On the subject of...

Climate Change

8
May
2019

Robin Hood & Costs of Inaction

Part of my upbringing involved learning nursery rhymes one of which covered the life of Robin Hood. In those days Robin Hood was portrayed, at least to me, as an outlaw who lived in the forest and whose income came either from the proceeds of his attacks on the local town or from those passing through the forest. But he was portrayed as a hero because he (supposedly) gave the proceeds to the poor. It was only later that I realized that RH’s “fair go” came from failing to allow the local sheriff from observing the law and protecting those who maintained it.
25
Apr
2019

Uncertainty in Labor’s Policies; Islamic Threat

Today’s Australian has published considerable material on the failure of Labor to clearly enunciate its policies. I have previously drawn particular attention to Labor’s failure to publish aggregates alternative to those in the Coalition’s budget and to costings for the economy of its global warming policy. This defect remains. But the recent emergence of many questions about Labor’s policies on specific policy issues has opened the way for much wider challenges to be made. The opening up of this area should also allow Morrison to reduce his announcements of funding small projects, which appear too much as vote buying, and focus more on attacking Shorten. It has also led The Australian to inter alia run the main letters column today with the heading Uncertainty Surrounds Labor’s Announced Policies. I was fortunate in having my epistle included as “lead letter”
3
Apr
2019

Commonwealth Budget 2019/20

Today’s Media has included many comments on the Morrison Government’s Budget for 2019-20 as well as estimates of revenue and expenditure for the following three years. These include a large number of decisions and it would not be appropriate here to examine them in any detail: indeed I challenge anyone to examine what one journalist described as “a budget speech littered with references to plumbers, couriers, cranes, hard hats, teachers, tradies and nurses”. My general conclusion on the speech I watched on TV was that it did not impress most on the Coalition benches and some of those there tended to drop off and, after a time, showed little encouragement as Frydenberg continued well after the half-hour finishing time allocated to budget speeches. In consequence, what my comments below mainly relate to are the totals of revenue, expenditure and what is commonly treated as the deficit or surplus for the four years.
22
Mar
2019

How to Solve the Dangerous Warming Threat

I am presenting a Commentary which has no attachments because their inclusion would make it difficult to circulate the Commentary with the attachments and because I can send an attachment to those who wish to see it. The whole Commentary with attachments will also be in my web site. When controversial policy issues come under discussion in the public arena, there are often weird suggestions proposing government action. And the media publicises a supposed issue to give the impression that ““something needs to be done”. Take for example the idea that action to solve the dangerous warming threat might come if school children miss school one day and parade down the streets all over the country (and in other countries too) with placards instructing our elected politicians that urgent action is required. This is just what has happened. But has this publicity simply led to the school children going back to school and are people a bit tired of being told that much quoted models “prove” that climate change action is needed by government? Do such models actually so prove.
14
Mar
2019

RBA Publishes Surprise Pre-election Analysis Of CC

I was surprised yesterday to see a report on a speech made by the RBA’s Dep Gov, Guy Debelle, on climate change and the possible implications for the economy and monetary policy. I judged that, with just a few weeks until the election, it would be wrong to publish an analysis on how to treat changes in climate when that subject is probably the most controversial between the political parties. Statements by government bodies which can influence attitudes, add to the controversy and possibly favour one party, should not be made at this time. This generally accepted rule applies to the Reserve Bank notwithstanding its claim to be “independent” and the more so as Debelle claims climate change influences monetary policy.
1
Mar
2019

Coalition Remains in Serious Trouble

Due to a major technical problem which put my computer out of action for two days (possibly caused by a hacker I was advised) I am now in a catch-up position in regard to circumstances where numerous pre-election statements have been floated around by both major sides of politics. It has almost seemed like a new policy per day, which seems unlikely to have attracted votes because of the limited attention by the Coalition to explaining benefits. One commentator even described Morrison as a Muppet and, despite his increased media appearance, it is difficult to see a closing of the polling gap next time.
16
Feb
2019

Minority Govt Problems; Over-rule Qld Labor’s Refusal on Adani Coal Mine

In yesterday’s Commentary I drew attention to Labor’s success in forcing legislation through Parliament which allowed asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to “doctor” themselves to Australia for treatment without ministerial approval (except for security reasons). I added that “it also remains to be seen how long he can run a minority government where there is an opposition which is able to force legislation right through Parliament and effectively change the Coalition’s policies on other matters too” . I added that “there has already been a (failed) attempt today to establish a Royal Commission on some failure of access to disabilities and there will inevitably be a debate on aspects of the budget set to be presented in early April. That would provide Labor/Greens with opportunities to have amendments to the budget passed through Parliament not by the Coalition but by the Opposition”. Some recipients of Commentary indicated that they did not understand my analysis and in particular my (and others) view that an early election might be called. Today we have an illustration of what I meant.
14
Feb
2019

Border Controls; Early Election Now Likely

On Tuesday I referred to Andrew Bolt’s suggestion on Sky News that the decision by Labor to push legislation through the lower House allowing asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to “doctor” themselves to Australia for treatment without ministerial approval and, by obtaining court approval, to then “recuperate” here for a indefinite period. With the support of the Greens et al, this legislation has now passed the Senate too but, despite his strong attack on Shorten and accusation that he has broken what had seemed a bipartisan agreement on border control, Morrison has said that he will not call an early election. Even so, Bolt tonight again repeated on Sky News his advocacy of an early election by taking advantage of the policy windfall provided by Labor.
31
Jan
2019

Can Electricity Prices be Reduced?

The improvement in the Coalition’s Newspoll on 29 January (still down at 47/53 TPP) has almost been forgotten and questions continue as to whether Morrison is able to address the “two big things” (quit Paris accord and slash immigration) needed to give the Coalition a chance. The need for quitting the Paris accord has been enhanced by what has happened under heat waves in Victoria, South Australia and now NSW.
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