That’s Not Cricket
I find it surprising that, so far, only three players have acknowledged involvement in the scrabbling (worse than “tampering”) of the ball in the last South African test match. Any of the Australian bowlers who used the scrabbled ball would surely have immediately realised that they were handling a ball that had been scrabbled. At his (incomplete) press conference, David Warner refused to answer questions about whether other players were involved. Darren Lehmann’s decision to resign without holding a press conference meant he did not have any questions posed but he should have known if some form of forbidden activity was being used. The same applies to the CEO of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, who, even if he was told there were only three scrabblers, should have left the question open.
As to the punishment, Smith’s acknowledgement at a press conference that it involved a failure of his leadership was appropriate and he appeared (on this occasion) to accept his demotion as Captain (and Vice) and his no-play of international/national cricket for a year (as has Warner). Some media commentators are suggesting that is enough. That is the flavour of yesterday’s editorial in Weekend Australian which quotes the International Cricket Council’s worrying one match pause only (see OZ on Cricket). Andrew Bolt says the offenders only made “a severe error of judgement” and claims that ball scrabbling has been made in the past by other very senior players who have been charged. If that is the case (and, presumably, they would have been let off with only a limited punishment because the were regarded as “too important for the game”) it is surely not a good reason for limiting the charge now. Yet Bolt concludes that Smith should not be too harshly punished (see Bolt on Cricket).
In fact, offences in the past with little punishment are arguably a good reason for making an example of Smith and the other two now. I would think a three year playing suspension from international/national cricket. To do otherwise opens a real possibility that it will happen again, or to put it another way, that there is a class of player who can get away with a serious offence and are likely to do so when the opportunity arises. The minimal punishments made in the AFL illustrates this.
Also, no direct financial penalty has been imposed by Cricket Australia on the three players. Of course those punished so far will lose financially by their demotions and withdrawal of sponsors. But a sizeable direct charge would seem appropriate particularly given the large sums such players have already received and the possibility that they would have won money by disguised betting on the result of the Ashes.
30 Newspoll Trauma
That the next Newspoll will be the 30th raises the question of whether Turnbull will just dismiss it or simply repeat his “jobs and growth” story. I am assuming that it will be next Monday and will show no substantive improvement (note however that the last Morgan Poll shows an improved Coalition’s TPP at 49/51 –see Ed Shann on Morgan Poll – whereas the last Newspoll showed 47/53 ). In Weekend Australian, Chris Kenny assumes no improvement and argues that, to have any chance at winning the election, Turnbull has to make major changes, including persuading Abbott to become a member of Cabinet (see Kenny on Turnbull 30 Newspoll Trauma). He also advocates changes in energy policy by Turnbull, including changes I have been advocating such as making “it clear he would rather not meet those emissions reduction targets than jeopardise our electricity affordability and reliability”. How obvious a policy.
Kenny also rightly argues that Turnbull should adopt a “more conservative stance on immigration, injecting some nuance into a polarised debate while recognising some of the strains and acting to address them. He should ease back on numbers, act on integration difficulties and do more to spread the burdens and benefits around the nation”. Abbott has of course already advocated a major cut.
John Stone has also responded to Greg Sheridan’s surprising critique in last Saturday’s Weekend Australian on the supposed “decisive turn by conservatives and some of their icons against a substantial immigration program”. “Destroying our immigration program”, he said, “would be a step … to national suicide”. Stone rightly rejects the“destruction”image of conservatives and concludes that, while “ Sheridan is right in saying that Australians have always understood … that population and immigration are matters of national security”, he fails to face up to the criticisms of the program inherent in the two words “culture” and “compatibility” (see Stone on Sheridan which was published in The Spectator after being rejected by The Australian failing to find room).
The centre piece of Turnbull’s energy policy is the National Energy Guarantee (NEG). Last weekend Environment and Energy Minister Frydenberg had an article covering this and related matters and I have attempted unsuccessfully to have some views on it published. Attached is a copy of the last letter I submitted (Turnbull Energy Policy). This includes a question as to how much usage of coal will be part of NEG and whether there will be a guarantee (both Turnbull and Frydenberg have said there will be a place for coal). The so-called experts constructing NEG promised to have details of the scheme some months ago, but nothing definitive has appeared.
Meantime, sceptic expert Alan Moran has published various analyses which suggest that there appears to be no threat of dangerous global warming. These include the absence of any significant increase in European temperatures since 500 BC and the conclusion by three expert US climate scientists that “… the historical and geological record suggests recent changes in the climate over the past century are within the bounds of natural variability” and“projections of future climate and weather events rely on models demonstrably unfit for the purpose. As a result, rising levels of CO2 do not obviously pose an immediate, let alone imminent, threat to the earth’s climate.”The analyses by these scientists have been used as part of their defence by large oil companies who have been taken to court by believers in GW at Oakland, San Francisco, et al.
These and other (Australian) expert climate scientists would provide useful analyses for a report commissioned by the Federal or State governments here on possible policy changes.