Oxfam have produced a political program that reaches into Australian, UK, and New Zealandschools under the guise of “climate science”. There are petitions for children to send to the PM. Law abiding corporations are called “polluting vested interests”. Kids are now advising the government on energy policy and economic direction, and NGOs, which are partly funded by Big-Government, are effectively telling kids to vote for Big-Government. Anyone spot the conflict of interest?
Tony Thomas has been reading up on Oxfam Australia, and lays out their most “activist” messages below. According to Oxfam, it reaches some 100,000 children in Australian schools. In the UK over 2,000 schools in England and 550 in Scotland are part of the “Global Learning Program” and English schools get “up to £500 of e-credits” which schools can use to pay for CPD”. CPD for those of us non-UK types is “Continuing Professional Development”. Perhaps the English readers can tell us a bit more, but it sounds like Oxfam and Big-Gov-UK are working hand-in-hand.
Oxfam has a “whole school approach” which means in-school and after-school activities, as well as teacher training and curriculum development. It’s “holistic”, which means it promotes global citizenship and everything except for Western culture, Western industry, free markets, and taxpayers (who help fund it). It’s more about sustainability of activism, not sustainability of civilizations.
Roughly 30% of Oxfam Australia’s total income comes from government grants. I’m sure Oxfam staff sincerely believe in the climate religion, but I’m also sure there is no incentive for them to find holes in an idea which helps get left wing Big-Government parties elected who are less likely to cut the “Foreign Aid” budget. They keep the lobbyists and bureaucrats in office who support NGOs. Plus it’s a smart “business plan” to reach out to future donors. Presumably any Oxfam staff member who pointed out how carbon trading feeds big bankers, increased corruption, and did nothing for the poor and the environment would be uninvited to drinks after work. Forgive my cynicism, but the day Oxfam points out that windfarms and solar cells won’t change the weather is the day I might believe they care more about humanity than their own tribe.
What’s the answer? Before kids get fed politics, they need to be taught logic and reason. In schools, the rightful place for Oxfam material is as fodder for debates and analysis but children need to be trained to spot propaganda. Principals and Oxfam need to feel the heat. In it’s own words Oxfam’s grand plan is to redirect itself more to “influence authorities”, and “redistribute wealth” and less to “deliver services”. They are becoming a nakedly political outfit. — Jo
Oxfam rams its climate scares into classrooms
By Tony Thomas
Oxfam Australia is yet another climate-catastrophe spruiker to be welcomed into classrooms along with Cool Australia, Greenpeace, Australian Conservation Foundation, WWF, Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth teams. But Oxfam is successfully carving out its own territory in the intra-green competition for children’s souls.
The 2013-14 Oxfam Australia annual report says more than 20,000 teachers used Oxfam resources to teach 100,000 students. And more than 6800 students in high schools and universities took part in 40 Oxfam workshops to help them become discussion leaders among their peers.
Oxfam resources specifically for schools
At a glance, Oxfam appears even more politically partisan than the other groups. It cites “great examples of the myriad ways schools can make a difference” and directs students to its “Take Action” page,
“Tell the PM to be the Australian leader we need. Demand he goes to New York and commits in person to the new UN #GlobalGoals for Sustainable Development.”
Take Action also says, below a caricature of Prime Minister Tony Abbott holding an umbrella against a cyclone, and alongside a political petition:
“So far, the Abbott Government has absolutely failed the climate leadership test. Email our political leaders now. Tell them you’re searching for someone to step up and lead Australia on climate..
Tell them that Australians want a bold and visionary government that’s prepared to make the right choice. For everyone, not just for polluting vested interests.
Take action now!”
Some of the climate solutions that Oxfam offers kids are batty. Its “inspiration for students” resources for schools includes recommendations by an Elisha Donkin (“ passionate about food security, global inequality, health and sustainable living”) to help save the planet by eating an untapped source of protein, viz grasshoppers and cockroaches. These are “hailed as the next greatest addition to your diet for health as well as the environment… So, forget about vegetarianism, watch this video and be persuaded to add some juicy beetles to your salad.” (The video link is dead but I found an equivalent here.)
She also urges kids not to flush pee and paper, and finishes by rattling the class can for Oxfam: “A little donation can go a long way and is always appreciated.”
Oxfam’s “3things” site for kids refers them to Oxfam’s mainstream climate pages.On those pages, Oxfam says, “It’s not just the average temperature that is rising. With more heat and energy in the atmosphere and oceans, our weather is becoming more extreme and unpredictable.”
For details of the various unfacts, Oxfam refers readers to Tim Flannery’s Climate Council. Oxfam says that being fair to the planet means cutting emissions to keep warming to only 1.5decC, “beyond which many countries have said they will face unmanageable suffering and devastation.”
Oxfam wants Australian emissions to fall by at least 40% by 2025, and to net zero before 2050, ”including developing a concrete plan to phase-out coal from Australia’s energy supply” and lavish donations to the third world’s $100b a year climate fund/boondoggle.
Kids are barraged with urgings to “take action”.(Banking on Shaky Ground, School Resource Activities (PDF)). Apart from them petitioning the Prime Minister on climate, Oxfam also revs them up to petition Australia’s big banks ANZ, CBA, NAB and WBC and lash them for lending to companies doing “land grabs” from peasants in the third world. Oxfam, to save teachers thought, provides a template for a class “debate”, with banks on a hiding to nothing.
I’d bet Oxfam will soon emulate the Youth Climate Coalition and organize kid-campaigns against banks for lending to fossil fuel companies.
Playing on kids’ good nature, Oxfam provides heart-wrenching videos and tales of stricken people. An example, South African local farmer Yvette Abrahams:
“My family is meeting to discuss moving. We cannot stay.
It is very emotional for us as a family. When indigenous people lose their land, it is not just about food and material welfare. When we lose our land we also lose our spiritual practices which are deeply tied to the land. So the little that we have managed to preserve through slavery, genocide, colonialism and apartheid, we are about to lose to climate change.
“Climate finance [provided by rich countries] is restorative justice. I appeal to you to not leave this to your children to sort out. Because they are going to have to share a planet with my children.
You can help strengthen the voices of women like Yvette!
Australia is feeling the effects of climate change. But it’s poor people around the world who are bearing the brunt.”
Via the referral above from 3things Oxfam offers kids videos called “Faces of climate change”.
“Go to this site and in the groups designated by your teacher watch the short film clip, or read the text provided… When all the groups have presented their report write a summary response to the statement: “Climate change is impacting on farming practices across the world.” – Worksheet, 3 major challenges
I took a look at the Australian “face of climate change” who turned out to be Helen Henry of Hamilton, Vic., one of Oxfam’s six “Sisters on the Planet”. The 2008 film begins with Helen lecturing a roomful of Hamilton citizenry: “Science predicts that if Greenland was to melt, we would see an increase in sea levels of 6 metres.”
The film cuts to the Wannon flood plain, with Helen saying it looks (at 2008) lots drier than a decade earlier, when brolgas used to dance about on the swamp: “It really hit home to me that perhaps there would not be the childhood I experienced, available to my children.”
An Al Gore acolyte, she was oblivious that the district flooded badly in 1946, 1981, and 1983, and sure enough, after her filmic lament, in 2010 and 2011, her town got flooded again. She had bemoaned that her family businesses Henry’s Hydraulics couldn’t order 100% renewable electricity (“I love windfarms,” she said). But the inconsiderate 2010 flood knocked out Hamilton’s power altogether.
Here’s another Oxfam template for a class:
“Using the Bureau of Meteorology’s State of the Climate Report 2014, complete the following exercise:
Choose a region near where you live and using the summary page, research any evidence of climate change occurring in your region.
Use the maps of temperature change, rainfall ranges, heatwaves and fire weather, and scroll down to the Australian map of climate scenarios.
Use this information to suggest how these changes might impact on the sustainability of local farms.
Find an image of a local farmer/group of farmers and using speech bubbles write their comments on climate change and its effect on food production.”
Oxfam’s push into schools with heavy political messaging, is assisted by Oxfam’s long-standing reputation for humanitarian activity. Oxfam also has plenty of savvy about giving teachers a tempting “bundle” of information and pedagogy. The success of classroom brainwashing will probably depend on whether kids’ natural cynicism is stirred up by such a deluge of green proselytizing. #
OXFAM’s non-school material is only a click away
Oxfam’s current crusade is against the Australian coal industry, with the message that 90% of our coal should be left in the ground.
Oxfam is pushing back against the uncomfortable proposition that electricity grid expansion is leading the third world out of poverty, instead arguing that localised solar power is what struggling peasants need.
Oxfam does plenty of good humanitarian work with its disaster relief , and its advocacy for peasants beset by predatory businesses. But because it believes global warming will fry the planet in a few decades, it makes climate activism top priority. “Why is Oxfam working on climate change? Tackling climate change is central to ending poverty.”
The class material offered is only a click or two from this sort of Oxfam stuff:
“Today, with an irresponsibly weak target to reduce pollution by just 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030, the Abbott Government has chosen to risk a brutal future of ever more extreme and unpredictable weather, making it harder for families and farmers everywhere to grow and buy enough food to eat.
It’s a #badcall – … one that risks brutal consequences for some of the world’s poorest communities, that are already being hit hardest by the devastating impacts of climate change.
We do not have to accept this disastrous decision. The Government can and must increase its target in Paris. Call on Australia’s political leaders to step up and lead on climate.
In contrast, the Labor Party’s thought-bubble on renewables promotion is hailed by Oxfam CEO Dr Helen Szoke (salary $229,000) as “A welcome show of leadership and vision”.
“(W)hile the energy revolution gathers pace, the Australian Government remains stuck down the deep, dark coal mine of the past and seemingly oblivious to [renewables] changing realities.
“Captured by an ailing coal industry and urged on by conservative commentators, our government has delivered a series of bizarre and misleading pronouncements about the future of coal.”
I could find no mention by Oxfam of the 18 year (so far) halt to global warming; instead, Oxfam finds dire consequences of imagined global warming everywhere it looks.
Like its activist peer groups, Oxfam has twigged that teachers are variously too busy, lazy or unequipped to teach climate , and are therefore happy to outsource such lessons to alarmist third parties providing class materials, lesson structures, templates and curriculum integration for both teachers and kids.
The tone of the Oxfam material is pretty hysterical, especially about events like Cyclone Pam, via Oxfam UK teachers’ notes.
The Australian material includes “Climate Change”:
Hungry for a fair climate?
Climate change is the single biggest threat in the global fight against hunger.
Extreme weather events, like Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu[iii], are a forceful reminder that the people who have done the least to contribute to climate change are already being hit hard by its devastating impacts.
Dirty polluting companies are causing climate change to worsen, poisoning our clean air, and threatening our food, water and health.
The Australian Government has been shirking responsibility and acting in the interests of the big dirty polluters.
Luckily, families and farmers around the world are fighting back and driving smart and positive climate action.
Don’t let families and farmers take the heat for our inaction. Be part of the fight for fair food in a fair climate!
The Oxfam grand plan
Oxfam these days is a more cohesive or “one Oxfam” body as a result of a six-year plan to integrate the 17 national Oxfam outfits. The 2013-19 master plan is big on promoting wealth transfers: “Redistribution of 10% of the incomes of the richest countries would increase the incomes of the poor countries by more than nine-fold per head.” But it has little to say about promoting conventional economic growth:
“[The poor] will benefit from expanded national and international debate on economic development policies beyond conventional GDP growth to focus on equitable prosperity within a resource-constrained world.”
The plan also wants to tilt Oxfam’s humanitarian work more towards political agitation: “The proposed ‘worldwide influencing network’ aims to drive our shared agenda more powerfully within the broader global movement for change. It is an expression of Oxfam’s ‘enabling’ role. It marks a trend towards working more on influencing authorities and the powerful, and less on delivering the services for which duty-bearers are responsible.” – Oxfam Strategic Plan (PDF)
Oxfam Australia enjoys tax-free charity status although there’s nothing obviously charitable about trying to destroy Australia’s fossil-fuel industries. In addition to $52m raised from the public last year, Oxfam also got $23m in grants from the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (See the Oxfam annual report.)
Annual reports do not specify how much Oxfam Australia is spending on climate campaigning per se. Its five-year climate action blueprint for 2010-15 called for $14.6m spending, “from a mix of supporter funds and institutional donors”.[ii]
Tony Thomas blogs at tthomas061.wordpress.com
[i] Oxfam claimed in 2009 that “The number of people affected by climatic crises is projected to rise by 54% to 375 million people over the next six years, threatening to overwhelm the world’s ability to respond.”
The six year time frame takes us to 2015. Anyone notice 375m climate crisis victims?
[ii] Addressing Climate Change: Oxfam Australia’s Plan of Action, Jan. 2011, p14
[iii] There is no evidence that Cyclone Pam had any connection to global warming.
Oxfam running climate propaganda into classrooms,
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I’ve had a mail-out from Oxfam Australia asking for $75 to help “Tereza” grow a garden in the Mozambique desert so she can feed her baby and three children. Tereza tells me, “The little ones may cry because they don’t know that I don’t have money. They just carry on crying.”
I’d cough up (maybe) if I wasn’t so annoyed about Oxfam using donations to finance its attacks on Australia’s coal and petroleum industries, under the rubric of global warming scariness. Also, my bovine scatology detector is vibrating about this “Tereza” lady in Mozambique. “Right now, she’s raising an axe above her head, wielding it with the kind of strength that mothers show when their children’s lives are in danger,” Oxfam says, I assume rhetorically.
Reading on, it becomes unclear whether my $75 would “save her children’s lives” (third para) or actually, nourish “a mum like Tereza” (p2) or indeed, “Tereza’s neighbour Marta” who suffers agonising hunger (p2).
“As a supporter of our work, I know you already know what that means, Mr Thomas,” writes Dr Helen Szoke, Oxfam Australia chief executive. Actually I’m not an Oxfam supporter. Who knows how came to be on the charity’s mailing list, with a 27-digit identifier no less?
Through adroit marketing like the “Tereza” campaign, Oxfam raised $52m last year from the public, up $9.5m in the previous year. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade kicked in an additional $23m, oblivious to Oxfam’s anti-export agenda.
Even I was shocked to learn that Oxfam’s third-party fund-raisers cream off 90% or so from the first year of someone’s annual public donation. Oxfam wrote me,
Like other charities, Oxfam outsources this type of fundraising because it is currently the most cost-effective way to engage new supporters. There is not a company in Australia that provides this service without charging a once only payment, which is usually equivalent to around 85 – 95% of the donor’s first year gift. Of course we would prefer not to pay a fee, but nothing comes for free, and we are paying for a service that helps us raise funds and saves us money. Indeed street fundraising and telemarketing is a vital source of reliable and predictable income and accounts for around 25% of Oxfam’s total income on average each year. The average supporter pledge period of supporters retained through these measures is around three years, and many givers continue to donate for 5 or even 10 years.
Oxfam Australia’s 2014 report says 29.7% of its community fund-raising is consumed in fund-raising costs, up from 23.5% in 2013 as third-party fund raisers move in.
These days your donations are also funding Oxfam’s assault on the Australian coal and fossil-fuel sectors, a sure-fire route to reduced living standards both in Australia and its key trading partners, such as India.
Oxfam’s fund-raising relies on crises, real and imagined. I first noticed Oxfam drifting into the realm of hyperbolic propaganda late in late 2009, when I noticed an Oxfam billboard near the Flinders Station tram stop asserting that global warming was creating “50m climate refugees”. This factoid can be tracked to a discredited paper by Oxford’s Professor Norman Myers 15 years earlier. The UN recycled it in the form of a climate refugee map as at 2010 — then had to abruptly disown and make it disappear in 2011, when no climate refugees turned up.
In 2009, Oxfam was also claiming “the number of people affected by climatic crises is projected to rise by 54%, to 375 million people, over the next six years, threatening to overwhelm the world’s ability to respond.”[i]
The six year time frame takes us to 2015. But where, exactly, are these 375 million “climatic crisis” victims — 16 times the population of Australia — overwhelming the relief agencies? The UNHCR puts current numbers of internally and externally displaced people at 51m and makes no mention of climate as a factor distinct from conflict.
In the Oxfam study, when the the authors cite “climate” they actually mean “weather” — storms, floods etc, and the word “disaster” appears very flexible indeed, sometimes taken to mean as few as ten deaths. The projected increase from 2009 to 2015 is Oxfam’s straight-line extrapolation of past figures. Kids can do that stuff with rulers and crayons.
Undeterred by reality, Oxfam in 2013 was claiming
Today there are an estimated 26 million climate refugees, yet by 2050, 200 million people a year will be on the move due to hunger, environmental degradation and loss of land due to climate change.
The Norwegian Refugee Council says total displacees from natural disasters (not climate) in 2013 was 22 million. An Oxfam Australia spokeswoman says the organisation was not the author of the (2050) 200 million projection for climate refugees claim, attributing it to an Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) report,
Needless to say, EJF is a UK green raver with patrons such as activist model Lily Cole and “award-winning actress Emilia Fox”. Oxfam might want to be a bit more picky about whose tripe it recycles, not least because its global-warming tracts are blindingly at variance with the facts. Try this, for example (emphasis added):
…predictions made by climate scientists have been alarmingly accurate in recent years … Disasters such as the heat waves and wildfires in Europe and flooding in southern Asia were predicted by climate modelling.
Since the IPCC concedes that 111 of its 114 climate models exaggerate the warming (and remember, warming stopped nearly 19 years ago), the models are better described as alarmingly inaccurate. As to specific weather events, rather than general predictions of climatic catastrophe, no IPCC modelling is so bold as to predict a single one.
Five years ago, Oxfam ran a climate-change conference in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, “bringing together people to share their stories of climate impacts. Thousands of people attended … Everyone agreed that the problem is getting worse and threatening their future.” Of Ethiopia’s problems, global warming (which, recall, halted nearly 19 years ago) seems the least urgent, ranking below, say, Ethiopia’s corrupt government, the 6% infant mortality rate, AIDS, dirty water for 60% of rural people, poor sanitation for three-quarters of the population etc. Whether or not Ethiopian peasants benefited from the seminar is moot at best, but Oxfam certainly scored some exotic footage for its film “Faces of Climate Change”, so personalised and useful for global fund-raising.
Naughty Mother Nature is prone to contradicting Oxfam. In 2008, Oxfam Australia filmed Helen Henry of Hamilton, Vic., as one of its six “Sisters on the Planet”. The clip (below) begins with Helen lecturing a roomful of Hamilton citizenry: “Science predicts that if Greenland was to melt, we would see an increase in sea levels of six metres.” (Yes, perhaps in 3014).
The film then cuts to Victoria’s Wannon flood plain, with Helen saying it looked lots drier than a decade ago, when brolgas used to dance about on the swamp: “It really hit home to me that perhaps there would not be the childhood I experienced available to my children,” she laments. An Al Gore acolyte, she was oblivious that the district flooded badly in 1946, 1981, and 1983, and sure enough in 2010 and 2011 it flooded again. She had bemoaned that her family businesses, Henry’s Hydraulics, couldn’t order 100% renewable electricity (“I love windfarms,” she says). Worth noting is that the inconsiderate flood of 2010 knocked out Hamilton’s power altogether.
Oxfam is desperate to paint coal-fired power generation as a current health hazard (as well as a global warming-inducer). It says of Australia, “Every year we pay around $6 billion to treat health problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels.”
That $6 billion figure is absurd. For example, Oxfam cites a Flannery Climate Council study claiming particulates and noxious gases from power stations impose $2.6 billion in health costs. But that figure was obtained by looking at a study of European power-station health costs (of whatever validity) and arbitrarily taking between 7% and 20% of those costs to allow for Australia’s “lower population density”. The study author wraps up: “These figures should be verified by Australian location-specific studies as health effects and costs may differ from Europe.” Such is climate scariness.
Oxfam has always done good work in disaster relief and other direct aid to the Third World. However, its “progressive” bent is now being prioritised internationally. It’s all spelt out in a six-year plan from Oxfam global headquarters, enthusiastically adopted by the Australian branch. Here are some extracts (emphases added):
- “Rejection of the ‘old’ economic paradigm opens crucial opportunities
for new thinking and approaches that favour a just and sustainable future.”
- “More poor and marginalized women and men will benefit from expanded national and international debate on economic development policies beyond conventional GDP growth to focus on equitable prosperity within a resource-constrained world”
- “Our goal will be redistribution for greater equality of income, and of power of poor people; matched by the solidarity of concerned people in rich countries working to change their governments’ policies and behavior.”
- “Ending extreme poverty and inequality [ending extreme inequality? Huh?] is within the reach of this generation. More progressive governments, more effective international bodies and more socially responsible corporations will be an important factor; but, mainly, lives are being improved by the power of people to demand their basic rights, turn the trend of inequality, and create their own solutions together.” [No mention of freer markets, trade and government-sector shrinkage, which are the real drivers of economic progress. Instead, “progressive” governments, the UN and “redistribution” are to be the saviors of the poor].
- “Despite the huge progress of the last four decades in reducing extreme income poverty, inequality is becoming a critical problem, both between and within countries, whether rich or poor… High-income countries have average incomes that are more than 70 times those of low-income countries. Redistribution of 10% of the incomes of the richest countries would increase the incomes of the poor countries by more than nine-fold per head.” [Great. The multi-billions in transfers to African basket-case leaders to date haven’t trickled down far].
- “In rich and poor countries alike, politically active, organized and accountable people are beginning to realize their strength and their capacity to challenge the vested interests that perpetuate the injustice of poverty..…That means devoting a lot of effort to linking with others – social movements, trades unions [CFMEU? AWU?], digital communities and faith-based organizations.”
- “Build alliances with constituencies in high- and middle- income countries to call for governments to cut excessive resource consumption [meaning what? Not cutting governments’ share of GDP, I assume] and protect low-income consumers.”
Oxfam is rolling out what it calls its “worldwide influencing network” combining its 17 national groups under the umbrella of One Oxfam, explaining: “It marks a trend towards working more on influencing authorities and the powerful, and less on delivering the services for which duty-bearers are responsible.” This appears to mean that Oxfam will do more agit-prop and less hands-on charity work.
Oxfam’s formulas look like code for rejection of the capitalism that has delivered stupendous benefits to the Third World wherever it has been tried (while the socialist model generates only stagnation). That Oxfam campaigners are anti-capitalist, notwithstanding Oxfam’s appeals to Big Business for funding, is openly acknowledged by top Oxfam people. Oxfam “strategic adviser” Duncan Green has blogged,
The underlying views of Oxfam staff are scattered along a spectrum from anti-capitalist watchdog to anti-poverty business partner. Where you sit depends partly on your job (campaigners tend to be more anti-, fundraisers more pro-), partly on your personal story and psychology … It takes a certain kind of person to sit down and bond with a captain of industry one day, and then slag them off to the media the next. We have some of them, but for the rest, there is a tendency to opt for one or other camp, leading to some difficult exchanges.
While treating big business with disdain, Oxfam’s own vision statement is rather Big Business-like in quest for an extra 100-300m Euros annual income, e.g. “Enter and expand profitably in high growth markets to position Oxfam for future unrestricted income growth.”
Oxfam has an agenda for “transformation” of global food production that would be as perverse in reality as all other Utopian brain-bubbles:
… individuals, organisations and movements connecting globally by a vision for a healthy system that supports everyone … We act out of cooperation not competition, sharing resources fairly and valuing the environment, and where everyone has enough to eat, always… We don’t just focus on crop yield, but on quality and distribution, better waste management, sustainable consumption and green consumerism.
This Oxfam video (below) illustrates its new world order by representing agribusiness with skull and crossbones. Wind towers dot the landscape, poetically, in response to the perils of alleged warming.
And try this Oxfam nonsense[ii]:
“We’re not immune to the effects of climate change in Australia, either. The severity and frequency of drought is increasing, particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin*. Water shortages, storms, bushfires and floods will make it increasingly harder to grow our own food, and it is predicted that we will become more reliant on imports, pushing grocery prices higher.” [Apart from the 2010 floods, that is. Sydney’s Warragamba dam is full]
Contrast that with this from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
Australia currently produces sufficient food to feed up to 60 million people but has a population of less than 23 million.
Various Oxfam tropes are similarly weird, such as buying only food that has been produced within a 100-kilometre radius of where it is to be consumed. Substitute “iPhones” or “carpets” for “food” and you can see the crudeness of Oxfam’s economic understanding. Oxfam’s plans endlessly prioritize reduction of inequality, ie., wealth transfers, rather than the economic growth that has pulled hundreds of millions of Asians out of poverty.
Inside Oxfam Australia, the pay inequality is 4.4:1 between the lowest paid staffer at $52,000 and CEO Helen Szoke at $229,000 (this is a quite reasonable ratio). If the lowest-paid got a 10% pay rise and Szoke hypothetically got a 15% pay rise, increasing inequality within Oxfam, who would be a victim? Who would be worse off?
Incidentally, either Szoke is paid too much or her UK Oxfam counterpart, CEO Mark Goldring, is paid too little. Szoke last year got $229,000 for running the Australian group with its $91 million revenue and 627 staff, while Goldring got the equivalent of $293,800 for running the UK group with $871m revenue and 2230 staff. Oxfam Australia says Oxfam aims for its top salaries to be in the lower quartile of what similar organisations pay:
We believe this is fair reward for a job that involves long hours, large amounts of time away from family and overseeing an organisation that runs everything from a national retail[iii] and wholesale network to major emergency responses and long term development work to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people.[iv]
Oxfam UK last year launched an “Even it up” campaign against inequality, involving 1700 blogs and more than a million tweets, with an endorsement from ex-UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. In 2005, a UN panel took Annan to task for mis-management of the corrupted $US64 billion Iraq oil-for-food program, finding that Annan’s son, Kojo, took advantage of his father’s job to profit from the system.[v] Panel leader, US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, said Kofi Annan had not been found to be corrupt but “his behavior has not been exonerated by any stretch of the imagination”. Kofi Annan seems a strange mascot for an Oxfam inequality drive.
Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)
[i] Some kindred groups are even more over-the-top about global warming than Oxfam. Christian Aid UK, which originally worked to aid post-war refugees, has predicted that “a further 1 billion people will be forced from their homes between now  and 2050.”
[ii] The link is now dead
[iii] Despite constant plans for remedies, the Australian Oxfam shops (sales $12.5m) have run $0.5m-$2m annual losses since 2007 and possibly earlier. The UK shops, by contrast, make a 25% profit margin on sales.
[iv] This explanation seems to be cut-and-pasted from the UK website, which says in almost the same words, “Our Trustees believe this [Goldring’s pay] is fair reward for a job that involves long hours, large amounts of time away from family and overseeing a £360 million organisation that runs everything from a 700-branch national shop network to major emergency responses and long term development work to improve the lives of the poorest people on the planet.”
[v] At least $US13 billion was rorted, including $US1.7b straight to Saddam Hussein in kickbacks.
Are you thinking of an annual donation to Oxfam Australia to help those dirt-poor people in the Third World? Actually, you would be helping to finance Oxfam’s dark-green push to destroy the Australian coal and petroleum industry. Oxfam’s latest climate document gloats that destroying these industries would represent a $100 billion per annum hit to the federal government’s export expectations.
“The shift to a 2degC [warming] pathway would see annual export revenue from coal, gas and iron ore fall to AUD100b less than the Australian government’s current projections ,” enthuses Oxfam’s climate guru, Dr Simon Bradshaw, who wants a zero-emissions Australia well before 2050. So who is Bradshaw? He’s a “climate leader” in Al Gore’s official team of global warming propagandists, also a former climate campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation and a PhD (in philosophy) from Melbourne University, an institution which seems to specialise in promoting green zealotry and anti-growth ideologies (e.g. it now runs 1300 “sustainability” researchers at a cost of $218m p.a.).
Bradshaw did his thesis on contrasts between Tibetan ecology and “over-consumption in the modern industrial world”. As his thesis puts it:
On the one hand, our continued desire for growth at a time of ever more dire warnings of ecological collapse can look like collective insanity. However, a brief reflection on the complex and entrapping nature of modern economic systems soon serves to illustrate some of the difficulties in breaking free from the shackles of the past and moving beyond the growth economy ….
The result, to use a popular analogy, becomes something akin to thinking we are flying when in fact our aeroplane is plummeting from the skies, the ground rushing up ever more rapidly towards us. Strangely, only the more inquisitive or concerned are aware of what’s coming. The majority remain oblivious or choose to ignore the inevitable impending crash…
Meanwhile, within the world’s most ‘advanced’ and economically prosperous industrial nations, apparent rises in incidence of psychoses (including particularly depression) coupled with trends in obesity, marital break-up, heart disease, cancer, drug use, prisoner numbers and a variety of other societal ills suggest that ‘happiness’ is on the decline and give cause to re- evaluate the social success of capitalism….”
The Bradshaw paper for Oxfam, “Powering Up Against Poverty” (July 2015), is yet another spruik for December’s Paris climate talks. Bradshaw has high hopes that the attendees will sign a binding deal to (supposedly) keep warming to only 2C, thereby “giving legal force to the call to leave 80% of fossil fuels in the ground…that will be a legal imperative and there will be no way to get around it.”
Oxfam, a taxpayer-subsidised charity, has made its goal to keep more than 90% of Australia’s coal in the ground. That is, we are to waste 100 years’ worth of potential black coal output and 500 years’ of brown coal output. Bradshaw seems unaware that the so-called “carbon budget” for 2C warming (Oxfam prefers 1.5degC) is based on climate models that are running between two and four times hotter than actual climate. Nor has he noticed what is now nearly a 19-year halt (so far) to global warming.
Bradshaw loves hyperbole. “Our first responsibility is to phase coal out of our own energy mix…We must have a concrete plan for the managed and equitable transition away from coal towards renewables, including removing billions of dollars in subsidies (note 155) to the coal industry and ramping up support for the renewables sector.”
His footnote 155 for those imaginary billions in coal subsidies is an Australian Conservation Foundation paper. Reality check: the Productivity Commission puts effective assistance rates to the mining industry in 2013-14 at 0.1% (i.e. damn-all), compared with, say, the 8.4% for cars and parts.
A report for the Minerals Council of Australia elaborates: “In aggregate, subsidies for electricity generation from renewable sources amounted to almost $2.8 billion in 2013-14, more than 19 times the subsidies paid to generation from fossil fuels ($145 million).” Of the renewables’ total, solar photo-voltaic (PV ) power was gifted with more than $2 billion in subsidies, and wind $388m.
The report’s zinger is that subsidies for gas-fired electricity were less than 1 cent per megawatt hour (MWh), and for coal-fired electricity less than $1 per MWh. Meanwhile, wind was subsidised to the tune of $42 per MWh, while solar bagged a gigantic $412 per MWh. In Europe, Germany alone has subsidized its renewables by 90 billion Euros ($A140 billion) over the past six years.
Bradshaw trustingly quotes physics Nobel winner and ardent warmist Brian Schmidt, who opines that our coal won’t be needed, insisting we have more advantages in renewable energy than fossil energy. Why? “We have arguably the best renewable energy sources in the world, in the form of large expanses of land that can feed wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear energy if we felt that was the right thing to do,” says Schmidt. Talented as he is in astronomy, the Nobel winner’s economics nous is still at the kindergarten stage.
It is only in Bradshaw’s dreams that solar and wind are racing towards being competitive with fossil-fuel power. Savor the bleating from green-energy providers whenever governments cut back on taxpayer- or consumer-financed subsidies; wind and solar plans collapse like pricked balloons. As one UK green-energy spokesman put it last month, after the UK slashed subsidies, “We can expect to see a wholesale collapse in solar take-up by homeowners and businesses.”
In any event, even with eight- and nine-figure subsidies, solar and wind are negligible as sources of electricity generation. In the EU last year, where Germany, Italy and Spain have invested billions in panels, solar comprises only 3% of electricity generation. Globally, it’s under 1% andvirtually invisible on any bar chart. And as a share of total energy consumption, it’s a mere 0.3%.
Wind is doing better, at 3% of global electricity sourcing, or the equivalent of total combined German and Dutch power generation. But the 2014 BP Energy Report comments (emphasis added):
Government support remains the single most important factor behind the fast growth of wind generation. ..The growing share of wind power in the electricity mix also presents unique operational challenges to grid operators. Because of the unreliability of wind power (reflected in a low utilization factor of around 25%), adding more wind generation capacity to the grid increases the need to boost the percentage of overall plant capacity set aside to provide ancillary services.
Thus, unsubsidized solar and wind power remain a mirage, however much their advocates claim that break-even is just over the horizon, and however grandiose (or impossible) national renewables targets may be.
Bradshaw’s argument seeks to lay a smokescreen against the self-evident argument that coal-fired electricity raises living standards in poor nations. Bjorn Lomborg, to cite but one source, estimates that coal has brought 680 million Chinese people out of energy poverty over the last 30 years. One part of Bradshaw’s counter-claim is, of course, that emissions from coal-fired electricity growth, if unchecked, will turn the world into a global-warming hell in 50 to 100 years. (As if the climate models are not already running, asmentioned earlier, two to four times too hot. As if a peasant with a child dying of pneumonia or malaria cares a hoot about possible climate problems in 2050-99.
His other argument is that mains-electricity grids won’t help the Third World’s rural poor, who he supposes will be better off with stand-alone renewables such as solar panels. In niche situations, and with subsidies, perhaps.
I checked with a local charity, Pollinate Energy, that supplies 3-watt solar lights for Third World dwellings (I’m using a 10 watt lamp on my computer desk at the moment). The solar lamps cost $50-100 each. Pollinate also supplies the Greenway Smart Stove, since stoves emitting wood and dung-fumes indoors are a huge killer from respiratory diseases. But these “smart” stoves aren’t solar – they just burn biomass (eg., wood) more efficiently. A Pollinate spokeswoman explained that a solar stove would need a big panel area and batteries, and would be far too expensive for poor villagers. Solar cooking may be “available technology” in Bradshaw’s view, but who pays for it?
The same cost problem applies with solar refrigeration. As soon as you scale-up solar power for heavy duties — for food storage, say, or to keep medicines refrigerated in a clinic — the cost and required subsidies blow out too. Plus you’re still going to need back-up from diesel or the mains grid.
Bradshaw, for all his green credentials, has no answer to the need for vastly increased – and hence fossil-fuel, hydro or nuclear-powered electricity — in the cities of the Third World. The cities must have reliable, cheap electricity to bring light, power, heating and cooling to homes; enable food storage and pumped water and sewerage; enable industry and infrastructure jobs; and run the IT and communications revolutions. The very engines of global economic growth, as in China and India, involves myriad rural under-employed moving into more productive urban work requiring reliable energy. Amanda Hodge in The Australian, September 5, drew an horrific picture of a dense Delhi slum where people pool their meager funds ($4 per household per month) to get a diesel generator going for two hours a night, just to get one 20W light going in each household so kids can do their homework. The chance of this slum affording renewable power would be zero. She quotes an Indian energy leader, Arunabha Ghosh: “For India to manage its energy system over the next 10 to 15 years is not a binary choice of coal or no coal. It’s got to be about cleaner coal combined with nuclear and hydro power.”
Further, Bradshaw tries to argue that even in cities, coal-fired power is bad because of particulates and noxious gases. His non-solution is renewables-derived electricity (at what cost?) rather than straight-forward cleaning-up of the sooty emitters, largely industry and transport rather than power stations. London in 1952 was as smog-laden as a modern Chinese city; London solved that by regulating sooty emissions.
Bradshaw makes much of Indian solar plans, but the reality is that solar today provides a mere 1.4% of Indian power generation. India’s system as a whole is barely coping, with blackouts common and a desperate need to expand mains capacity. Australia’s high-grade thermal coal is ideal for fuelling this Indian growth of supercritical (ie clean modern) power stations. India increased its coal consumption last year by a whopping 11%, with consumption more than doubling in the past decade. India is targeting 1.5 billion tonnes of coal production by 2020, some 250% more than the 600 million tonnes this year. Despite huge global coal use in the past 20 years, current world proven reserves are still equivalent to 110 years’ consumption. Their value is astronomic: it takes special green madness to want to forfeit such wealth.
City populations will increase by about 2.5 billion in the next 35 years, including nearly 1 billion in Africa. Over time, as in China now, rising national wealth enables the coal-based mains grids to extend to more remote areas and bring them into the 21st century.
Bradshaw falls back on apocalyptic CO2 scares to make his anti-coal case. The past centuries’ warming of under 1C is already, he claims, “creating havoc for many of the world’s poorest people, who are already feeling the impacts of climate change through decreased crop yields, increased risk of disasters, and loss of land.” It’s especially hard to see how the past 18 years of no global warming is doing damage.
The reality — and it doesn’t suit Oxfam’s playbook — is that the past century’s fossil-fuel era has taken human well-being (life-span, living standards, water, health, safety from natural disasters) to record heights, with no sign of any slowing and all this simultaneously having reduced inequality among the global population. This has been accompanied by improvements to the biosphere, with the planet greening and conversion of wild land to farmland now plateauing.
Crop yields have improved steadily across the world, along with better food distribution. Between 1961 and 2013, cereal yields increased by 85% in the least-developed countries and 185% worldwide, with no sustained sign of the trend decelerating, let alone reversing.
The converse also applies: hitting fossil-fuel use reverses living standards and augments poverty. This was illustrated when subsidies for biofuels diverted land from food-growing and pushed 30 million people into absolute poverty (and 192,000 premature deaths) in 2010 alone.
Strangely, Oxfam challenges other the warmists’ advocacy of diverting food production to biofuel while buying-in to the rest of the global-warming policy hysteria. It agrees that filling an average size car with biofuel consumes as much maize as the average African consume in an entire year. Less food for people means more prices go up. “Industrial farming of biofuels also results in large amounts of CO2 into atmosphere, accelerating climate change and reversing the positive effect that cleaner fuels have.”
Bradshaw ought to wonder that if his warmist co-travellers could get it so wrong on biofuels, what else is cock & bull?
He likes to quote uplifting case studies, such as Bangladesh. If Bangladeshi politicians can be believed, that country will become the world’s first ‘solar nation’ thanks to massive rooftop and other solar rollouts. The reality, as the country’s Power Ministry puts it: “Unfortunately, renewable energy cannot compete to achieve grid parity at the moment.” Only 60% of the population of 155 million has access to any electricity and the country is in energy crisis.
Problems include corruption in administration, high system losses, delays in completion of new plants, low plant efficiencies, erratic power supply, electricity theft, blackouts, and shortages of funds for power plant maintenance. Overall, the country’s generation plants have been unable to meet system demand over the past decade.
Immediate plans are for solar power for another 6 million homes (total, about 10 million), averaging 39 watts each or enough for a few light globes. Anything more will have to wait on reliable mains power.
Another case study quoted by Bradshaw is Djibouti. This Horn of-Africa basket-case aims for 100% renewable power by 2020, through geothermal, wind and solar power, plus more purchases from the Ethiopian hydro-power grid (already supplying 60% of the country’s power). Djibouti has 60% unemployment; 40% of the population is in absolute poverty; and its legal/financial infrastructure is rudimentary. Its energy plans are grandiose, given it currently has nothing but a few solar installations in some villages, and an equally low number of wind pumps. As a poster child for Third World renewable power, Djibouti doesn’t really cut it.
Bradshaw claims that coal is yesterday’s fuel. He is right only to the extent that President Obama’s war on coal, and competition from fracked gas, has shredded US coal companies’ share prices. Peabody Coal shares are down from about $US73 four years ago to barely $US1 today. Billionnaire George Soros, one of Obama’s oligarchs, has been buying coal shares, sniffing to make a killing from Obama’s anti-coal vendetta.
But globally, coal is going gang-busters. Coal provides fuel for more than 40% of global power generation. Coal-fired power doubled from 1990 to 2012, bringing 800 million people to electricity for the first time. The IEA projects an extra 750GW of coal-fired electricity globally by 2040, about half of that in China. To put those numbers in perspective, Australia’s total electricity capacity from all sources is 47GW.
Another Bradshaw and Oxfam specialty is the “drowning Pacific islands” meme. They don’t know that so-called drowning islands like Tuvalu are in fact expanding, and that atoll erosions are a result of over-population and mismanagement, not rising seas. Instead, Bradshaw’s Oxfam report features 30 Pacific “climate warriors” dancing about in grass skirts and blockading Newcastle coal freighters with canoes, for the benefit of 350.org zealots making climate-propaganda videos.
He suggests that Cyclone Pam, which devastated Vanuatu in 2015 (Bradshaw erroneously says 2013), was somehow global- warming related. If he’s talking sea-level rises, latest numbers are that the rate is a mere 1.8mm a year, or 18cm per century, way below the 50cm promulgated by the IPCC.
Bradshaw and Oxfam are big on Australia paying its ‘fair share’ into the proposed $US100 billion per annum fund for Third World countries to convert to renewable energy (and/or to pad dictators’ Swiss bank accounts). As top-tier climate people frankly admit – see here and here the funds transfers from first to third world states are one aspect of what the climate game is really about. Oxfam sees no contradiction in impoverishing Australia by destroying its export base, while also demanding that the government amps up our overseas aid.
Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)
 at 9.30mins.
 Fyfe JC, Gillett NP, and Zwiers W (2013), Overestimated global warming over the past 20 years. Nature Climate Change 3: 767.
 FAOSTAT, October 6, 2014
 Goklany IM (2011). Could biofuel policies increase death and disease in developing countries? Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 16(1): 9–13.
The global warming community has stepped up its call for the prosecution of sceptics. The latest: 20 US scientists wrote this month to President Obama calling for prosecutions of sceptics under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), previously used against the mafia and the tobacco industry (for suppressing evidence of dangers of smoking).
This letter has become an own-goal for two of the signatories, who have been double-dipping big-dollar salaries from their government-funded climate foundation, additional to their salaries as professors.
Noted climate scientist Judith Curry[i] responded to the letter:
“What you have done is the worst kind of irresponsible advocacy, which is to attempt to silence scientists that disagree with you by invoking RICO.”
She wrote that the 20 scientists damage not only their own reputations, but also the public perception of scientists as trustworthy sources of information: “Most seriously, the coercion of scientists implied by this letter will discourage objectivity in scientific research and will discourage scientists from entering/staying in the field of climate research.”
The science is sufficiently uncertain, she added, to allow several rational narratives for what has caused 20th century warming and how the 21st century climate will evolve.
The RICO20 letter says,
We are now at high risk of seriously destabilizing the Earth’s climate and irreparably harming people around the world, especially the world’s poorest people.” So what’s needed is “a RICO investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change.
The letter finishes:
If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done.
The lead signatory is Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University. He was a lead IPCC author in 2007, and in 2010 was even cited as a possible next chair of the IPCC, succeeding alleged sex-harasser Rajendra Pachauri.[i]. Shukla was outed last week for paying himself and wife Anne $US1.5 million from government climate grants for part-time work over the three years 2012-14.
Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado said that the Shukla couple’s handsome stipend is additional to Jagadish Shukla’s $US250,000 annual professorial salary. “That totals to $US750,000 per year to the leader of the RICO20 from public money for climate work and going after sceptics. Good work if you can get it!” Pielke Jr. observed. Shukla runs his government grants through the ‘non-profit’ Institute of Global Environment & Society Inc. of which he is President and CEO. The couple’s half-million annual draw includes $US166,000 payment for Anne Shukla’s work as “business manager”.
Who decides the salaries of the non-profit’s executives? The answer, according to a Pielke tweet: “Grad school chum & 2 family friends. Cannot make this up.” He has further noted that the Shuklas’ two daughters were also on the payroll – one, a Sonia Shukla, shows up as “assistant to the president“. Pielke’s suggestion to the mainstream media, “investigative reporters, you are welcome,” has so far prompted no interest.
Another signatory, Paul Dirmeyer, gets his full-time professor’s salary at Paul Mason University, presumably comparable with Shukla’s $US250,000. Dirmeyer’s CV shows he has been with the “Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies” (COLA) as senior research scientist from 2011 (and from 2001-10 as associate research scientist). COLA turns out to be an entity of Shukla’s foundation. Research scientists at COLA pick up pay of around $US125,000-130,000, according to the foundation’s tax filings. As blogger-sleuth Paul Homewood concludes, “Dirmeyer has clearly profited greatly from the public purse over the years. Little surprise then that he is so keen for sceptics to be silenced.”
The Shukla institute’s purpose is “to provide society with weather and climate information.” It has received more than $US16 million in government funding over just the past four years.
Let’s take a look at some other RICO20 signatories:
Signatory Ed Maibach, like Shukla, is a George Mason professor, and director of the Center for Climate Change Communication. Far from being a “climate scientist”, he’s a PhD in communication research, in George Mason’s largely government-funded Center for Climate Change Communication. He enjoys several government grants for “how public engagement in climate change can be expanded and enhanced.”
Limiting climate change…will require significant public engagement in the issue so that difficult decisions can be made by members of the public and policy makers. Our center was created to conduct unbiased social science research that will facilitate such public engagement.
The centre has an extraordinarily large staff for what is, essentially, a warmist PR operation. Of the top sixteen positions, fifteen are at professor or assistant-professor level, and none appears to have climate science qualifications. Attached to the centre are another thirteen high-level external affiliates and, below them, a further team of PhD students. Blogger Paul Homewood writes:
It could hardly be a more incestuous relationship. NASA pumps funding into the Center in order to persuade the public of the terrors of global warming, which in turn will help to maintain their own funding, which can then be used to further ramp up the scare. It is no wonder Mr Maibach is so keen to sign the letter, and silence sceptics.
Keep in mind that this lavish US centre, dedicated solely to climate-alarm propaganda, is but one of a myriad taxpayer-funded climate-research and climate-PR operations. Yet one of the RICO20 letter signatories, Lisa Goddard, a couple of years ago was chiding President Obama for “not supplying adequate funding for climate research.”
RICO20 signatory Kevin Trenberth became a household-word name thanks to his Climategate email of 12 October, 2009 (emphasis added):
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data … shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
Meanwhile, the global warming halt has extended to 18 years and 8 months.
RICO20 signatory, Alan Robock, of Rutgers University, was an honoured guest of dictator Fidel Castro in 2010. Robock rhapsodised of his Castro-financed suite at Havana’s “nicest” hotel and chauffeured black Mercedes. “Everyone was so nice to me… Fidelito [Fidel’s son] left me a present with his card. And Fidel was very polite and friendly, with a great sense of humor.”
RICO20 signatory Barry Klinger had the shame only last week to write, “No one is trying to throw anyone in jail”. He doesn’t want sceptics physically suppressed “even if they disagree with me and even if they disagree with most scientists in the field” – a noble sentiment. He says he just wants fossil fuel companies to be put in the dock for fraudulently selling CO2 emitting and planet-harming products, such as, presumably, petrol and coal-fired electricity.
The RICO20 letter as its evidence for sceptic villainy cites one study by a sociologist, Robert Brulle, and half-a-dozen polemical books, such as Naomi Oreske’s risible “Merchants of Doubt” about supposed tobacco/skeptic parallels.[ii] Brulle’s revelation was that sceptics are funded by hundreds of millions of dollars of anonymous “dark money”. (Al Gore, personally worth $US200 million, tweeted encouragement to Brulle).
Maybe the 91 conservative groups Brulle checked did have $US900m a year income. But his study also said, ‘Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities.’ For perspective, a leading US conservative think-tank, Heartland Foundation, spent about $US1.5 million (that’s not a typo!) on climate scepticism in 2011. Its current annual revenue in total is about $US7m. This compares with US federal funding of the warmist community of about $US31 billion annually. Government $US16m funding for the Shukla family’s institute alone, for one-sixth of its existence since 1991, contrasts markedly with top sceptic bloggers funded by tip jars.
One estimate is that, in current dollars, Shukla’s foundation has collected about $US100m in total.
German climate scientist Sebastian Luening, whose speciality is the climate influence of sunspot cycles, writes (translated by Pierre Gosselin):
Rather than criminal lawsuits, we urgently need an objective ‘scientific court’ where arguments of both IPCC and skeptic sides are technically and open-mindedly discussed. It is undemocratic and unprofessional to silence scientists by legally threatening them if they do not subscribe to the official interpretation / party line. There are many historic examples where science pioneers such as Galileo Galilee or Alfred Wegener [1912 originator of continental drift theory] would have ended up in prison.
US meteorologist Joe Bastardi, Chief Forecaster WeatherBell Analytics, whose business lives or dies by the accuracy of its weather forecasts, concludes,
I fail to see how any of these signees can be objective, given all they have to lose if they are indeed proven wrong by nature itself. That they actually would do such a thing speaks volumes as to their character, which is no different than a bully on the playground, except their playground is other peoples lives and their protected towers from which they seek to dictate their agenda.
Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)
[i] .[i] Pachauri is currently fighting police charges of sex predation, involving a young female employee at his research institute TERI.
[ii] Oreskes is an enthusiast for prosecutions of skeptics. She told a seminar, ‘I think a RICO style of prosecution [is suitable] if a smart lawyer thought there was some aspect of the law that had been broken’
The ego has landed. Anne Summers, “Australian legend”[i] and publisher of the Anne Summers Reports e-magazine, has been running a three-day celebratory conference on Anne Summers, author 40 years ago of Damned Whores and God’s Police. Keynote Speaker: Anne Summers. Supported by Destroy the Joint and convened at UTS Sydney, tickets were going for $330, plus $35 for cocktails and $130 for dinner.
I feel that three days would have been inadequate for proper homage to Anne (we’re on first-name terms) and in protest, I reluctantly boycotted the great woman’s celebration of a great woman. It was a sacrifice, though, as the list of engrossing sessions included “Viva La Vulva”, “Shaping Our Feminist Future”; “Sex workers, sluts and deviant women”, “Women online: Virtual violence, real harm” and the not-to-be-missed “Feminism Today: From Suffragettes to SlutWalkers and beyond”. If that was not enough fun, I also forsook Eurydice Aroney, film-maker of La Revolte des Prostitutes, and UTS’s Belinda Middleweek, addressing “Real Sex Films”.
Non-Anne Summers speakers include Bill Shorten’s mother-in-law, Quentin Bryce, and Penny Wong. Then there was ACTU President Ged Kearney, ACTU vice-president Sally McManus, and The Drum TV’s Julia Baird (Anne’s personal partner, Chip Rolley, is The Drum editor). Plus the ABC’s ubiquitous Annabel Crabb, journalism expert Jenna Price; gay rights activist Dennis Altman; Andrew Bolt’s right-to-offend nemesis Larissa Behrendt (mis-spelled by Summers in her magazine as “Larrisa”)’ who was booked to give “an indigenous woman’s perspective” on whatever. Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick was slated to be there, as was Renee Carr, chair of the loopy Australian Youth Climate Coalition; Georgina Dent, associate editor of Mamamia, and Lyndall Ryan, billed as the “key target in the Aboriginal History Wars”, were other marquee names
Non-luvvies (not many) includes ex-Army chief David Morrison and speakers against female genital mutilation – a good cause. However, I was disappointed to see nothing in this feminists’ conference program about Islamic conquerers converting thousands of Christian and Yazidi girls and women to sex slaves available for sale and barter (average price, $160). A demo would have gone down well, Anne, if only the pressing need to address the social impact of slutwalking and the like did not take up so much time.
Meanwhile, I absorb the latest issue of Anne Summers Reports – Sane, Factual, Relevant, which I received by email on August 20. Anne says this issue “might be our strongest yet.” But wait! What’s this in my inbox on August 24? Another “Anne Summers Reports – Sane, Factual, Relevant”, with Anne’s letter saying,
“Dear Tony, I am sending you the latest issue of ASR again because we discovered a few mistakes in the version we sent you last Thursday. My apologies for this. Here is a revised – and we hope! – an error free copy.”
To rely, as Anne’s magazine does, on voluntary funding is pretty brave, so it’s no wonder she is “limping along on an overdraft”. In the latest 90 pages, there is only a one-page ad for Qantas, a small ad for a travel company, and a page for Ernst & Young, which is a sponsor of the mag. Originally, Anne was rather sniffy about ads:
I am not averse to advertising, the right sort of advertising I certainly would be willing to entertain that, but essentially I am going to be doing what President Obama did in the political sphere, ask a lot of people for a little bit of money.
Now, in Issue 13, Anne appeals,
Running a free magazine is an expensive business. I AM GOING TO BE BLUNT. WE NEED MONEY… Our accountant has calculated that we need $250,000 to cover our expenses for a year. It is not a huge amount of money, but it would make a huge difference to us.
It would pay for six issues, allowing us to continue to pay writers, artists, photographers and the small two-person team of art director [Stephen Clark] and managing editor [Foong Ling Kong], who ensure we publish a magazine of quality. It would also cover our other running costs, things like insurance, accounting, the wages of my part-time assistant, the cost of our website and allow for some marketing and promotion.
We have financed ourselves to date on ticket sales and some corporate sponsorship from our Conversation events, and on donations from you, our readers.
This income has been most welcome but it has not been quite enough to cover our expenses. So we are limping along on an overdraft and need to find additional sources of income to guarantee our future.
We need to invest. I am convinced we can get advertising if we could hire someone to ‘sell’ what we have to offer… Our events could produce more income if we had the resources to reach bigger audiences.
I am grateful beyond measure to the dozens of you [what a mean bunch we 15,500 subscribers are!] who have donated to us over the past two years…
If each of our 15,500 subscribers gave $160, that would pretty much cover it.
I know not everyone can afford that amount. But I would appreciate whatever you can manage as a sign of your support.
To be totally “crowd-funded” by our own readers would make us very powerful: a totally independent media company.
The economics of publishing an eponymous e-magazine must get confusing at times. On page 88 she says $160 from her 15,500 subscribers will get her off the hook, but on page 85 she says only $100 per head “will ensure we become financially viable for the long term.” Odd. The magazine names its regular donors, but there are only 17 of them listed, one of them being Shorten in-law Quentin Bryce. The company Anne Summers Reports Pty Ltd., registered on 20/9/2013, doesn’t have to file accounts so I’m none the wiser about how her previous donations were spent.
On the cup-rattling page of her website, Summers discloses that each issue costs about $20,000 to produce, excluding rent, equipment and other, unspecified overheads. Writers, artists, photographers “and the tiny (and part-time) editorial team” these days get paid, whereas for the first issues of two years ago their reward was the simple pleasure of burnishing Summer’s glory. She is doing her best to sell ads, she swears, “but we will always need your support…Every donation, however small, helps. Whichever way you donate, and however much you give, please know how much we appreciate it. Without you, there’d be no us,” she writes. Deeply moved, I donated another $2 through PayPal (additional to my $1 in 2012). Yes, we are us!
She’s had her ups and downs in business and I hope Anne Summers Reports succeeds, although Issue #13 is still rhapsodising about ex-PM Julia’s misogyny speech three years ago. (“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man”, it reads on my souvenir tea-towel). Lest we forget, Julia’s speech was in defence of hand-picked Speaker, Peter Slipper, who had made misogynous comparisons of female genitals to shelled mussels.
Anne’s business ‘downs’ were in New York in the late 1980s. I wouldn’t disinter such tribulations except that Anne, my mentor in the reporting art, thought it quite OK in her profiling of Andrew Bolt to quote his girlfriend from 30 years before, a former belly dancer now in her 50s, who dished the dirt on the future columnist, then but a callow cadet journalist. Dredging even deeper into the Bolt pedigree, Anne uncovered and shared the remarkable scoop that Bolt’s late mother, Margarethe, spent her childhood in Aalsmeer, Holland, “notorious for having had a Nazi mayor during World War 11.” A great “gotcha” re Bolt’s mum, Anne!
I’ll let Anne give her own account of the New York debacle of 1987-89:
I was appointed North American manager for Fairfax… Sandra [Yates] came over from Sydney to start Sassy magazine [a lookalike of Australia’s “Dolly”]. She was with the magazine division of Fairfax…She discovered that Ms magazine was for sale. And the two of us got together and Sandra said, ‘Well, wouldn’t it be a great adventure if we could get Fairfax to buy Ms. And we could set up the two magazines together and I could be the editor of Ms…’ And that’s what happened.
Shortly after, Warwick Fairfax the Younger put up Fairfax’s overseas assets for sale. Yates and Summers in mid-1988 instead organised their own management-leveraged buyout of the magazines to the tune of $US20million — $US14 million purchase price and $US6 million operating capital. Their entity was named Matilda Publications Inc., which was backed by Citicorp Venture Capital Partners and the State Bank of New South Wales.
Yates says that six weeks after they bought the mags, the religious Right targeted Sassy over its [minor] sex education content, lamenting “in the space of a week we lost our five largest advertisers.” Added Summers: “$25 million worth of advertising in a very short time. And that was the beginning of the end.”
The magazines accumulated losses until August, 1989, despite circulation gains, and the financiers, who had reportedly sunk $US35m into the exercise, pulled the plug. A US buyer then put the magazines under new management. While Summers and Yates blamed the religious Right for their business’s demise, others also cited Ms Magazine’s ill-advised extension of political coverage, and Ms Magazine’s ‘declaration of war’ on the Reagan administration over abortion rights.
- She finds “almost unnerving” the parallels [huh?] between Menzies trying to ban the Communist Party in 1950 and (now ex-PM) Tony Abbott wanting to strip terrorists of their dual Australian citizenship. “The prime minister has been impervious to arguments about the intelligence and propaganda value former terrorists could provide,” she wrote. “If we really want to stop young Australians from being radicalised, then shouldn’t we be using potential assets such as ex-militant Zaky Mallah to warn off Muslim teenagers from signing up with the jihadists. Instead, for short-term political gain, Mr Abbott has gone all out to use Mallah to turn up the political temperature, scorch the national broadcaster and anyone else who gets in the way on this perilous political warpath.”
Definitely, Anne! Zaky is a great role model for Muslim teenagers, e.g. with his tweet that two female News Corp Australia journalists, Miranda Devine and Rita Panahi, should be “gang banged”.
- She enthused last year about Andrew Bolt’s conviction under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act for offensively querying the “aboriginality” of various people. She finds it “preposterous” that anyone can “choose” to belong to an ethnic group.
Personally, I have chosen to identify as Welsh, land of my (distant) fathers.
- Anne mocks claims there is a “mortal threat” to freedom of speech involved in the climate change debate.
As an habitue of academia, where she is showered with honorary degrees, she ought to know about academics lusting to criminally prosecute the “deniers”. For example, Melbourne University’s Professor Peter Christoff caused not a tittle of disquiet in a packed high-level seminar when he called for “substantial fines and perhaps bans on certain broadcasters and individuals whom I will not name, who stray from the dominant science without any defensible cause.” He said such a course “would have a disciplinary effect on public debate.”
Richard Parncutt, Melbourne University alumnus, now a professor at Graz, took it further and called for unrepentant deniers to be executed.
- Anne calls The Australian’s Chris Kenny a hypocrite because he extolls free speech as a fundamental right but then sued her ABC for defamation just for depicting him buggering a dog. Anne writes,
Mr Kenny has one standard for his own free speech and another for other people’s. When you prick people like Mr Kenny, they don’t bleed. They burst into tears and run sobbing to their lawyers… His feelings were hurt. So he sued.
Anne’s sophistry aside, Kenny had never called for the repeal of the long-standing laws of defamation. Nor had he advocated the right to falsely shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre.
- Anne says no-one is “banned” from re-publishing the Andrew Bolt column for which he was convicted under Section 18C.
She’s right, technically. Re-publish it at will, the court says, provided you also publish the court’s “corrective notice” prominently and immediately adjacent.
- Anne claims ex-PM John Howard was never called “a liar”, unlike poor Julia who copped it over her carbon tax backflip.
To the contrary, Age cartoonist Ron Tandberg, for one, called Howard a liar so regularly that, at a public seminar in 2007, I asked him to name any lie Howard had told. He couldn’t think of one.
- Anne says, with a straight face no less, that Greenpeace, whose international board she chaired for four years, “is trying to save the planet”. Words fail me.
I have an Anne Summers 2011 stamp still unused, because I can’t think of a respectful way to lick it.
Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)
[i] Postage stamp, Gillard era, 2011
SECRET: Report to Regional Director (WA) OF ASIO, 25/10/68
on “Communist Influence in the Information Media”.
15. “A somewhat unusual incident occurred in this media [ABC TV] in 1967 when intelligence received from “Q” sources indicated that ABC television operatives had approached the CPA [Communist Party of Australia] and asked them to organise a demonstration on Vietnam which the ABC would televise. The demonstration was duly held on 3/11/67 and filmed by an ABC television unit, but no details were obtained as to those persons in the ABC responsible for the approach to the CPA.”
The report says that four persons of security interest (though not directly associated with the CPA) were employed by the ABC in Western Australia in 1968. They were an education assistant, a secretary, and two journalists. The report says, “Potential for CPA influence in television would appear to be limited again to the national [ABC] network. However, apart from the incident mentioned in para 15, there has been no definite evidence of CPA influence.”
I sent off the queries below to the ABC ‘s hard-pressed media manager Nick Leys:
- Are the facts in Para 15 correct?
- The report says that the alleged facts were only “somewhat” unusual. Have there been other instances of the ABC organising Communist Party demonstrations? If so, I would appreciate details of when, where and why.
- Do current ABC reporting guidelines (in general) discourage ABC staff from organising Communist Party demonstrations? If so, which guideline(s) is relevant?
With commendable speed and courtesy, Nick replied,
Thanks but we won’t comment on something that allegedly happened almost five decades ago. However I will point out a central tenet of the ABC Editorial Policies, 1.3, which requires ABC staff to “ensure that editorial decisions are not improperly influenced by political, sectional, commercial or personal interests.
The ABC certainly covered the anti-Vietnam Moratorium in Melbourne in May, 1970, but I make no suggestion that the ABC organized it.
The ABC in Perth in 1967 was a public service monster of 700-800 people in myriad departments housed in a sprawling, 6300-square-metre complex occupying a whole block, from Adelaide Terrace to Terrace Road. Admin/management was concentrated on the Adelaide Terrace frontage, with the radio/TV people semi-isolated down on the river side.
Geoffrey Luck, who was Sydney chief of staff of ABC National News in 1967, says, “I would be absolutely certain this [ABC arranging a CPA demo] would have nothing to do with the News division.” News in those days abided by impartiality guidelines, but young staff, radicalised in their university days, were constantly wanting to put their personal views forward. As Luck puts it, “I had to tell a youngster, whose job was to interview celebrities arriving the airport, to take off his anti-Viet-war badge.”
“I can’t speak for ABC Perth but that demo episode sounds like something our This Day Tonight(TDT) might have generated. TDT was a loose cannon on a bucking ship, hard to control and causing enormous problems for management, like pulling pollies’ whiskers just for the fun seeing how they reacted. Maybe that Perth demo was just something they thought would be fun.”
One Perth ABC TV veteran says, “Absolutely nothing would surprise me when it came to the ABC. There was tremendous tension then between the conservative Perth ABC News team and the irreverent and opinionated Today Tonight[i] staffers who set out to air provocative stuff.”
I trotted over to the State Library of Victoria and checked The West Australian (where I worked from 1958-69) for a next-day report of an anti-Vietnam demo on Friday, November 3. Nothing was published. A Communist-led demo may still have happened, but gone unreported. As the ASIO report noted, “The West Australian pursues a conservative right-wing policy”.
The front-page of The West’s November 3, 1967 issue was chock-a-block with controversy over President Johnson’s then-current campaign to bomb North Vietnam to the negotiating table, Johnson insisting that it “was the right thing to do.” Whitlam was accusing Prime Minister Harold Holt of letting “thousands of Australian, American and Vietnamese soldiers die to prove a political point”, and on page three there was Paul Hasluck was saying there was “no doubt at all that South Vietnam and its allies would win the war.” Bad call.[ii] I figured that if anything could provoke Perth’s Communists onto the streets that day, Pages 1-3 of The West would suffice, with or without guidance from the ABC’s Today Tonight.
Now, back to ASIO’s secret report. Comprising three typed and single-spaced pages it seems a response to a demand from Canberra HQ for an update on Reds in the Perth media. Putting it together in only nine days for the WA Regional Director J.M. Gilmour was a good effort. It covered all print, even including the student paper Pelican and the ALP’s Western Sun, plus all radio and TV stations. I totted up 17 persons named as “of security interest”. The print pinks ranged from a staff printer on The Sunday Times to a talented and charismatic reporter on The West (a certain Anthony Paul THOMAS), along with a hotbed of security risks on The West’s afternoon stablemate Daily News, where one suspect was the assistant chief of staff.[iii]
I would be surprised if the ASIO report’s author was sloppy enough to include sheer fantasy about the ABC organizing a CPA demo on November 3. From the coding around the summary, it seems the ASIO author had drawn on four internal files about the matter. The ultimate source is described as a “Q source”, meaning an agent run by an ASIO staffer. These Q sources were scattered throughout the media at that time — spotters operating much like the IMs[iv] in East Germany (but less plentiful of course). For example, in 1966 someone advised ASIO that reporter Anthony Thomas had applied for and been granted two weeks leave from The West to go to Darwin. ASIO went into a flurry of checking airline ticketing but concluded he never went.
A Perth ABC source says, “I was told that embedded in the ABC were ASIO spotters; we never found out who they were. They could have been ex-military who were then in ABC administration. The message was to behave yourself, if you don’t you will be on report or something. Maybe the ASIO report about the demo was based on scuttlebutt overheard around the ABC coffee pot.”
ASIO intense scrutiny of ABC staff and programs at the time makes it even more mysterious that the demo deal was done under ASIO’s nose. For all the ABC’s professed independence, ASIO could promote conformity by denying security clearance to individuals. Historian David McKnight says,
Overall, at least throughout the 1950s and 60s, a security watchdog was peering over the shoulder of the ABC and regularly querying employees’ background and program content.
For example, in 1955, ABC Assistant General Manager Arthur Finlay asked ASIO to search ABC Radio’s kids’ show The Argonauts for subversives.
Finlay was worried “that dangers lie ahead” (as per The Argonauts theme song). Subversives in the Children’s Session could disguise their views and gradually exert their influence to put a pink slant on kiddies’ fare, Finlay thought. In 1958, the compere of Kindergarten of the Air, Joyce Hutchison, was a person of interest to ASIO. Finlay also asked ASIO to do a careful check on Children’s Session compere Leonard Teale, who went on to to play Senior Detective Mackay in Crawford Productions’ long-running Homicide .
The programs aired were also monitored by ASIO, alert for any left slant. The mere mention of Prague in an ABC radio travel serial was enough to generate an ASIO report (the show was found not guilty). ABC manager and writer/historian Clement Semmler in the 1960s had this on his ASIO file:
It is reported that Semmler, described as a strange, highly strung temperamental person, is a close friend of Frank Hardy, a CPA member and author and that Hardy has often called to see Semmler at the ABC.
ASIO applied a doctrine of lese majeste, literally. Disrespectful references on- or off-air to the Royal Family were followed up and the author’s file checked. An artist, Jack Child, wanted a job at the ABC but an informer deposed that Child had been overheard to make “scathing” remarks about the visit of Princess Alexandra. That was the last straw for ASIO, given that Child had a left or Communist past, although one operative suggested that Child was “not a communist” while observing “all artists were ‘queer people’ “.
Perth’s Communist Party offices were on the fourth floor of the southwest corner of the twee-Tudor London Court. Across the wall a fake Big Ben chimed on the quarter hours. Three floors below, Sir Walter Raleigh stood guard in plaster with London Mayor of history and legend Dick Whittington. The CPA State Secretary in 1967 was Sam Aarons (left), father of Laurie and Eric, Eastern States party stalwarts (Laurie became National Secretary).
If the ASIO story of the ABC approaching the ACP is true, Sam would have approved the broadcaster’s request for a demo. All important party decisions had to come from the top. Hence Sam’s personality is germane to my story (plus an opportunity to sex-up my dull narrative).
ASIO described Sam as “of sallow complexion, black curly hair, brown eyes, looks very Jewish”. Sam had been a truck driver for the Republicans in Spain — no comfy task as trucks were the prize targets of hostile aircraft.
Fond of purging dissidents and a Stalinist to the end (1971), he also spent a life in fertile pursuit of Communist women, the more beautiful the better. Ironically, he was, pre-war, on the party’s three-man Control Commission for moral disciplining of members. He concurrently embarked on a torrid affair with a young party woman Esme Odgers (right), “one of four beautiful sisters”, in the prose of Aarons family chronicler Mark Aarons. (“Esme Odgers” is not a pretty name but we’re talking real life here).
Party president, the oafish ex-lift driver Lance Sharkey, was also vying for Esme’s hand and other parts, so Sam lost his moral enforcer job and Esme had to write a Soviet-style grovelling self-criticism[v], despite which she was back in Sam’s arms within a month. Sharkey exiled Aarons to some remote post, but Sam had the second-last laugh when he and Esme went off together to fight for freedom in Spain. There, Esme dumped Sam for a wealthy Spanish husband and disappeared to Venezuela.
Sam arrived in Perth as new WA boss about 1948, once again under a cloud in the party over an affair with a young and married woman, according to poet-playwright Dorothy Hewett.[vi] “I find him totally irresistible,” she wrote, “A passionate, highly intelligent, charismatic man with a glamorous history.” London Court headquarters had a Marx & Boon quality or maybe 50 Shades of Red quality. “He bends me back on the desk in his office, but before we can consummate our affair we are interrupted by the old Party caretaker, locking up for the night…”
Sam tells her, “Sharkey has already told me that if there’s any more gossip about me and other women, I’ll be on the outer. He’s had it in for me ever since I stole his girlfriend in Spain.”
They live in a ménage a trois with Sam’s unwitting wife, until Dorothy finds another lover while Sam is on Eastern States party business. Sam threatens to blacken her name in the party all over Australia. Dorothy reports that, eventually, most of the WA State Committee went east “to escape the heavy hand of Sam Aarons.”
I’d have to say that Sam was an unlikely collaborator with ABC provocateurs, unless they were beautiful females.
Next question is whether the ambience and culture of ABC Current Affairs, circa 1960s, was compatible with sponsoring a CPA Viet demo? I’d have to say ‘yes’. Weirder things happened in that era. For example, Prime Minister Billy McMahon in April, 1971, told Parliament that the government wouldn’t permit reporter John Penlington to go to China for Four Corners unless he was first positively vetted by Ted Hill, then secretary of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist). Penlington didn’t go.[vii]
The tone at ABC Current Affairs in the 1960s had been set by Talks supervisor Allan Ashbolt, an ex-AIF commando turned actor and film-maker who led a coterie of aggressive ABC talent. He had been inspired by New York (so-called) intellectuals towards “democratic socialism”. In 1963 he took over Four Corners, and created a political storm with an unconventional take on the RSL. Though fairly mild, this program included as a talking head one Alec Robertson, editor of the Communist Party newspaper Tribune, opining that the RSL was thwarting citizens’ desire “to build for themselves a secure and peaceful future”. Though qualified for the program through his wartime service as an officer, Robertson looked shifty on the box, “a filling in a front tooth glinting under the lights”.[viii] Ashbolt was sacked from Four Corners but reinstated in 1964.
In 1967 Four Corners was joined by a kid brother, This Day Tonight, which began in April, 1967, seven months before the alleged ABC/CPA Perth demo in November. Historian Ken Inglis wrote, “The TDT approach was not merely to report events but to create them, especially by having people confront each other…both news and a kind of sport.” Shades of Q&A, circa 2015. Compere Bill Peach wrote, “There was no jealousy more intense than the jealousy between the different program divisions of the ABC.” TDT sometimes even paid interviewees to appear on TDT rather than News.
TDT set out to upset applecarts, and succeeded. An example was its second broadcast, which apart from speculating on ABC board appointments, featured author Frank Hardy, live to air, telling yarns. Hardy said overseas tourists loved Australians: “They all said the same thing. Finest people in the world, and the most generous too. They said the Australians would share anything they had, even give you the coat off their own back. The salt of the earth. There was just one thing to watch, they all said.”
“What’s that?” Bill Peach asked.
“They all said you have to watch out for those white bastards.”
The Perth version of TDT, Today Tonight, at the time of the demo was run by New Zealander Bruce Buchanan, who later went on to become Executive Producer of TDT in Sydney. There he became a thorn in the side of ABC top management over what they called “errors of judgement” and what staff called lively TV. Buchanan shook things up in WA with stunts like greeting random people in Albany, “G’day, you old bastard!” to see whether the term still caused offence.
The program’s Vietnam War coverage was provocative. Peach wrote that TDT was happy to give anti-Viet-war people a platform:
“We thought it was our job to pursue the truth, including the truth that many intelligent and loyal citizens believed that we were on the wrong track in Vietnam. It was TDT’s hottest potato, and the source of most accusations against us of bias.”
Historian Inglis instances TDT devoting an interview segment in 1968 to Communist journalist Malcolm Salmon, fresh from North Vietnam. In that same year, Bill Peach on TDT mistakenly claimed that two companies of Regular Army troops were standing by to quell an anti-war demo outside the St Kilda Road consulate of the US embassy. In November, 1971, TDT interviewed a draft-resister student on the run from police.
Sadly, despite all my verbiage above, we are not going to resolve whether rogue elements of the Perth ABC organised and filmed a CPA anti-war demo in 1967. The files show ASIO was in no doubt about it. Mad things did happen in those days, but the likelihood that Perth Communist supremo Sam Aarons would kow-tow to ABC journos is low. On the other hand, the gung-ho culture of ABC Current Affairs was amenable to such stunts, but ASIO informers in the ABC were a threat to anyone wanting to liaise with CPA headquarters. We have no newspaper evidence that the November 3 demo happened, but it was a propitious day for such a rally. So is the ASIO story true? I’ll give it a definite ‘Maybe’.
Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)
[i] Not to be confused with Channel 7’s later Today Tonight.
[ii] Two months earlier, ABC General Manager Talbot Duckmanton had been personally assured by President Johnson during a White House meeting that the war “was both just and winnable”. Ken Inglis, This is the ABC.
[iii] Several Daily News journalists, including the senior one mentioned, had in earlier years moonlighted from the Daily News at weekends putting together the WA page of the national Communist weekly Tribune. Justina Williams, Anger & Love, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1993, p157
[iv] Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter – unofficial cooperators
[v] “My behavior (sic) over the past 12 months has been such that it has been necessary for certain organizational measures to be taken against me, and has also necessarily called forth serious criticism of my actions…My renewal of the association with Comrade Aarons is indicative of the fact that I was willing to place my own personal inclinations and desires before the prestige and good name of the party…”
[vi] Wild Card, McPhee, S.Yarra, p138
[vii] Ken Inglis, This is the ABC. 1932-83, Black Inc. Melbourne, 2006
[viii] Rob Pullen, Four Corners, 25 Years. ABC, 1986.
In 2008, University of NSW Chancellor David Gonski awarded the university’s highest honor to a sexual predator and perjurer. Concurrently, the sexual predator and perjurer became the ‘godfather’ to the university’s Climate Change Research Centre, having been awarded the honor of opening the facility. Who was that man?
Answer: Dr Rajendra Pachauri, 75, the disgraced former head (2002-2015) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) whose sexual predator status was confirmed in May by a three-person Internal Complaints Committee of the TERI think-tank, of which Pachauri — amazingly – continues to be Director-General, albeit on leave.
The TERI committee upheld the complaints of a 29-year-old female researcher who was subjected to Pachauri’s hundreds of inappropriate messages, propositions and grabbings between September, 2013, and December, 2014. He is now separately arraigned on police charges that includemolestation, stalking, sexual harassment and criminal intimidation. If convicted, he could spend seven years in jail. Other women from TERI also have come forward with allegations strongly suggesting his predatory ways date back a decade or more.
And perjurer? Proven. Delhi High Court Judge K. Ramamoorthy found in a civil case in 1996 that Pachauri and his two TERI co-directors “have suppressed material facts and they have sworn to false affidavits.” The judge said (para 144) that management of TERI was unsafe in their hands.
You might think such a judgement would have been a career setback for Dr Pachauri. No way. Within a year of this judicial accolade, the Asian group in the UN voted Pachauri into the IPCC as their vice-chair, and in 2002 the corrupt and dictator-led majority of governments in the UN voted him in as IPCC chair.
In other words, he was not fit to run what was then a small Delhi eco-thinktank, but was nevertheless deemed fit soon after to run a UN climate outfit mustering trillion-dollar spending on a global energy and north-south makeover. Pachauri held that exalted posdition until February, 2015, when the harassment charges obliged him to step down.
An InterAcademy Council inquiry set up in 2010 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in the wake of the IPCC’s Himalayan-glaciers howlers in 2007, told him to step down, but Pachauri refused, determined to keep the chair until October this year. The police charges in February caused him to resign precipitately.
All this raises the question: How comfortable is the UNSW right now with its 2008 accolade to Dr Pachauri? I emailed UNSW media executive Denise Knight: “Is the UNSW taking any steps to review or revoke Dr Pachauri’s honorary doctorate?”
She emailed back the university’s official response: “As the matter is before the courts it is inappropriate for us to reach conclusions or take action at this stage.”
It is good that UNSW is tracking the Delhi court case and will at least contemplate the first-ever revocation of an honorary UNSW doctorate in the event that Pachauri is formally convicted as a sleazebag. Pachauri has been the darling not only of UNSW’s Chancellor Gonski but of Australian universities all over. Gonski, for instance, spoke of his “great joy” at merely being in Pachauri’s presence, not just UNSW in-house warmists Andy Pitman and Matt England, .
In 2013, for example, Pachauri dropped in on the Albert Deakin Research Institute (ADRI) at Deakin University — ADRI falsely calling him the “Nobel Peace Prize-winning panelist”, an unearned and imaginary honour it has cited more than once.
ADRI’s gorge-rising tribute to Pachauri began:
“Dr Pachauri’s gentle and unnassuming demeanour is testament to his life’s work: it seems only appropriate that one must assume such a persona when acting as something of a figurehead for sustainable futures.”
“The sheer delight of being able to do something for society is, I’m sure, of enormous appeal to young people, and we have to somehow give them an appreciation of that appeal.” He spoke of “the perceived change that I notice on the part of young people. They seem so focused, they seem so concerned about some of the issues that are really going to define the future of human society, and they seem highly motivated to bring about change, so these are the sorts of factors that certainly give me a sense of optimism.”
Professor David Lowe, then-director of ADRI, acclaimed Pachauri’s visit and lecture as “a great coup” by ADRI. Yet Lowe was fully aware of Pachauri’s agenda to use global warming as a tool to shift billions or trillions from the First World to Third World kleptocracies. Lowe quoted approvingly:
“Dr Pachauri has said previously that the West needs to make major structural and policy changes in the way it goes about economic development – wealth needs to be shifted from the developed to the developing nations.”
Deakin has formal partnerships with TERI, and TERI has a laboratory underway on Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus, and Vice-Chancellor Jane den Hollander was fawning in hailing her ersatz “Nobel Prize winner”
“For Deakin to be partnered with such an organisation led by a man of Dr Pachauri’s standing is a significant compliment which we hope to repay with outcomes of excellence and usefulness to our respective communities..”
Let’s hope Pachauri, if convicted, doesn’t cement Deakin’s relations with the Delhi convict community.
Let’s also hope that den Hollander and Deakin, as a TERI partner, are now putting pressure on TERI’s board to sack its sleazy director-general. As things stand, he might escape conviction by the Delhi courts and return to TERI, despite TERI itself having convicted him as a sexual harasser.
TERI’s complaints committee interviewed 30 witnesses for the woman, and 19 for Pachauri. It recommended — without result, it should be noted — disciplinary action, plus compensation for the young woman’s for medical expenses over the stress he had caused her. The victim deposed:
“I feel broken and scarred in body and mind due to Dr. Pachauri’s behavior and actions. I get frequent panic attacks due to the constant harassment and being made to feel like an object of vulgar desire from this man, who is old enough to be my grandfather.
Till (February 2015) I was extremely scared of going and reporting the behaviour of Dr. Pachauri, as he is the head of the organization for which I work and I did not know who I could turn to for help. I have tried to ignore and brush aside a lot of offensive behaviour from Dr. Pachauri as I was very scared of losing my reputation and employment if I complained to anyone. I request you to register my complaint against Dr. Pachauri and bring him to justice.”
Pachauri says he is being targeted by vested interests (What? The fossil fuels lobby was writing his love porn?). The young woman, he says, is merely working off grudges over a poor performance assessment.
If you take his word for it, Pachauri is also the victim of a conspiracy by cyber criminals, hackers and others out to destroy his reputation as a planet-saving climate chief. Pachauri even filed his own police complaint about the hacking of his phone and computer. He claims some subordinate at TERI had his password and spent 14 months composing and sending incriminating messages to the female complainant – surprisingly, without Pachauri ever noticing. As one Indian paper put it, maybe Pachauri will next claim that space aliens did it.
He also petitioned unsuccessfully to have reporters gagged from reporting both the police case and the internal TERI investigation. The police in turn asked the court to cancel his bail because he was not cooperating and misusing his liberty to influence witnesses. The woman’s counsel argued that Pachauri had been rehearsing witnesses and “hijacking the entire electronic evidence”.
“He is an influential man. He should not be allowed to enter TERI premises till the investigation is going on,” the woman’s counsel contended.
The transcripts detailing Pachauri’s alleged verbal and physical assaults on the female research analyst were not of the ambiguous kind. She deposed that Pachauri’s continued misconduct left her depressed and broken, but she still lodged the formal complaint in a bid to make sure no one else at TERI suffered as as she had done. She went to police because, after filing the internal complaint, she was given no protection, being expected to continue reporting to Pachauri on a daily basis.
Barely a week after joining TERI, she said, Pachauri was pestering her with advances via late-night text messages. “Please you are not to grab me and or kiss me,” she begged him.
He responded to her knock-backs with queasy messages such as:
“I shall try to suppress my human feelings, and live with a sad restraint on my words and actions. Never to make you uncomfortable or stressed on my account.”
Nonetheless on October 1 he was texting:
10:12 pm: And just to prove to you how much I love you, I shall go on a fast after the cricket match tomorrow. I will break the fast only when you believe I love you with sincerity and unfathomable depth.
10:21 pm: All right we have our respective perceptions which differ, and we can live with them and also let live. Perhaps some day you would know how sweet and sublime my feelings for you are! I shall not call off my fast till you fully believe that sacred truth.
10:28 pm: All right! I’ve got the message. I wish you would see the difference between something tender and loving and something crass and vulgar. You obviously don’t! So I shall slink away and withdraw! Farewell my sweet [the complainant’s name]. But I insist on the fast just to hear you say that you believe I really love you.
10:35 pm: Besides I want to punish myself for alienating you!
10:36 pm: And losing the most wonderful girl I’ve ever met .
Days later, she complained to him that he shouldn’t grab her body. Instead of denying the charge, he texted acknowledging that he had done it more than once, but claimed she couldn’t tell the difference between love and molestation.
On November 14, he texted that he’d helped her get the job but she wasn’t grateful:
“Even you must know that even if I don’t marry you, I am yours for life.”
In another email Pachauri says,
“I find it now very difficult to hug you. What haunts me are your words from the last time that I ‘grabbed’ your body. That would apply to someone who would want to molest you. I loved you in the soul, mind, heart…”
The last straw for the young researcher was Pachauri’s determination last December to make her sit next to him in business class on an international flight – with no ambiguity about his intentions. Six months earlier (June 2014), when on a plane with him, he passed her a hand-written note (now in the hands of police):
“I dreamt last night that I did the preliminaries of making love to you, but woke up at the critical moment.”
In December, when she insisted on sitting in economy, he messaged:
“You should reflect on the massive insult you heaped on me by indicating that I was so toxic that you would prefer not to sit next to me on the plane. If that be the case there is no room for any interaction between us. To me that act of yours represented the ultimate in haughtiness, arrogance and insulting behaviour. If you had any human sensitivity you would have realised what you have done, and possibly apologised.
You are welcome to remain a paid guest of TERI. I really would not burden you with any work in future.”
In other words, submit or I’ll kill your career.
In one of these alleged e-mails, Pachauri says to this woman, who is 45 years his junior:
“But is a little show of tenderness so difficult for you? At the end of a long day is it so alien to your nature to sit on the sofa next to me and hold my hand, and possibly even give me a hug? Or do you want to confirm to me that you are bereft of any emotion?
You are either deliberately behaving in a manner that prevents you from getting closer to me, or you are truly a cold individual, whose emotions are only aroused by a nice looking young guy who you can take to bed with you…
I am yours for life and will always be yours, even when someone else enters your life.
And you have hurt me so often by being inconsistently cold on so many occasions. Not letting me touch you, even though I have always treated your body with reverence and as sacred. Perhaps, you regard a physical relationship as a matter of expediency and convenience. Well I don’t, and certainly not with your body which I worship, as you should have found out by not. Even when I ‘grabbed you body’ I had my left hand over your right breast. Did I make even the slightest attempt to hold it in my hand or fondle you there?”
The police sought to lock up Pachauri in February, pending the court hearing, but he suddenly was admitted to hospital with heart pains. He eventually was allowed bail on various strict conditions, including a travel ban. But in June his brother-in-law died in the US. The courts considered this of sufficient gravity for him to fly to the US this month for the funeral.
Pardon my cynicism, but the Delhi police seem to be running dead on the prosecution. A local court complained on May 21 about “snail’s pace” police progress, with no interview conducted during the previous two months. During the first interview, he begged off claiming ill-health, and in the third interview, the police desisted early “in view of his advanced age,” according to a senior police officer.
Strangely, the 74-year-old was not too old to chair the world’s most influential climate body until February while doing global jetset celebrity appearances. At this rate, as it could be years before the Delhi coppers get him into court, his UNSW honorary doctorate seems safe for a while.
Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)