It is not clear whether or not Senator Anning’s attendance at a small St Kilda protest rally was intended to stir public discussion and comments from Morrison and Shorten. But this has happened and some points made in my Commentary on Monday have also been reflected in that discussion. Importantly, The Australian has published a number of letters (see OZ Letters on “Far-Right”), including my own as what is sometimes called the lead letter
Yesterday’s meeting of COAG confirm that discussions of energy policy between federal and state minister have reached the point when people do or say things that are not sensible or serious ie the silly season has arrived (it appears that the only area of agreement was in regard to retail reliability!). The Liberal Energy Minister in NSW, Don Harwin, who somehow acquired a BEc(Hons), advised COAG to aim for zero carbon emissions by 2050 even though his website says “coal will remain a vital source of energy”. To put it mildly, these two propositions conflict and Harwin was not even allowed to put a motion to the meeting.
It was great to discover at last Wednesday’s Christmas drinks at Treasury (in Canberra) a number of “oldies” who said they were enjoying my Commentary and in particular the scepticism about the dangerous warming nonsense. While I resigned from Treasury in 1987 I later hoped that, with the danger thesis becoming more widely reflected in government policy both here and overseas, Treasury would publish analyses as John Stone and others had done on various controversial economic subjects during my time there. In fact, I edited a couple including one on the New International Economic Order(NIEO), which had an aim similar to one adopted by believers in the dangerous warming theme viz “save” developing countries by providing squillions of aid which would allow them to substitute costly fuel sources for cheaper fossil fuels.
My Commentary of 5 June suggested that the ANU should explain if programs funded by Arab money are free from attempts to persuade students of the benefits in the Koran. It appears that so far there has been no such explanation and Vice-Chancellor Schmidt has refused to interview The Australian’s rep (see ANU’s Program on Arab/Islamic Studies). However, according to The Australian report, the ANU’s Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies “has been at the forefront of contentious discussions around Middle Eastern politics and society with minimal backlash from its academics” and has received “sizeable donations from the United Arab Emirates and the governments of Iran and Turkey, frequently publishes articles supportive of a Palestine state and Iran, hosts lectures on ‘deconstructing the extremist narrative’ and ‘Islamophobia in post-communist Europe’, and has featured guest speakers who are critical of US policy”.
Turnbull’s further shift to the left (where is the middle now?) didn’t get any substantive support from the latest Newspoll, with the TPP percentages (47/53) unchanged. Some say that there was no budget “bounce” but the fact that it didn’t rise one bit sends a bad message on both the budget and Turnbull’s leadership even though his satisfaction ratio rose very slightly (so did Shorten’s). One commentator said that “the trend is set and it favours Shorten”.
It is always difficult to interpret meetings between two leaders of countries and many words have been written about Malcolm Turnbull’s meeting with President Trump. In this instance the interpretation is made more difficult than usual because most of the meeting was in public and the two leaders were not inclined to be critical of each other. Perhaps the most important outcome (sic) is that it confirmed the importance for Australia of the US alliance. That Turnbull showed he could handle Trump should ceteris paribus also help his polling.