Staying with the parliamentary performance theme could provide some revelations about the fading career of one who is far less "representative"; a line you may recall in relation to 'swill' and Keating.
John Quiggin has been amused by events during recent Senate Estimates hearings: Perhaps I am more saddened by the discovery of another parliamentary tool, but the religious tool nearly made it all worthwhile.
"The idea that the Bureau of Meteorology is part of a global conspiracy to destroy Australia’s economy impose communist world government (or in some more prosaic versions, to increase itsfunding) sounds like the basis of a bad comedy sketch. But, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, this claim is put forward, in apparent seriousness, by numerous anti-science advocates in Australia (Andrew Bolt, Jennifer Marohasy, and Warwick Hughes are leading examples) and implicily accepted by many others....
Back in October last year, the Senate’s Environment and Communications Legislation Committee agreed to table a letter from Cardinal Pell which quoted heavily from Heaven and Earth to claim there were “good reasons for doubting that carbon dioxide causes warmer temperatures”.
The Director of the Bureau of Meteorology Dr Greg Ayers has now responded at an estimates hearing, demolishing Plimer’s bogus claims and pointing to numerous scathing reviews of his trashy and dishonest book. Ayers is great value, but the real fun in reading the Hansard transcript comes from the frantic attempts of Senators MacDonald and Boswell to stop him talking...
It’s great to see the Bureau taking a leading role in the defence of science. Sadly, some of those who should be speaking out, most notably the Australian Academy of Science, have been missing in action. ...Quiggin's description of Senator Ian Macdonald as a leading figure of the political right is laughable, of course. But what is hilarious is the Hansard Report between pages 104 and 109.
It’s also amusing to see leading figures on the political right like Pell, McDonald and Boswell expose themselves as gullible fools, along with most of the rightwing commentariat. While not everyone on the right thinks this way (as witness Turnbull’s near-victory over Abbott a year or so ago), the number willing to raise their voices in defence of science remains tiny.
Footnote1. Advocates of the conspiracy theory tend to shift between global communist and grant-grubbing theories, in a manner reminiscent of the (possibly apocryphal) Tasmanian politician who promised voters that, if they supported Federation they would build a glorious new nation under the Southern Cross and get higher prices for their apples."
See also Tim Lambert and Graham Readfearn