Lake Eyre, SA as seen from space and posted a Wired Science.
Truly amazing country.
If the somewhat partisan Townsville Bulletin commentator Malcolm Weatherup is to be believed, aspirants for Labor preselection in Townsville-based Herbert are 2007 candidate George Colbran, former mayor and Mundingburra by-election veteran Tony Mooney …, Townsville city councillor Jenny Hill and James Cook University psychology student Primus Innes Parker.The interesting thing about Weatherup’s piece is the apparent appearance of Primus Parker in the contest for ALP preselection for Herbert. While I suspect that his chances are slim to non-existent, the interesting question is whether his candidature (if it comes to pass) is an attempt to split the vote in a local plebiscite and, if it is, which of the three main contenders would benefit? My guess is Mooney.
And this is what most older observers seem to refuse to understand: The world looks dramatically different if the year 2050 is one you’re likely to be alive to see. To younger people, Copenhagen isn’t some do-gooder meeting; it’s the first major battle in a war for the future.
Their future. I’m in my middle years, in between the two groups, yet even I can see that this war is about to get a lot more heated—far more heated than anything we’ve seen in half a century. To younger people, this isn’t just policy, it’s personal.
You wouldn’t think a war could start over such simple ideas.
To be young and aware is to see old people—from the U.S. Senate to Wall Street, from newspaper editorial desks to corporate boardrooms—stalling action on every front, spouting platitudes about “balance,” committing themselves wholeheartedly to actions to be undertaken long after they’ve retired and died. To be told that the world’s scientists are participating in a giant hoax; to be chided for not understanding how the real world works; to be warned that doing the right thing will bankrupt us; to be told that not wanting to melt the ice caps and circle the equator in deserts makes you too radical to take seriously.
To be young and aware is to know you’re being lied to; to know that a bright green future is possible; to know that we can reimagine the world, rebuild our cities, redesign our lives, retool our factories, distribute innovation and creativity and all live in a world that is not only better than the alternative, but much better than the world we have now.
To be young and aware is to suspect that, in the end, the debate about climate action isn’t about substance, but about rich old men trying to squeeze every last dollar, euro, and yen from their investments in outdated industries. It is to agree with the environmentalist Paul Hawken that we have an economy that steals the future, sells it in the present, and calls it GDP. It is to begin to see your elders as cannibals with golf clubs.
Myself, I worry: not that the young grow radical—hell, if I were 10 years younger, I’d be on the barricades myself—but that they grow despondent. Because what the world needs now, more than ever, is what the young have always given most: their optimism.
So if nothing else happens in Copenhagen, I pray that all of us who have years and a voice and a conscience will say at least this to the world’s youth: Your fight is ours, too. Don’t give upIt brings a tear to the eye of an old radical yoof.
We cannot ‘save’ the planet. Only God can. This world will not be wiped out until Christ returns.So it’s ok folks - we don't have to do anything! Scary.
The accidental leader: how Abbott won
The Liberal Party shocked itself when it elected Tony Abbott as leader this week.
The man who had masterminded the coup to destroy Malcolm Turnbull was Nick Minchin, the godfather of the Liberals’ conservative wing.
As soon as the results were announced – Hockey was eliminated in the first round of voting, and the final ballot was won by Abbott over Turnbull by a single vote – Minchin walked across to a shocked Joe Hockey.
They had not even left the party room. Astonished members were milling about. A gang of reporters was waiting outside. ‘‘If I’d known how it was going to go,’’ Minchin told him, ‘‘I would have slung you another 10 votes.’’
Minchin was in partly in jest. He was rebuking Hockey for failing to do his numbers, for bungling his run at the party leadership.
But he was also partly serious. Minchin had not expected Abbott to win. Nobody had expected Abbott to win. Not even Abbott. Contrary to widespread impressions in the media, Minchin did not even want Abbott to win.
Although the pair are both stalwarts of the conservative group in the party, Minchin knew very well what everyone else in the room knew – that of the three leadership candidates, Abbott was the most unpopular.
The parliamentary members of the Liberal Party had just chosen to elect a leader that most of them considered to be unelectable.
Now they had replaced Turnbull, a man nominated as preferred Liberal leader by 32 per cent of voters in the Herald’s Nielsen poll, with a man preferred by only 20 per cent.
Minchin’s main aim was to dump the Liberal Party’s support for an emissions trading scheme. He had been adamantly opposed to an ETS ever since he took the job of industry minister in the Howard government in 1998.
His voice had been dismissed in the cabinet when Howard decided to support an ETS in 2007. Now he was getting his way.
He would have allowed Malcolm Turnbull to stay in place if he had yielded. He had delivered his ultimatum to Turnbull five days earlier.
Minchin and Abbott had gone to see Turnbull in the Opposition leader’s office in Parliament House. There was a huge reaction against the ETS from the grassroots of the party, they said. They pleaded with him to oppose the ETS or, at the very least, to defer it.
Turnbull was unmoved. ‘‘I’ve got a partyroom decision in favour of the policy and a spill [motion to declare the leader’s position vacant] against me failed just yesterday. Why would I back down on something I believe in?’’
The two then said that they had no option but to resign from the frontbench, and they detonated a series of orchestrated explosions along it as well, as one after another, other shadow ministers resigned. By the end of the process, Turnbull had lost 14 of his frontbench. He could not limp on. Another spill motion was to come.
The right of the party had lost that week’s gambit. On numbers compiled by the Liberal Whip, Alex Somlyay, the shadow cabinet had approved Turnbull’s position to support the ETS by 14 to 6; the Liberal party room had supported it by 47 to 32; and the Coalition party room, including the National Party, was in favour of it by 47 to 46.
But Minchin would not accept defeat. If Turnbull would not submit, he would find a more amenable leader.
Minchin wanted to install the avuncular Joe Hockey instead.
This was logical, but also perverse. Logical because Hockey was the most electable, preferred by 36 per cent of voters as Liberal leader.
And perverse because Hockey had been a solid supporter of the ETS policy. Indeed, he had urged it on the Howard government when he had been the acting industry minister in 2002, five years before Howard adopted the idea.
And Hockey was also a firm friend of Turnbull and an unwavering supporter of his leadership. To be installed as leader, Hockey would have to dump his commitment to an ETS, and his loyalty to Turnbull. Turnbull and Hockey were the Liberals’ leading moderates, as distinct from the conservatives.
Yet that was the deal that Minchin now offered him. It was the same deal that he had offered Turnbull – defer or defeat the ETS, and I will give you the crown. This was the Faustian bargain.
‘‘My whole political currency is as a straight talker,’’ Hockey agonised with supporters. ‘‘I will be destroyed.’’
Hockey was confident he would carry the numbers in a leadership ballot. He didn’t agonise over the votes. He didn’t even agonise so much over disloyalty to Turnbull; he had promised not to challenge his friend, and he would keep his word, at least in a technical sense. Hewould only stand for the party leadership if it was first declared vacant in a spill motion.
No, Hockey agonised over the ETS. Parliament resumed on Monday. The ETS bills were still pending in the Senate. A partyroom meeting was due on Tuesday. A leadership spill was a certainty. What would Hockey do?
First, he went to see his mate, the defiant leader. He told him that he didn’t think Turnbull could win. I accept that, replied Turnbull. If the leadership is vacant, said Hockey, I will stand. Well, righto, came the leader’s response. Hockey had the clear impression that Turnbull had said that, if defeated in the spill, he would not then stand in the next ballot, the vote on the leadership.
This was logical. Because a lost spill, for a leader, is effectively a motion of no confidence. What’s the point in then standing again two minutes later?
Next, Hockey convened a big meeting in his office about 4pm. It was, essentially, everyone in the leadership group except Turnbull.
Minchin and one of his close conservative allies, Eric Abetz were there. So was Abbott. So was a Hockey lieutenant, Christopher Pyne. The pro-ETS Greg Hunt was there, and so was the anti-ETS Andrew Robb. Turnbull’s deputy, Julie Bishop, was in the room. So was a conservative mooted as her replacement, Peter Dutton. Even the federal director of theLiberal Party, Brian Loughnane, waspresent.
Hockey announced that he would stand for the leadership once it was vacant. Then he announced his policy on the ETS. Hockey would not have a policy, he said to an incredulous room. It was simply too divisive. So he would allow party members a conscience vote in the chambers of the Parliament.
The group broke up to think about it, and reconvened in Hockey’s office a little after 6pm.
Hard positions had now formed. Minchin and Abetz opposed the idea of a conscience vote. Minchin said it was ‘‘crazy’’ from Hockey’s point of view, that it would look weak. ‘‘Your first decision as leader would be no decision.’’
One participant, and recollections differ over who it was, observed that under this plan, the ETS would probably pass through the Parliament – ‘‘we will have changed the leader and have the same policy!’’ he expostulated.
‘‘What does the right get out of that?’’
Hockey replied: ‘‘The right gets Dutton as deputy, me as leader, Abbott as shadow treasurer, and Julie Bishop in foreign affairs.’’ No one had broached with Bishop the idea that she would lose the deputy’s slot.
‘‘Joe,’’ said Bishop, ‘‘before you start speaking about the deputy’s job, speak to me.’’ It didn’t come up again.
Minchin argued repeatedly that Hockey’s position was ridiculous – you can’t have a policy of not having a policy, he said.
At this point, Abbott declared his hand. ‘‘This is an impossible situation for the colleagues,’’ he said. ‘‘Some want to vote for the ETS, some want to vote against it. You can’t leave it unresolved. The party has to be offered a clear choice.’’
If Hockey would not change his mind, said Abbott, he would stand as the anti-ETS candidate.
About 8pm, Minchin visited Hockey once again. Abbott joined them. Minchin tried once more to find a way to kill the ETS but install Hockey
as leader. He offered a new formula – a secret ballot on the ETS offering three options – in favour of it, against it, or in favour of a conscience vote on it.
Hockey was ready to accept this, but Abbott would not brook anything offering a conscience vote option.
That night, as the candidates counted their numbers, a Hockey lieutenant contacted Turnbull about 8.30pm to make sure of his undertaking to Hockey that he wouldn’t stand.
He told Hockey that he had received the assurance and had noted the conversation in his diary.
Yet Turnbull publicly vowed, in the strongest of terms, that he would standand fight.
At the Tuesday meeting, the leadership was declared vacant with a vote of 48 to 34, a clear dismissal of Turnbull.
Then Bishop, as deputy, called for nominations for the leadership. Turnbull was on his feet instantly, followed a second later by Abbott. Hockey rose a moment later. It was to be a three-way contest.
In the first round of voting, Abbott won 35 votes, Turnbull won 26 and Hockey won 23. With the lowest tally, Hockey was eliminated.
The moderate vote had been split between Hockey and Turnbull. Some had abandoned Hockey because of his equivocal position on the threshold issue of the ETS.
Hockey was shocked.
In the run-off, Abbott beat Turnbull by 42 votes to 41. One vote, unbelievably, was informal.
After Minchin’s crack about the 10 votes, Hockey replied incredulously: ‘‘He’s a piece of work, isn’t he?’’ indicating Turnbull. ‘‘He promised me he wouldn’t run if the spill got up.’’
Later, he bumped into Turnbull on the flight back to Sydney. ‘‘I’m too angry to talk to you,’’ said Hockey.
Turnbull is adamant that he gave Hockey no undertaking. Both men lost. Turnbull lost his leadership, Hockey lost his challenge, and neither got to keep the ETS that he had supported.
And Abbott was, truly, the accidental leader.
"Though he sued me and cost me income and influence and a lot of public dignity (I wrongly alleged he listened to Tanya Costello's views on politics - a shocking thing to do, it seemed in those far-off days, to listen to a woman, for it cost my publishers a million dollars) I find him in person curiously disarming, and I find myself agreeing with him uncomfortably and often.Found the full August '09 essay here ...
"The person he most resembles, I've just decided, is Scott Fitzgerald. The classic good looks, big flashing smile, easy Irish eloquence, angelic writing style, self-doubt, Catholic guilt, hot temper, Gatsby-like yearnings for past relationships long gone and luminous in remembrance, fondness for football and self-flagellation and his need for a son, all bespeak a literary genius drawn by Life and lesser pursuits into spiritual shallows and drunken remorse like Scott, poor Scott. We have lost thereby good books he might have written, and gained - what? - a cheery, self-mocking buffoon? Or the Tories' last, best hope of power?"
Abbott – The Numbers Point to Grief
This vote won’t resolve the Liberal Party conflict, it will only send it into a sequel. The vote for the spill had 82 people vote, which was passed 48/34. This caused a three way leadership race between Turnbull, Abbott and Hockey where 84 people voted – Turnbull getting 26 votes, Abbott getting 35 votes and Hockey getting 23 votes. Hockey was eliminated and in the head to head there was 83 formal votes, with Abbott winning 42/41.
Someone in that final contest voted informal – making @timwattsau on Twitter quip “maybe someone just wrote ‘kill me’ on the ballot”. Apparently they actually wrote “No” on the ballot paper. “No” – WTF?
Fran Bailey was granted special leave from the meeting as she’s in Hospital in Victoria with some ear infection and couldn’t fly– however, Bailey wanted to put in a proxy vote but wasn’t allowed (there not being a capability for that apparently in the Liberal Party), yet she would have almost certainly voted for Turnbull.
Next week, two new members enter Parliament – Kelly O’Dwyer from Higgins and Paul Fletcher from Bradfield, both almost certainly Turnbull supporters.
If the vote was held at the end of next week rather than today, the result would almost certainly have been 44/42 in favour of Turnbull – where even if the goose that wrote “No” on the ballot paper managed to borrow a few extra neurons and cast a formal vote, it wouldn’t have mattered because of the margin created by these 3 extra Turnbull votes.
Already, the moderates in the party are threatening complete dissent – the conflict in the Liberal party hasn’t been resolved, it has just started. This vote gave Abbott a win which he couldn’t have achieved a week later and every single one of the moderates know it.
"The difficulty with governments is that they age at the same rate as dogs..."I presume that this observation is all Craven's own work. And he's dead right - the average life of governments in Australia over the last 30 years or so has to be around the 10-year mark - about 70 years in dog years.
"Abbott will be able to bring them back into the tent," Mr Lindsay said of the Nationals yesterday. "That will stop the political bleeding that's happened in Queensland, and we will better work together."The problem for Peter is that, on a -0.4% margin, he has to keep that core rusted-on constituency while winning the middle ground – no wonder he needs a hug.
Liberals embrace spirit of kamikaze fundamentalism...from The Age
Fielding tried to gate crash the remnants of the Turnbull presser, wanting a Royal Commission into the science of climate change chaired by Ross Garnaut and Ian Plimer. Most of the press left, some chuckling. (via.. well, the whole press gallery on twitter).See earlier post here.
Turnbull to found a new party?I mentioned in my previous post that a lot of speculation has now turned to Malcolm Turnbull’s intentions should he lose the leadership tomorrow.
I also linked to the thoughts of Christopher Joye of Business Spectator. This paragraph is particularly interesting:
Perhaps following this fracas the big fella will throw caution to the wind and found his own political party…I am thinking of the Australian Republican Party with an unconditional commitment to combating climate change and reinvigorating the dormant republican movement. Now that would be sure to split the Liberal Party vote.
While we shouldn’t get carried away and underestimate the barriers any new party faces in the Australian political system (or the powerful forces of inertia and ambition which work against individual MPs and Senators splitting from the Libs), this prospect is being taken seriously, I’m informed by a number of sources this morning.
Given the difficulties that the Liberals have had in unifying their disparate bases (and as I’ve commented previously, the problems Labor might potentially have as well with its soft liberal constituency), such a development, if seriously pursued, would have the potential to be something of a game changer. And Malcolm Turnbull could certainly fund a social and economically liberal party out of his own resources, at least for one election campaign.
I’m told there may be more coming out on this later in the week.
WEIRD hey?Nov 26, 2009: while the biggest new story in the nation for the last week or so has been climate change, the ETS and the Liberal leadership, on the day the future of Yalulu has been called into question, and on the day Terminal Turnbull's hold on the party of Peter is completely falling apart, the Prince of Herbert's only public utterance is to welcome the Government's (yes, that's the Labor Government's) decision to spend a further $80 million on Lavarack
"Five years after the death in custody on Palm Island of Mulrunji Doomadgee, the CMC has finished its inquiry into the conduct of police officers investigating the death. By comparison, it took months for people to be prosecuted for throwing rocks and threatening police in the subsequent protest. These officers face disciplinary action for actions which contravened common decency, the law and good practice but I can guarantee you none will be going to jail. The Minister for Police should resign or better still, be sacked. Tardy justice is justice denied."That was big of them wasn't it ??