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71 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. Paul Norton

    Frist again, at 2:16pm Queensland time in Beaudesert.

  2. Zabeel the Horse

    Dud oi not say thet Fawkner would wun the Caulfield Cup?

  3. Helen

    I should have lustened to you, bro. Or eckted upon it, rather.

  4. Brian of Buderim

    It would be interesting to read what followers of this site have to say about essential qualities of our next Governor-General, including some names to consider and others to reject.
    Can someone take this and run with it, please?

  5. Russell

    Despite the never ending rain, despite my aching back, I forced myself out today to a rally and march (yes, I know, I deserve a medal) in support of native forests. (Are there any left?)

    I only went because invited and because it’s time to point out to the Barnett government that their record on the environment could be better …

    I hoped for a turnout of 20,000 – 30,000, but because of the rain expected 2,000 – 3,000, but what we had was 200 – 300. I asked a friend “where are the young people?”. “Too self-centred” was the reply. But then I suppose they were there in sort of proportion – there are just more of we baby-boomers – not to mention the fact that so many of them have to work casual jobs on Saturdays. Nevertheless, disappointing. Do you actually do your cause more damage by showing how little support it can muster?

  6. Russell

    B of B

    Of course the next GG should be Patrick Dodson.

    Supremely qualified, articulate, dignified – and a unifier.

    Abbott wants to be a PM who achieves something for Indigenous people, and there’s the Catholic thing too. Why not Dodson?

  7. Helen

    Thanks for doing that, Russell.

  8. Russell

    Um, not really earned Helen. I mean I was there – holding a copy of The Red Flag over my head to keep the rain off.

    But when the march turned left into the Hay Street Mall, I turned smartly off to the right and was soon ensconced in the cozy warmth of Jean Pierre Sancho’s coffee shop with a hot chocolate and a cream cake. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.

  9. Fran Barlow

    Russell

    I hoped for a turnout of 20,000 – 30,000, but because of the rain expected 2,000 – 3,000, but what we had was 200 – 300. I asked a friend “where are the young people?”. “Too self-centred” was the reply. But then I suppose they were there in sort of proportion – there are just more of we baby-boomers – not to mention the fact that so many of them have to work casual jobs on Saturdays. Nevertheless, disappointing. Do you actually do your cause more damage by showing how little support it can muster?

    People on the right regularly say that we Greens ought to abandon/de-emphasise social justice and equity issues in favour of focusing more on our ‘core’ issues like trees and conservation. Our failure to do this explains our failure to attract and hold ‘mainstream’ voters.

    Your experience is a reasonable test of this claim.

    More broadly, demonstrations are often useful but as you imply, one should be strategic about holding them. As with any political activity, one must subject demonstrations to basic feasibility criteria. How many will attend? Who will attend? To what extent (if at all) will positive media coverage follow the event? How (if at all) will this demonstration bring us into contact with like-minded people that we haven’t met before or inspire those weakly attached to the aims of the organisations to act effectively and early in concert with us?

    If a demonstration at a given place and time can’t meet at least one of these criteria pretty well, then one would be better considering alternative deployment of one’s available human resources.

  10. Doug Evans

    Russell
    You’ve got me onto my hobby horse. For years I’ve attended well advertised, well organised climate change related rallies here in Melbourne which increasingly attracted 200 or 300 largely familiar activist faces. Two or three years back a rapidly organised Facebook campaign over not more than a week pulled thousands of young hipsters onto the streets to demonstrate in favor of the retention of a well known Live music venue. What is going on here?

    The other night I attended a Forum where the chair Robert Manne in his summing up comments lamented the broad public passivity with which the climate crisis is received. With a shrug and a collective ‘whatever’ the Australian public has apparently given up on climate change, elected a denialist government without a believable climate change policy and handed the balance of power to a billionaire whose wealth is entirely predicated on the continued destruction of our future environmental well-being. I don’t understand it but speculate that we are seeing the result of a complete failure of political leadership.

    With both major parties so far held on a tight leash by the mining and power lobbies and a consequent failure to address climate change effectively in their policies I think Australians have decided ‘Oh well if they can’t work it out we certainly can’t’ and have simply taken it off their personal radars. I think the fundamental reason is that the general public is simply not yet scared enough to demand change. The trouble is that by the time the penny finally drops it will probably be too late.

    Massive bushfires and floods are ‘teachable’ moments at which the point can be driven home but when Adam Bandt (and before him Bob Brown) drew the link between extreme weather, climate change and government policy that is/was declared to be simply beyond the pale, a crass insensitive attempt to parlay personal tragedy into political advantage. ‘Now is not the time’ they are warned by the conservative ‘Laboral’ gate keepers of public decency a sentiment predictably echoed by both Fairfax and Murdoch media. Thus time passes and the climate kettle continues to come to the boil. I despair.

    Fran Barlow
    “People on the right regularly say that we Greens ought to abandon/de-emphasise social justice and equity issues in favour of focusing more on our ‘core’ issues like trees and conservation. Our failure to do this explains our failure to attract and hold ‘mainstream’ voters.”

    Are these the same people on the right who used to accuse the Greens of not being a real political party because of the narrowness of their focus on environmental issues? Is it not just a case of grabbing whatever stick is at hand to beat the accursed Greens with?

  11. Salient Green

    Fran thinks “Your experience is a reasonable test of this claim.”
    Howls of derisive laughter. Did he not mention the continuous rain? and then there’s his expectations, highly suspect going on past form, horrible rainy day too apparently, and it was a Saturday while SA’s Walk for nature is today, and who organised it, was it publicised widely, especially on social media? Lots of rain too I heard.
    Then we need to look at your highly iffy premise. “people on the right” ? “abandon social justice”? “core issues like trees and conversation”?
    All three statements are designed to belittle Ecological Sustainability.
    There are many more people from the left, including Greens, who say we should re-emphasise ecological sustainability as front and centre of our policies. I haven’t heard anyone, left or right, say the Greens should abandon social policies.

  12. Helen

    Any horsey people in NSW reading this blog?

    If there is anyone in the Blue Mountains particularly, who needs to evacuate horses, I have 10 free paddocks and 6 spare boxes here at Theresa Park. The situation is becoming desperate in that area and I would ask that you don’t leave things to the last minute. Could all my Facebook friends please start networking this message. xoxo

    https://www.facebook.com/michelle.johnston.12764/posts/10201200702633976

  13. Malcolm

    I believe Christopher Pyne stated before the last election that the next G-G would be Peter Cosgrove.

    Of course we don’t know whether that was a core promise or a non-core promise. Maybe they’ll surprise us -unpleasantly -and name John Howard as the next Governor-General.

  14. paul burns

    I think John Howard is making too much money on the US lecture circuit advising the Tea Party on how to destroy the Democrats. 🙂

  15. Fran Barlow

    Doug Evans

    [Are these the same people on the right who used to accuse the Greens of not being a real political party because of the narrowness of their focus on environmental issues? ]

    Mostly, yes, in my experience.

    [Is it not just a case of grabbing whatever stick is at hand to beat the accursed Greens with?]

    Often, though I suspect our advocacy on other matters is seen as encroachment on ALP turf.

  16. Liz

    Congratulations to Paul Norton and me for backing Fawkner in the Caulfield Cup. $9.90 the win, thank you very much.

  17. paul burns

    Shorten has now joined the ranks of those who believe now is not the time to talk about bushfires in NSW being caused by global warming, because someone has died. With all due respect to the dead, if not now, when, Bill?
    At least we know now what kind of Labor leadership we have in the Federal ALP. The usual jelly-backed kind we’ve always had.

  18. Su

    The ocean is broken

    “In years gone by I’d gotten used to all the birds and their noises,” he said.

    “They’d be following the boat, sometimes resting on the mast before taking off again. You’d see flocks of them wheeling over the surface of the sea in the distance, feeding on pilchards.”

    But in March and April this year, only silence and desolation surrounded his boat, Funnel Web, as it sped across the surface of a haunted ocean…

    “After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.

    “We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.

    “I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.”

    In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.

  19. GregM

    At least we know now what kind of Labor leadership we have in the Federal ALP. The usual jelly-backed kind we’ve always had.

    Paul, during the Beaconsfield mine disaster in 2006 Bill Shorten as AWU National Secretary made a point of not indulging in criticism of the mine’s management while the rescue operation was under way. He felt that it was more important to deal with the emergency and to rescue the trapped miners first and then, after that was achieved, to go into how and why the disaster occurred.

    I don’t think that was jelly-backed and I don’t think that was a bad call. I think it is about having a sense of priorities and of proportion. He wants those who are involved in meeting the emergency to be fully supported while they are doing so and not to be distracted by matters, the how and the why, that can be better addressed later, which is when they should be addressed.

    That is not being jelly-backed. That is responsible leadership.

  20. GregM

    Su @18 thank you for sharing that article. It is a tragedy.

  21. Fran Barlow

    GregM

    He wants those who are involved in meeting the emergency to be fully supported while they are doing so and not to be distracted by matters, the how and the why, that can be better addressed later, which is when they should be addressed.

    I find this implausible. No discussion of the causality of bushfires in public space has the slightest possibility of distracting emergency workers doing their jobs, nor is there any suggestion that concern over climate change is in any sense subversive of the support people extend to emergency workers. This is a faux problem. Like most everyone else, emergency workers can walk and talk and chew gum at the same time.

    I note however that the story about known arsonists being kept under watch by the police until the end of summer (why until then? The fire season could still be going in April) and their links to firefighters does have the capacity to distract emergency service workers in the way you suggest, but yet, that story has gone ahead and I’m yet to hear anyone criticise that. Perhaps they thought that story was too important to sit on?

    And what about the story about the possible link between the army using explosives and the State Mine fire? That sounds very potentially distracting, but again, we are getting that.

    I find the ‘now is not the time’ talk utterly vapid and the defences of that claim, in many cases disingenuous and self-serving when they aren’t simply naive.

  22. paul burns

    What Fran said.

  23. paul burns

    Also, if the boot had been on the other foot, with an opportunity like this Abbott would have been merciless. Labor needs to never give Abbott an inch the way he never gave them an inch. Otherwise he’ll wipe the floor with them. The time for niceness and politeness is over.

  24. Paul Norton

    Liz @16:

    Congratulations to Paul Norton and me for backing Fawkner in the Caulfield Cup. $9.90 the win, thank you very much.

    $12.10 the win in Queensland. 🙂

  25. Liz

    Much better price, Paul.

  26. jules

    Bloody hell Zabeel – I almost backed your granson on your advise. But the nearest TAB is miles away, and it wasn’t a high priority.

    If people are criticising Brandt for mentioning climate change and the fires what about the rabid loons who keep on blaming the greens for lack of burning off? Like the idiot mayor of Port Stephens, who needs a good smack in the face.

  27. Paul Norton

    Jules @26, quite so. I well recall the first time this trope about “TEH GREENIES oppose burning off!” surfaced – it was the time of the NSW bushfires of the summer of 1993-94, and we had the Murdoch press quoting, among others, a used car dealer in Grafton as an authority on fire hazard reduction and the supposed views of the environmental movement.

    The whole business was particularly galling for me because I had spent the first few months of 1993 helping to write a policy for controlled hazard reduction burning for my university campus after it had experienced a fire disaster in November 1992, and helping students and staff who had lost their vehicles and other property in the fire, and so I knew more than most people about the actual views of environmentalists and environmental scientists on the issue.

  28. Salient Green

    Su, thanks for that link. Planet Earth is gonna thump us humans so hard.

  29. jules

    I dunno if thanks is the right word Su.

    It just made me feel a little sick.

    Same with getting yachties to help monitor the situation is of any use.

    Maybe we need yacht “races” that are won by picking up the most debris or something … but the problem with plastic is so much worse than rubbish and the ocean is so big and chock full of it.

    I’ll definitely be sharing it with people tho.

    Cheers.

  30. adrian

    At least we know now what kind of Labor leadership we have in the Federal ALP. The usual jelly-backed kind we’ve always had.

    Yes, they just don’t get it for some reason. Still playing by the opponent’s rules that they long ago discard.
    Still always on the defensive.
    Still the same stupid ALP.

  31. Patrickb

    @23,
    Indeed Paul, one wonders were the ALP are on the current Manus Island debacle.? A golden opportunity to give the excrable Morrison a kicking goes begging. Instead we have Burke (by name and by nature) chastising Bandt. What a collection of shit for brains time wasters. And I voted for them. In fact they should let Lannie loose, that would have the LNP donning the brown trousers.

  32. Helen

    I find this implausible. No discussion of the causality of bushfires in public space has the slightest possibility of distracting emergency workers doing their jobs, nor is there any suggestion that concern over climate change is in any sense subversive of the support people extend to emergency workers. This is a faux problem.

    Of course it’s a faux problem; and I’m not surprised that Shorten has had a go too. Both the LNP and the ALP alike are concerned to punch the Greens, so.

    But apparently it’s not at all a distraction for Abbott to run around conspicuously “helping” with back burning while updating his Facebook page with pictures of himself looking blissfully happy in firie gear. Nothing to do with constructing an image of himself, oh dearie me my goodness no.

  33. paul burns

    On his first day on fire-fighting duty Abbott was kept in the truck all day with no picture opportunities. Apparently he got the shits mightily.
    I read that somewhere a few days ago but have lost the link.

  34. Helen

    …Oh, AND… at the same time, working to reduce the scope of eligibility for bushfire compensation. Imagine the shit ton of abuse which would fall on a labor government doing that. As it is, crickets appear to be chirping at the SMH, unless my search fu is off.

  35. jules
  36. David Irving (no relation)

    There’s a surprise, pb @ 33. Our Tony obviously hasn’t realised yet that hanging around with genuinely manly men (firefighters, soldiers, constuction workers, etc) won’t help – the manliness isn’t contagious.

  37. Rococo Liberal

    The problem of course is that man-made climate change has nothing to do with the bushfires.

  38. paul burns
  39. paul burns
  40. Andrew Wilson

    I’m a little surprised that nobody writing or commenting on this blog has raised the issue of the really medieval legislation recently passed in Queensland and the manner in which it was passed without consideration in committee. Newman’s justification for letting politicians decide on jail terms for not just bikies but anyone who associates with anyone else when a crime occurs, is that it needed to be done ‘quickly’. Its worse than anyone could have imagined. See for example: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-medieval-in-its-legislative-agenda-20131016-2vmqc.html

  41. paul burns

    Wow! 7.30 grew a spine. An item proving the current bushfires in NSW are a product of global warming; and then Annabelle Crabb sools into Barry O’Farrell about closing down in-house government climate change research. Then she has a gentle dig on Abbott as firefighter. Now is this just Annabelle Crabb or is it the ABC finally, after weeks and weeks, or years and years, having a flush of courage?

  42. zorronsky

    @37
    What part of the science indicating that Global Warming is/will be responsible for more “extreme weather events” don’t you understand?
    Would you like to point out where major fire threat conditions have previously occurred during the first month of Spring.
    The last decade has seen three major fires during extreme weather events in 2002-3, 2006-7 and 2009. here in Victoria. Compare that with the three years in the 20th Century 1939, 1944 and Ash Wednesday in 1983.
    And in the 19th Century just two years 1851 and 1898.
    So these types of events that occurred at 50 year reducing to 40 year intervals for two centuries, are now occurring multiple times a decade.
    This while record high temperatures are being set each year.

  43. zorronsky

    Paul @ 38
    Rupert Darwall is a Freedomworks Foundation member! As a critic comments ” Evidence-free, easy to digest, and containing all the right vegetables and minerals to continue a responsibility-free existence. Sometimes, though, science is right.”
    I see they’ve thrown Ayn Rand in with the Founding Fathers too!

  44. jules

    Andrew Wilson, there’s heaps of stupid legislation in Qld at the moment but this blog seems to have missed it.

    BTW – Just heard Shane Fitzsimmons say hazard reduction in the Blue mountains over the last 10 years has made it harder to light back burns and interfered with fire fighting operations!!!

    Thats a different take on it.

  45. paul burns

    On me @ 38,
    Oh, shit. My bad.
    Thanks, Zorronsky. My fault for not reading the review right through.

  46. Fran Barlow

    Rococo Liberal

    The problem of course is that man-made climate change has nothing to do with the bushfires.

    Only one line and it’s palpably ridiculous. How embarrassing for you.

  47. adrian

    Good to see these refugees from Catallaxy giving us the benefit of their wisdom gathered over years on a keyboard.

  48. zorronsky

    I must admit I thought Rococo Liberal was an NdP for pretend Lib sprukes thus: But I thought I’d comment anyway. Still not sure..baroque?

  49. David Irving (no relation)

    I think Rococo, zorronsky – covered in tasteless bling with no depth or subtlety.

  50. Doug Evans

    Paul [email protected]
    It’s just Annabel. What a refreshing change she is to the often snarky and never impartial Leigh Sales. Is she staying on 7.30? It wpould be a great improvement.

  51. dylwah
  52. paul burns

    Hope Annabell Crabb does stay on 7.30. She’s keeping up her take no prisoners interview style.

    Watched World War Z last night. Ho-hum. Apart from the fall of Jerusalem, and I don’t even want to think about all the allegorical interpretations one can draw from that, it was decidedly dull. Certainly failed the Burns Scary Movie Test (you turn off the movie before it finishes) but then again only 3 movies have ever passed it – Night of the Hunter, Cujo, and Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake.
    And I’ve watched an awful lot of scary movies.

  53. Ronson Dalby

    What a brilliant series ‘Top of the Lake’ is, Paul.

  54. Ronson Dalby

    By the way, Paul, are you referring to the Robert Mitchum version of ‘The Night of the Hunter’?

  55. Katz

    Rococo Liberal

    The problem of course is that man-made climate change has nothing to do with the bushfires.

    Just keep smoking those non-carcinogenic ciggies, Roco.

  56. paul burns

    Ronson Dalby,
    Yes, the Robert Mitchum one. Didn’t know there was another.

  57. paul burns

    Agree about Top of the Lake, RD. But about a quarter of the way or half way through the second last episode, when the womens’ commune turn up in a canoe fleet on the lake at the same time as the drug-dealers are heading in the same direction and same place on motor bikes it just got too much for me. I don’t know what happened after that and I don’t think I really want to know. Far far too scary.

  58. Debbieanne

    Thanks [email protected] that was a great read. I really enjoy reading Russel Brand. Always interesting.

  59. dylwah

    Your welcome Debbieanne.

    Night of the Hunter, top movie well ‘re omen dead’ (there is one for the autocorrect, that was supposed to be ‘recommended’ ) for any Buffy fans. thx for the reminder Paul and ronsondalby

  60. Fran Barlow

    Putting on regulatory-fiat hat …

    Given the new anti-explicit carbon price sentiment in Federal Parliament, I’ve been reflecting on the ways in which regulatory means could be strenthened to promote abatement and taking into consideration the denier focus on what they call ‘real pollution’ I have a suggestion.

    Should we not press each of the states to reduce sharply the permissible quantity of emissions from the exhausts of private passenger vehicles registered for at least 10 years? These measures could for example, cut the allowable quantity of CO2 and NOx and other particulates/VOCs emitted from the current mean for 1.6l vehicles per km of operation in urban traffic by 50% by January 1 2016 and by 90% by 2020.

    For the purpose of assessment, each vehicle presented for registration after January 1 2016 that had been registered for a cumulative 10 years would have to have had its exhausts tested by the RTA (or equivalent in each state) over not less than 25 km in urban traffic prior to reregistration. Vehicles that failed to meet the standard would attract a progressively higher registration fee and registering parties would also have to lodge, in advance, a conditionally-refundable deposit covering the likely excess emissions before the next registration period, based on their last two years of driving or if they had not driven for at least 2 years, a figure typical for people driving vehicles of that type living at their postcode. If they did fewer kilometers than that, the balance would be applied to their next registration charge or deposit. If they ceased to have a motor vehicle, then the balance, if any, would be rebated.

    In addition, vehicles purchased new after January 1 2016 would also have to comply with the prevailing standard.

    Disclosure: I have such 1.8l car and hubby has a 1.6l car both of which would be subject under my proposal

    I imagine that this would produce a number of consequences.

    1. A good many people would dispose of their older cars.
    2. Based on #1, the cost of cars 10 years or older would decline sharply
    3. A lot more car parts for cars nearly ten years old, or older, would become available.
    4. Businesses based on maintaining older cars and getting them compliant, would arise. Conversions to hybrid-electric or PEVs would become commonplace. In short, this would be a shot in the arm for engineering in this country. In many cases, people would convert directly to the 2020 standard, avoiding a second compliance round.
    5. More people would want solar panels so as to charge their now at least partially electric cars. In addition, the infrastructure to support fast charging of vehicles would expand rapidly.
    6. Many more people would avoid using their cars frivolously in the two years up to 1/1/2016 (in order to reduce their exposure to the deposit). There would be a lot more bike-riding and walking and use of public transport.
    7. Sales of new vehicles after 1/1/2016 would fall very sharply since hardly any of them (apart from the smaller HEVs/PEVs would comply.
    8. The cut in road contention would mean that all ICE-vehicles (including heavy commercial vehicles) would operate more fuel-efficiently and produce less pollution from their tailpipes.
    9. Urban air quality would improve and transport-related emissions would decline.
    10. The respiratory health of the population, especially in urban areas, would improve.

    If fewer vehicles were imported and fewer new vehicles were built, then the average embedded carbon footprint of vehicles on our roads would decline. Also, fewer vehicles means fewer collisions so we ought to see a decline in vehicle insurance claims (and thus costs to the insured) and a reduction in road trauma.

    In short, this ought to meet easily a ‘no regrets’ policy. It has no obvious impact on Australia’s trading position and would probably shift the balance on fuel and vehicle imports in Australia’s favour. It would almost certainly foster local employment amongst those with engineering skills or in warehousing, and generate some revenue for state governments (while cutting road maintenance costs), which could be put, in theory at least, into more public transport and urban consolidation.

    Putting aside the improbability of our state governments acting in concert in this way, are there any sound objections to this?

  61. Salient Green

    dylwah, thanks so much for that link. I am still working my way through it as I am astonished by his cleverness and have to keep re-reading bits.
    My previous opinion of him was that he was a bit of a shallow numpty who wasn’t even very funny. That’s certainly changed.
    Coincidently my daughter posted an interview on facebook of the same general subject matter.
    http://gawker.com/russell-brand-may-have-started-a-revolution-last-night-1451318185

  62. zorronsky

    ” If we can engage with that feeling instead of some lachrymose sentimentality for people to pour over some emotional porn…”
    Clicks my buttons too..

  63. Fran Barlow

    Zorronsky …

    that would be

    pore over some emotional porn

  64. Fran Barlow

    And yes, I liked Brand’s passion, though here and there, I’d have phrased his defences differently. I’m not sure for example, that apathy and indifference are far enough apart.

    Disgust, anger or outrage would all have better conveyed his sentiment in relation to declining to vote and thus endorse the system.

  65. Linda

    Russell Brand is a promoter of sexism (and therefore the status quo) and a total douche canoe.

  66. Fran Barlow

    David [email protected]
    Too good: Tony Abbott inadvertently makes the case for a link between the bush fires & #climate change! pic.twitter.com/eYkATb60NQ via @Jo_MacD

  67. zorronsky

    Thanks Fran, yet another phonetic trap! Not sure I totally agree Linda as I have enjoyed his acting and have no idea of his beliefs in that regard.

  68. GregM

    Zorronsky …

    that would be

    pore over some emotional porn

    Or could it be paw over some emotional porn?

    The possibilities of the English language are great indeed.

  69. zorronsky

    Four pours, what a dog!

  70. zorronsky

    Whoops the plural gives cause for pause.

  71. Russell