely been absent for at least a generation in our premier teaching and academic institutions makes the Ramsay Centre not just timely but necessary. This is an important national project. It’s not every day, after all, that such a big endowment is dedicated in perpetuity to raising the tone of our civic conversation…..

A management committee including the Ramsay CEO and also its academic director will make staffing and curriculum decisions.” [my yellow highlighting]

Brisbane Times, 7 June 2015:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will personally intervene in the ANU's decision to pull out of a controversial new degree in Western Civilisation, saying he wants to talk to the university's vice-chancellor about it directly.

On Thursday, Mr Turnbull became the latest Liberal politician to wade into the furore over the course, which was to be funded by the John Howard-headed Ramsay Centre.
The Prime Minister said he was "very surprised" by the ANU's decision last week to end six months of negotiation with the centre and would be speaking to vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt personally "to get his account of it".

"I find it very hard to understand why that proposal from the Ramsay Foundation would not have been accepted with enthusiasm," Mr Turnbull said….
[my yellow highlighting]

Professor Brian Schmidt AC, Vice-Chancellor and President, Australian National University, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 2018:

The news came yesterday that Australian National University remains ranked by QS as number one in Australia and in the top 25 universities in the world. It is a global reputation we take seriously. One that is built on the basis of academic autonomy and free academic inquiry.

ANU has declined donations in the past and will again where we are unable to meet the wishes of the donor within our normal practices. It is right that we explore opportunities openly and in good faith, but it is also right that we let prospective donors know when we cannot provide them with what they want.

Our decision to end negotiations with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilization has attracted a great deal of interest. In this case, the prospective donor sought a level of influence over our curriculum and staffing that went beyond what any other donor has been granted, and was inconsistent with academic autonomy.

This would set a precedent that would completely undermine the integrity of the University.

While there has been plenty of noise from all ends about the merits of the study of Western civilisation, the decision at our end has nothing to do with the subject matter.

In fact, the reason we entered into discussions and, no doubt, why we were of interest to the donor, is our global reputation for scholarship and teaching across the full breadth of the Western liberal tradition from classics, history and literature to philosophy, art and music. We offer more than 150 courses in western scholarship. It would take 18 years of study to complete all of those courses.

The opportunity to augment our teaching and research in these areas, along with a generous scholarship program for students, was an attractive proposition for ANU and we were grateful to the Ramsay Centre for considering ANU as a partner.

But at the end of the day, the University operates on the same principles with all donors, whatever their area of interest. Whether it is funding to support the study of Persian language or the study of classics, the same principles apply. The University retains full control of all curriculum and staffing decisions. This actually gets to the crux of the issue here for us. In this case, the donor sought a level of influence over our curriculum and staffing that went beyond any existing arrangements we have.
[my yellow highlighting]


On 1 June The Australian National University announced that it was withdrawing from negotiations to create a degree program with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. We took our decision for no other reason than the Centre's continued demands for control over the program were inconsistent with the University's academic autonomy.
We anticipated attacks from some for even contemplating introducing the degree, and from others for being anti-Western civilisation. What we had less reason to expect was the protracted media firestorm which has continued daily for nearly a month, in certain sections of the press, with ANU constantly assaulted for capitulating to pressure from those hostile to the Ramsay Centre, but without evidence or new information being offered. Scrutiny from the press is crucial in western democracies in holding public institutions to account - and universities should not escape it. But does stating over and over again a false narrative make it true? 
We have intentionally refrained from going into the details of the University's negotiations with the Ramsay Centre, partly because of our respect for what we had understood to be the confidentiality of those negotiations, partly to allow the Centre clear air to rethink its position after exploring options with other institutions, and partly because of our unwillingness to personalise the arguments in the way that others have been all too ready to do. But it has become obvious that we need now to further explain our decision "in the public square".
If ANU had withdrawn from the program simply because some people within our ranks were uncomfortable, for essentially ideological reasons, with the very idea of it, we would deserve all the criticism hurled at us.  But that was absolutely not the case. There was, and remains, strong support across the University for a major enhancement of our teaching and research capacity in the area of Western civilisation studies. We are attracted by the wide-ranging liberal arts courses taught in some prominent American universities, and remain wholly willing to craft a similar degree course here. Designed to convey understanding and respect for the great Western intellectual and cultural traditions - albeit in our own way:  analytically rigorous, not triumphalist, and open to comparisons being drawn, as appropriate, with other major intellectual and cultural traditions.
ANU has long been ranked number one in Australia in humanities disciplines, and we already teach some 150 undergraduate subjects addressing Western civilisation themes. The attractiveness of having major new resources to advance them, is why an enormous amount of effort has been invested by our staff in developing a very detailed proposal, including a draft syllabus, in support of a Ramsay gift, and why negotiations for common ground continued as long as they did.
So what went wrong? We withdrew from negotiations because there were irreconcilable differences over the governance of the proposed program, not its substance.  We were willing to accept the Ramsay Centre having a voice in curriculum design and staff appointments. But only a voice, not a controlling influence. From the outset, however, the Centre has been locked in to an extraordinarily prescriptive micro-management approach to the proposed program, unprecedented in our experience, embodied in a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of some 30 pages with another 40 pages of detailed annexures.
It has insisted on a partnership management committee to oversee every aspect of the curriculum and its implementation - with equal numbers from both the Ramsay Centre and ANU, meaning an effective Ramsay veto.
It has been unwilling to accept our own draft curriculum, and has refused to accept our preferred name for the degree ('Western Civilisation Studies')While acknowledging that any curriculum would have to be endorsed by the ANU Academic Board, it has made clear that to be acceptable to the Ramsay Centre it would have to find favour with the joint management committee - with its representatives being able to sit in the classes that we teach and undertake "health checks" on the courses and the teachers.
It became clear that there are fundamental differences in our respective conceptions of the role of a university.  The Centre has gone so far as to insist on the removal of "academic freedom" as a shared objective for the program: this remains in the draft MOU as an ANU objective, not a Ramsay one. For us academic freedom doesn't mean freedom to underperform or to teach without regard to the disciplines or agreed objectives of a particular syllabus. But it does mean appointment or retention of staff on the basis of their demonstrated academic merit, not political or ideological preference.
A continuing concern has been that the proposed Ramsay funding is provided short-term, up for renewal in eight years. A time-limited gift is not in itself problematic, but building a major program involving the hiring of a dozen staff, and then being held hostage to its continuation by a donor whose most senior and influential board members appear to have manifestly different views to ours about university autonomy, is not a happy position for any university to be in.
Ramsay CEO Simon Haines, in an interview in last weekend's Fairfax Press (The Age, 23 June), has now at last engaged in a little circumspect distancing from the Tony Abbott article in Quadrant, which was very explicit about the controls envisaged. But that dissociation has been a long time coming, and it remains to be seen whether there will in fact be a change in the Ramsay board's position.  In successive conversations with the Centre, ANU sought public assurances that Ramsay's position had been misstated, and that the University's autonomy in actually implementing agreed objectives would be fully respected.  But no reply we have received has given us any cause to believe that the MOU, with all its over-reach, would be fundamentally revised.  In the result, it was simply impossible on our side to believe that there was sufficient trust and confidence for the project to proceed.
We withdrew from the negotiations for governance reasons of this kind. Boiled down, the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation simply did not trust the ANU to deliver a program acceptable to it, and consequently asked for controls on the University's delivery of the degree that ANU could not - and should not - agree to.  
ANU, accepts gifts from individuals, foundations, groups, entities, government agencies, and foreign governments. In no cases are these gifts allowed to compromise the University's academic integrity, nor are they allowed to impose on our academic freedom, or autonomy. Regarding historical gifts surrounding our Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (CAIS), Australia's leading academic capability in its area, let us be clear: if the Ramsay Centre were to take the same approach to a gift to ANU as the donors to CAIS, we could reach an agreement in less than 48 hours.
The University has never accepted gifts with such restrictions as demanded by Ramsay, and under our watch as Chancellor and Vice Chancellor we never will.
Let us offer this frank assessment as things stand at the moment, as the Ramsay Centre seeks other partners: to succeed, either they will have to change its approach and trust its partners to deliver a program in Western Civilisation studies, or be limited to a university willing to make concessions on academic autonomy. If the Ramsay Centre and its board are prepared to understand and respect the autonomy of Australia's national university, our door remains open.
Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC and Professor Brian Schmidt AC are Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, respectively, of The Australian National University.
 [my yellow highlighting]

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Quotes of the Week

“I once refused to feed a cockatoo that showed up on my third-floor balcony and tapped the window with a distinct air of entitlement. In retaliation it slowly – and with constant eye contact – picked up my shoes one by one and threw them over the edge. Cockatoos are arseholes – HD.” [Guardian Staff at The Guardian, 24 October 2017]

“After losing the prime ministership, Tony Abbott bunkered himself in the prime minister's office for three days and three nights without emerging. To Malcolm Turnbull and his team, increasingly frustrated as they tried to move into the prime ministerial suite and establish an executive government, it was evidence of a mad king who couldn't accept the reality of his downfall.” [Journalist Peter Hartcher writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 October 2017]

“It's not the cost, the annoyance of a byelection, the stupidity of people not knowing their own citizenship status or the uncertainty over who should be in Parliament. In the end, it's the arrogance of our MPs that really gets you. The sheer sense of entitlement that takes your breath away.” [Journalist Judith Ireland writing in The Sydney Morning Herald on the MP dual citizenship issue, 2 November 2017]

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Stop the boats, save the goats!

cartoon of climate change denialist and sacked former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, who on 9 October 2017 told the world: "Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods, we are more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect"

Friday, 20 October 2017

Tony Abbott will never stop until he has destroyed Australia

“the shame and humiliation of losing high office drives him on, with the thinnest of rationalisations for his actions” [Judith Brett]

La Trobe University Emeritus Professor Judith Brett writing in The Monthly, August 2017:
Once again Tony Abbott has wrecked the chances of Australia achieving a bipartisan policy on emissions reduction. When, at the end of 2009, he successfully challenged Malcolm Turnbull for leadership of the Liberal Party, the catalyst was Turnbull’s co-operation with the Rudd government over the introduction of an emissions trading scheme. Winning by one vote, Abbott immediately announced a secret ballot on whether the party should support the Labor government’s legislation. The result, 54 against to 29 for, spelled the end of the Opposition’s co-operation with the government on its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. When the scheme reappeared in 2011 as a price on carbon under Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her climate change minister, Greg Combet, Abbott made this “great big new tax on everything” the centrepiece of his campaign against the government. And when he won the election in 2013 he repealed the legislation.
To be sure, others have also contributed to the long-running disaster of Australia’s climate policies: the Greens under Bob Brown, who, in a fit of self-indulgent high-mindedness, refused to support Labor’s legislation in the Senate; Kevin Rudd, who walked away from the “great moral challenge of our generation” when the going got tough; and Julia Gillard, with her culpable naivety in promising that there would be no carbon tax in a government she led, and then agreeing that the scheme her government introduced could be called a tax. But it has been Abbott’s continuing belligerent prosecution of what shadow environment minister Mark Butler calls in his new book the Climate Wars that has turned going slow on emissions reduction into a Liberal cause. It is Abbott who has given focus and a voice to the motley collection of climate sceptics in the Coalition party room and kept alive the delusion that coal has a viable long-term future. For even if it were not the case that burning coal is contributing to global warming, the rapid development of renewables and their plummeting price would be numbering its days. If one can make energy from the sun, wind and tides, why would anyone bother digging up and transporting coal?
And he is at it again. For a brief moment early in June, the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market, chaired by Australian Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, held out the hope that Australian politics might reach a bipartisan consensus on a scheme to both reduce emissions and increase energy supply, by providing the certainty the private sector needs to invest in new energy generation. Fearing Abbott and his troops, Prime Minister Turnbull had already ruled out an emissions intensity scheme, despite its widespread industry support. Finkel knew he couldn’t consider it, even if it were a better option than the clean energy target he eventually recommended. The clean energy target seemed like clever politics. As it was “technology neutral” it did not explicitly rule out coal. Labor promised to work with the government to hammer out a deal it could live with when it returned to government. Business welcomed the possibility, finally, of a bipartisan agreement that would provide the certainty needed for new investment in energy generation. The Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the Energy Users Association of Australia and energy retailers Origin, AGL and Energy Australia were all on board, and argued that the clean energy target would lower prices for consumers.
Not so, said Abbott, whose special contribution to the debate has been to reduce complicated, technical arguments to simple cut-through slogans with little connection to reality. The clean energy target is a tax on coal, he declared. Since the Finkel review was delivered, Abbott has upped his profile and his attacks on the government. Setting out his conservative manifesto to the Institute of Public Affairs at the end of June, he called for a moratorium on new wind farms, a freeze on the renewable energy target at its current level of 15% and the construction of another “big coal-fired power station”. Contrary to the evidence in the Finkel review and the assertions of the energy providers, Abbott claimed that the renewable energy target was causing people’s power bills to increase by making coal uneconomic, and that if private investors would not build a new coal-fired power station, then the government should step in and make good this market failure “as soon as possible”. Just why this last suggestion is either a liberal or a conservative one is hard to fathom. It sounds much more like an old-fashioned socialist argument for re-nationalisation of the power supply.
But consistency has never been Abbott’s strong point. His major preoccupation has always been product differentiation, drawing up the battlelines between the Liberal Party and its major enemy the Labor Party and winning the fight. From this perspective the main problem with the proposed clean energy target is that it is too similar to Labor’s policy. Abbott believed, he told Paul Kelly in early July, that energy policy was “the best hope for the government to win the next election”. Attacking the big fat carbon tax worked in 2013, so why wouldn’t it work again? Peta Credlin, whom Abbott described as the fiercest political warrior he had ever worked with, has since admitted on Sky News that Labor’s climate change policy was never a carbon tax, but that by pursuing “brutal retail politics” the Coalition made it one in the minds of the electorate, replacing fear for the future of the planet with a fight about the hip pocket.
Read the full article here., 11 October 2017

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Quote of the Month

“Tony Abbott said to me, ‘You know, I went to a Catholic school as a kid but no one did anything to me. Maybe I wasn’t good-looking enough.’ I’m sat there, like, ‘Is he kidding? Is he making light of this issue?’” [Australian actor Chris Hemsworth quoted in GQ Australia, 4 October 2017]

Sacked former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott was in London this month and 'Daring to Doubt'

"Primitive people once killed goats to appease the volcano gods, we are more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the climate gods to little more effect"Liberal MP for Warringah Tony Abbott, 9 October 2017

On 9 October 2017 a former Australian prime minister sacked by his party before he had completed one term in office was speaking at a Global Warming Policy Foundation event held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London.

It appears that Tony Abbott made sure that no journalist from the Australian Broadcasting Commission was present to hear his anti-climate change lecture, “Daring to Doubt”.

One could understand his motive – after none of the venue rooms available can seat more than 210 persons.

Such a small number is hardly a good reason to sock Australian taxpayers for costs associated with this annual lecture – which on past behaviour he is highly likely to attempt.

In the last calendar year Abbott spent $29,444.13 on overseas travel as a backbencher without any additional parliamentary responsibility. He was reimbursed this money by the Dept. of Finance.

Readers should click on the link to the transcript of his ‘lecture’ and enjoy the irony of him of all people telling the British:

“In Australia, we’ve had ten years of disappointing government. It’s not just the churn of prime ministers that now rivals Italy’s, the internal divisions and the policy confusion that followed a quarter century of strong government under Bob Hawke and John Howard. It’s the institutional malaise. We have the world’s most powerful upper house: a Senate where good government can almost never secure a majority. Our businesses campaign for same sex marriage but not for economic reform. Our biggest company, BHP, the world’s premier miner, lives off the coal industry that it now wants to disown. And our oldest university, Sydney, now boasts that its mission is “unlearning”.”

Friday, 13 October 2017

WAKE UP, PRIME MINISTER! A Frustrated Voter Calls on the Australian PM to Redeem Himself

Tony Abbott, in speaking arrant nonsense in the speech he delivered to a collection of climate deniers in the UK recently, has given you a great chance to redeem yourself in relation to climate change action and energy policy.  Abbott has shown how idiotic he is and how indifferent he is to the national interest as well as being totally inconsistent with much of what he espoused when he was Prime Minister.  So why do you keep kowtowing to his silliness and the silliness of his mates?  Why are you reluctant to adopt a clean energy target as recommended by the Chief Scientist? 

You’ve kowtowed to Abbott and his cronies incessantly for months and months – and it’s got you ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE.  They are not going to let up on you – and you’ve lost an enormous amount of public goodwill by your craven behaviour.

It’s time that you took charge and rejected the idiocy of the Liberal and National dinosaurs who want to prevent any more movement towards renewables.  How many of these Abbott-loving clowns are there anyway?  Surely the majority of the Liberal members (If not the Nationals - who are another matter entirely) want to have a bipartisan agreement on climate and energy.  Surely the sensible members of the Government want to give the community and business certainty about the way forward. And surely the more reasonable members of your Government can see that it is IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST TO SECURE A BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT ON THESE IMPORTANT MATTERS.  That is really the only way forward – and it’s what the majority of the community and business want.

If you get a bipartisan agreement with the opposition, it surely won’t matter if Abbott and his dinosaur cronies cross the floor. 

Another matter you should be considering (as I imagine you would be as a politician and a PM in deep trouble) is how history will see you as a leader and your term as PM.  Currently it’s not looking good.

Wake up, Prime Minister, and redeem yourself!

NSW North Coast

GuestSpeak is a feature of North Coast Voices allowing Northern Rivers residents to make satirical or serious comment on issues that concern them. Posts of 250-300 words or less can be submitted to ncvguestspeak AT for consideration. Longer posts will be considered on topical subjects.