Author Archives: Tony Thomas

About Tony Thomas

I began my journalistic career in Perth, Western Australia in 1958 and retired from paid journalism in 2001. I continue writing on climate, politics, media and history for Quadrant Online ( and Spectator Australia.

How Green Zealots Take Over Councils

It was a solemn moment at the Preston Town Hall (Vic.) on October 26, 2018, as Darebin Council raised the Intersex flag for Intersex Awareness Day.[1] Councils don’t come more woke than Darebin, which includes Melbourne’s green-hued northern suburbs of Northcote, Preston, Thornbury and Fairfield. It was an even more solemn day on December 5, 2016, when Darebin became the world’s first council to declare a “Climate Emergency”. Since then about 85 Australian councils have rung out their own “emergency”  declarations, plus 1300 worldwide, including New York and London. In the UK some 60 per cent of councils have declared an Emergency. The Australian numbers are astounding.  Nearly 7.4 million — roughly 30 per cent of the population — are covered by councils’ declarations.

You’ve probably never heard of Bryony Edwards (left) but she inspired Darebin which then inspired the (Western) world. She and long-time colleague and partner Adrian Whitehead now run a body called CACE – Council Action in the Climate Emergency– to help councils and agitators follow through on their declarations with supposed planet-saving action. (To hear Ms Edwards and other Darebin councilors and lobbyists detail in their own words how easy it is to get elected and what to do when seated, go here. The embedded audio files are most instructive.)

Ms Edwards has campaigned on climate since she was nine, when she “began stuffing rubbish up car tail pipes to reduce pollution.”   Greens are not radical enough , so she seeks a far-reaching social transformation towards zero economic and population growth. Victoria, she urges, should go onto a war footing for zero emissions by 2028.[2] Her bold goal is to restore the globe’s temperature to pre-industrial levels, i.e. back to the Little Ice Age, to avert ecological and social collapse.[3] Her credo: “Business as usual ceases and action is taken as though the house is on fire.”

Australia’s average Joe or Mary think the council declarations are just harmless virtue signalling. Not on your nelly! Climate zealots, rebuffed in their state and federal ambitions, are targeting councils as the easily penetrated underbelly of Australian politics. It’s not hard for determined agitators to convert or elect a couple of councillors, take over the council and then redirect its spare staff, funds and powers to economy- and environment-wrecking green ends.

Consider, for example, the recent bushfires and the fuel loads that made them unstoppable. When criticised for local government restrictions on land-clearing, tree-lopping and hazard-reduction burns, the standard response has been to assert that greenish sorts are always the minority and don’t set or dominate town hall debates and policies. Well they don’t need to, as there are other ways and devious methods of exerting control and imposing Gaia’s perceived will on ratepayers.

Smart folks could dismiss all this as typical climate-sceptic tripe. Except that CACE web-publishes openly its instruction manuals for  council takeovers. We have been warned.

The game plan is first to purge the council of backsliding staff from the CEO down, stack positions with fellow-zealots, divert discretionary funds to climate warfare, and turn the council into a climate campaign tool against state and federal governments. Sophisticated? The methods are state of the art. Right now they are busy reframing the very English language to reflect their climate manias.

In the words of Darebin Council’s Sally Moxham, “By declaring the Emergency we [Darebin] are past individual appeals like recycling bins and individual action. We are now acting more like a not-for-profit or non-government-organisation to say to residents, ‘it not just about riding bikes, we want you to mobilise and mobilise now’.” Moxham is Manager, Climate Emergency and Sustainable Transport, and runs 30 staffThey don’t come cheap to ratepayers – she advertised for a climate coordinator last June on a $120,000 package.

Darebin was a plaything of Labor Party factional warlords till 2016. For example, in 2014 in the middle of a State Ombudsman’s inquiry into misuse of council funds, dodgy planning issues and conflicts of interest,  the councillors upped the pay of their chief executive to $400,000, second only to the CEO of Melbourne City Council ($420,000). Soon after, the CEO resigned (effective immediately) to enjoy more family time  and “pursue other opportunities”.[4]

Once a battlers’ province, Darebin homes at mid-2018 were fetching $358,000 above the state average, as incoming government workers and bourgeoisie forced out the ethnic manual workers and their offspring.[5] The arrivistes in 2016 helped elect the current council of four Independents, three Greens, and two Labor, who run a $185-million budget and 770 staff for Darebin’s 160,000 population.[6] [7] These days Darebin takes governance seriously and practices good transparency.

The most overtly woke councillor is deputy mayor Susanne Newton, a Green who enjoys “driving the courageous decisions that reflect the progressive community” such as the Climate Emergency and the Australia Day “Change the Date” flim-flam.

Darebin in 2017 got an Emergency motion adopted at the high ground of the Victorian Municipal Association’s  state council. This decree says that warming threatens humans, civilisation and all species, requiring “the restructuring of the physical economy at the necessary scale and speed.” And “the MAV has a particular role in assisting local governments in this regard.”

Darebin’s Moxham spoke at a Melbourne University Sustainable Society seminar for climate cultists last month, under the banner of crazed teen Greta Thunberg. (I’ve already written up two of the other speakers hereand here). Moxham told of Darebin planning against climate-imminent food insecurity, homelessness, and a need for safe havens against heatwaves. “Every day we will see that, we are already seeing that,” she said, hyperbolically. She described as “fabulous” the recent school-kid climate strikers and mushrooming action groups. “We see our council as an enabler and supporter and say, ‘this is what we would like you to start doing to lobby the state government’.

“The council also wants to work through an emerging organisation called Climate Emergency Australia for mobilisation and empowerment.”[8]

After declaring its “emergency”, Darebin received advice from a UK-based think tank, PIRC, on effective language to use with ratepayers to “empower” them, rather than alienate them. “We are not in an Emergency at Darebin but we want to get there in a way that will be supported without the risk of political failure. So yeah, watch this space,” she said.

I noticed that she was due to speak with Darebin’s mayor to a Lord Mayors’ Climate Emergency Round Table in Darwin two days later, and assumed the flights would put out a lot of emissions. But on checking I found they had given their speeches from Melbourne by Skype. Good work, girls.[9]

Once a council declares an emergency, CACE provides a template for a Vyshinsky-style purge of staff backsliders, starting with the CEO. Only fealty to CACE’s wildest climate fantasies can save the CEO’s hide. A separate purge expels wayward  contractors, banks and insurers: “Simply put, your council should boycott any company profiteering from global warming.”  The most hated is consultant GHD International, with 10,000 staff, for its work for Adani coal.

CACE is incensed by council CEOs and managers who dilute the green agenda.

Many organisations have filled climate emergency roles with staff or CEOs who immediately pull back from the strong messages and programs they were employed to implement, and instead adopt soft messaging, a more limited scope and weak goals and targets. If this occurs these staff should be removed from their positions… 

 …It would be difficult if not impossible to implement a climate emergency response if the CEO is a climate sceptic, a denier, opposes cultural change or is apathetic about this issue. Perhaps you need a new CEO?

Hence the CEO should be hauled in (I assume under a 500-watt lamp) to be asked

# are you a climate sceptic or denier?

# do you view a climate emergency response as merely a hindrance to council’s normal business?

# do you understand the threat climate change poses to our world, our country, our community, themselves and your family?

# do you understand the role of councils in getting action by higher levels of government?

# are you willing to change normal business practice  to implement an emergency response?

# will you be able to manage, motivate and inspire cultural and operational change within the organisation focused on climate emergency action?

I must say Darebin’s top brass would fail the interrogation. Their latest annual report has just a few lines on the council’s purported emergency, to do with a couple of conferences or webinars and hosting a dinner for 80 climate careerists.

CACE wants to deal a similar harsh fate to a CEO’s wayward subordinates.

If senior management do not respond or support the processes, the councillors will have to deal with the  inaction through their CEO and through the development of specific work plans that detail action and can be linked to KPIs [in executive contracts] and performance assessments, or those particular staff  can be replaced.

To further galvanise laggards, voluntary community activists (think Extinction Rebellion types) can be inserted into the councils’ back offices. In CACE’s words,

However, you may require a significant cultural shift in the way your council works for this to be effective, and as a minimum an openness by staff to work in a collegiate fashion with community members … Council staff may have to under gone [sic] some culture change training to be able to use and work with an expert advisory committee effectively… 

Unfortunately the investment of hundreds of billions of dollars [eh?] by the carbon industries in discrediting climate science and in lobbying our politicians has succeeded in creating public confusion and misinformation about global warming.

For example, 40 per cent of the public don’t believe in human-forced climate change – and some of these people will be your staff.  The majority of staff, managers and councillors will believe in human-forced climate change but their understanding of its current, near and longer term impacts will be clouded by the confusion that has been created.

To re-educate the laggards, CACE urges cultural sessions run by catastrophe speakers such as Beyond Zero Emissions types and David Spratt  (author of an absurd polemic  Climate Code Red). These influencers will explain why we have no time left to delay action to “reverse global warming”. As for councillors, at each meeting the Mayor has to “treat the climate emergency response as the first order of business”.[10] This procedural template applies also to managers and minor team meetings.

Once in power at the town hall, the zealots will demand that

a council focus all spare resources, seek additional resources, mobilise community resources and review existing programs to free up resources to respond to the climate emergency.

You will need to answer questions like, ‘Do you build a $2.5 million bridge to provide an off-road crossing of a local creek, or do you build a well-resourced community education team? Can you halt a major retrofit of a sporting venue for 10 years? Is that playground really so out of date that it needs to be replaced? Are there other programs that can be cut or redirected to a climate emergency? These are the sort of decisions you will need to make with your limited budgets. 

The council will need to find funding for range of needs, including additional [climate] staff, staff training, community outreach and education, engagement with other councils and state and federal government, measures to reduce a council’s own emissions, and practical community programs in the areas of mitigation and resilience. 

A climate emergency response will feel hollow without a range of flagship practical programs implemented by council but the most important element of the response is still the role a council can play leading the climate emergency response by undertaking a full mobilisation and the education of your community around the importance of emergency action and what role each level of government can play…

Fundamentally, everything would change – rates, roads, rubbish, planning, greenspace, verge plantings etc.

Rates will be diverted to $100,000-style job sinecures for Extinction Rebellion-type activists and advisory councils, i.e.

Your current staff and managers may not have the ability, experience or drive to do this [Emergency response].If this is the case, you can consider employing additional staff to support an existing team, or find new leadership within or outside of your organisation who are up to the challenge…

CACE is concerned to keep out of councils any luke-warmists:

Unfortunately the current pool of experienced climate emergency campaigners is very limited and many potential candidates will have background in opposing emergency action or supporting suicidal goals and targets [i.e. weak emission targets]. Hence the selection of any new staff would  need to include an assessment of their understanding of the why and the what of the climate emergency and their willingness to implement a full climate emergency mobilisation by council and a commitment to emergency framing.

The role of commissars from the zealots’ central committee  includes “engaging other council staff” to promote “deep understanding of global warming and the solutions needed to return to a safe climate.” (Presumably, by council bureaucrats dictating emission cuts to China’s Xi Jinping).

CACE lets the politics cat out of the bag by disclosing (after all its hype about local green actions), “Remember the priorities should be to facilitate upwards action to drive emergency action” by higher levels of government. Local mitigation and resilience activities “support this but are not the number one priority.”

CACE outlines in stunning detail the techniques to install a majority of “Climate Emergency” candidates into a council. It has a clear-eyed view of the corrupt nature of council elections, replete with fake and dummy candidates, party hacks posing as independents, and candidates pretending to climate orthodoxy. It advises how its workers should interact with each such group.

Local activists learn the dark arts of persuasiveness-plus-pressure to convert existing councillors or get non-conformists replaced. For example, if a councillor is religious, the warming screed should be couched in terms of “protecting God’s creation”. Depending where they live on the east coast, they can be warned of the climate destruction of the Barrier Reef, northern mangroves or southern kelp forests.

Special tricks include that if a councillor or would-be councillor agrees to the Emergency agenda, the activist will immediately photograph him/her holding up an A4-sized pledge – locking the person in to impossibilities like net zero CO2 emissions by 2025. “If they refuse to sign, perhaps arguing that it’s not a council’s business, you can use that against them at election time”, mobilising pals to hit them with a barrage of complaints and petitions and “naming and shaming” them in the local press.

Come at them sideways. Perhaps you are good friends with a Councillor’s husband or wife or a member of their family or one of their good friends or business partners. Try and convince these people about the Climate Emergency and the role councils can play and ask them to talk to the Councillor.

Schools should also be used for posters and banners, which says something about teachers’ complicity.

A council resolutely refusing to go along with the “Emergency” should have its meetings swarmed with red-clad activists from Extinction Rebellion. CACE also recommends using kids to shame councillors about the kids’ (adult-promoted) climate fears. CACE also recommends using the threat of climate lawfare against climate-recalcitrant councillors.

On alliances, CACE warns they can be damaged by people with “toxic personalities” – possibly themselves, they concede, and/or spies. Activists should link up with other wholesome groups like those trying “to shut down the local aluminium smelter” and agitators against “diary (sic) farmers” over cattle emissions.

CACE’s vision of our future is worth noting.  It’s confident that warming will lead soon to “a simultaneous collapse of multiple food production areas around the world,  a “multi-breadbasket failure” leading to a global food crisis.” Food prices skyrocket, millions starve or become climate refugees, “numerous countries” will declare martial law and even extreme food rationing will not prevent their collapse.[11]

The Intersex Flag flies proudly in Darebin.

Councils should therefore maximise local food growing. They should “encourage residents to have an emergency food supply of at least one month up to a year”. Councils “in the short term” must reshuffle surplus food into relief programs for the hungry poor. But since the global breadbasket failure will eliminate food surpluses, the hungry poor shouldn’t have high expectations of council-provided sustenance.

CACE says, “Councils should identify mechanisms and locations for controlled distribution of food rations during an extreme national or global food crisis, assuming food is made available by higher levels of government.”

Councils will splurge  ratepayer funds on “immediate and massive” expansion of community and kitchen gardens, and disability-friendly backyard crops for the disadvantaged.

Hapless developers will be told that subdivided blocks must be big enough for a food garden per house or unit. Presumably they will price-in the cost.

Councils should also do contingency planning to stockpile garden tools, soil and seeds, and blue-pencil  useful land   for   food production. Golf courses are suitable, being already cleared, fertilised, watered and flattish. They beat hands-down vacant but polluted land like industrial estates laid waste by CACE’s parallel anti-business policies.

Other changes to your lifestyle coming down the council turnpike include

# Junking your gas appliances “at emergency speed”. I didn’t know gas emissions were worse emitters than electricity but CACE tells councils to use anti-gas subsidies and sanctions. “Councils can seek to ban gas from new building developments or major home retrofits. Darebin Council is creating a new brown field development which is gas free.”

# Stop eating sausages and chook and switch to brussels sprouts and tofu, with councils offering vegan-only catering.

Animal agriculture is a massive contributor to global warming and the ecological emergency.  Changing you (sic) diet by eating less meat and high emission foods particularly beef, lamb and dairy is an instant way to lower your personal emissions. Councils have responded by creating a local meat free day, educating people about the nutritional benefits of eating less meat, banning meat within council for functions etc. or encouraging home food growing, community gardens or school gardens.

# Drop off your car at the scrap yard and either buy a Prius or walk and catch buses. “City centres could be closed to vehicles or restricted to low or preferably zero emissions options. For example, Munich has had a low emissions zone in its city centre since 2008, similar model [sic] could require zero emissions.

The Emergency councillors’ ambitions extend to supporting Extinction Rebellion to organise “a Citizens’ Assembly” as “a great tool for mobilising the community and advocating up to higher levels of government.” So much for parliaments. (Boris Johnson’s UK government has agreed to the demand by Extinction Rebellion for such an assembly, notwithstanding that UK anti-terror police had listed ER as an extremist group).

Another local brainwave:

Get a sitting MP/representative to introduce or support the passing of a Climate Emergency and Mobilisation Act, requiring [the MP] to become an independent if necessary. There can be carrots in the conversation but big sticks are key. They’ve seen the crowds and the public sentiments: they will be nervous with a strong campaign in their electorate.

At federal level, Prime Minister Morrison’s team aren’t folding. Responding to a ludicrous suggestion this month to declare a national climate emergency, environment minister Sussan Ley declined, saying councils ought to stick to rubbish recycling and “practical action they can address locally”.

How much of the rabid CACE agenda will be implemented by our “Emergency” councils? Who knows, but as Sally Moxham of Darebin says, “Watch this space.”

Tony Thomas’s hilarious history, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here


[1] The Intersex flag (below) “is not derivative, but is yet firmly grounded in meaning”. The circle is described as “unbroken and unornamented, symbolising wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities. We are still fighting for bodily autonomy and genital integrity, and this symbolises the right to be who and how we want to be.”[1]

[2] One city council, Georgetown in Texas, achieved global eclat via Al Gore with its transition to 100% renewable electricity. But its fixed-price contracts for wind and solar uptake have become a multi-million disasterfor the citizenry and the mayor is trying to sue his way out of the losses.


[3]  Her 2019 federal election blurb said she was standing to avert sea level rise, firestorms, and droughts by zero emissions and drawdown of CO2 from the atmosphere.

[4] Current pay of CEO Sue Wilkinson is about $350,000.

[5] A curiosity is that Darebin adults lose an average $1000 a year on pokies.

[6] The Greens put three members onto the council in 2016 after a united front where Greens candidates preferenced their team leaders ahead even of themselves. As one candidate explained, “We’re running as a party, not a group of individuals.”

[7] Darebin also has more than 6% LGBTIs and 1200 residents identifying as Aboriginals.

[8] There’s a Climate Emergency Australia here which may be the group Moxham refers to, and which promotes the usual fearful blather.

[9] Darebin last year demanded that governments in Australia achieve zero emissions by 2030. This would require the equivalent of more than eight nuclear power plants of Hazelwood capacity being installed per annum.

[10] I wonder if the Climate Emergency Acknowledgement takes precedence over the Aboriginal-friendly “Acknowledgement of Country.” This would make a good discussion on the ABC’s The Drum.

[11] CACE overlooks the detail that after 1degC of warming in the past century, the globe’s population enjoys its greatest-ever level of health, foods, leisure and longevity, and crop yields continue to climb.

  • Doubting Thomas


  • PT

    I wonder if Ian Mac will read this? He’s the one who keeps telling us the greenies have now power as they get less than 10% of the vote!

  • Doubting Thomas

    I think that these councils must be operating with the consent, if not the active support, of their State governments. Surely the employment practices of Green councillors in stacking their staff with like-minded zealots must infringe employment laws. Of course, this will never attract the attention of left-wing Unions, the zealously Green media, or the ALP.
    We’re doomed.

Addled in Aotearoa: Those Climate-Crazed Kiwis

Here’s a conundrum: is New Zealand even more bonkers about climate change than the South Australia or Melbourne University? I fact-checked the question at cruise-ship ports while on a recent voyage about the Shaky Isles.

New Zealand runs 27 million sheep and six million dairy cows. Perversely, the curators at Wellington’s Te Papa, the country’s national museum, are urging kids to go without meat  and/or dairy products three days a week, and to sit in the dark one night a week. In these ways the kids will halt the rising seas of global scorching in 2100.

I arrived at Te Papa at the end of my cruise: my odyssey started at Dunedin’s Public Art Gallery. The nonsense there and at Wellington’s City Gallery was a warm-up for Te Papa’s revelations.

Dunedin’s gallery has been taken over by creatures from the queer-green-Left-Scot push. I had imagined Scot males to be hardy and hairy-legged. However, I’d just missed a Dunedin lecture imported from a Massey University conference, which in turn drew on works from the National Galleries of Scotland. This conference was titled: “Millennium Masculinities: Queers, Pimp Daddies and Lumbersexuals”.

For me, Lumbersexuals are OK – to quote the famous Monty Python sketch,

I cut down trees. I wear high heels,
Suspenders, and a bra.
I wish I’d been a girlie,
Just like my dear Papa.

But sophisticate that I am, Scottish “pimp daddies” threw me. Even my adult daughters looked blank. Dr Google came to my assistance, but be warned: the search engine’s revelation isn’t safe to be clicked on at work.

Nearby was a painting of a scrawny polar bear family done around 1900 by Arthur Wardle (1864-1942), who at 16 began exhibiting at the Royal Academy. He called his polar bear diorama “Where the Ice King Reigns” (the bears were actually reigning over a concrete pen at the London Zoo).

For know-nothing curators, any mention of polar bears inspires captioned rants about climate change, and the Dunedin Gallery experts were in like Flynn:

The polar bear once was the Ice King and the arctic was where he reigned. Now with dwindling food resources and decreasing land area the icy empire of the polar bear is beginning to crumble.

Fact check: Polar bear numbers appear to have quadrupled to 40,000 since the 1960s. Arctic sea ice minima have been stable for the past decade. “Dwindling food resources” my foot.

Our visit to Wellington’s city gallery was a mistake and we fled after 20 minutes. We first met a sculpture set by Michael Parekowhai. It shows a life-size NASA moon astronaut confronting a tiny Maori security guard about 20cm tall. The caption says the NASA patch is “advertising America’s colonisation of the Moon”. The astronaut wears another patch called a Rangatiratanga (Maori sovereignty) “protesting the colonisation of New Zealand”. US villainy must be afoot. Maybe President Trump is inside the astronaut suit. Maybe bacteria on the moon are demanding a self-government treaty?

I’ve been cataloguing the climate follies of Wellington’s Te Papa for a decade without effect. In 2011 I complained about Te Papa’s use of Michael Mann’s flawed 1998 “hockey stick” reconstruction of the past 1000 years temperature. Curator Dr Hamish Campbell replied, “You are perfectly correct: Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ has indeed been substantively discredited.” He hoped to see that exhibit “revisited” within weeks but obviously got shot down by his bosses as the exhibit hung around for years.

If there were snakes in NZ, Te Papa today would be selling their oil. “Innovation nation: The future is green” fibs one display. “Imagine a city like this in 2050,” the caption to a mural of halcyon perfection instructs, “clean, liveable and powered by zero-carbon technology. New Zealand researchers are helping turn sci-fi into sci-fact.”

NZ research, the visitor learns, will fix global warming via

bendy solar film powering everything from smartphones and e-bikes to entire apartment blocks. This film can free us from carbon-based power – and transform life in developing countries. One day it’ll be recyclable too.

NZ-designed “carbon towers” will dispose of aerial CO2, apparently as fast as China and India pump out the CO2 from their coal-and-hell-fired power stations. Te Papa:

See the huge solar-powered towers in the image? They suck carbon dioxide from the air. That CO2 gas – a key cause of climate change – is reused as green energy. What’s inside? The towers are full of sugar-sized crystals. Look solid? They’re actually full of holes, ideal for catching gas…More surface area – more captured CO2.

Wow, how do I invest in this gas-catching breakthrough?

The exhibit shows NZ’s 11 square kilometre territory of Tokelau out in the Pacific, with population of 1350, and says it’s a CO2-free model for the world. Tokelau is

a tiny New Zealand territory confronting climate change head-on…In combating climate change, indigenous views are vital [and very woke these days]. Tokelau is the first nation in the world to run almost entirely on renewable energy … If they can make the change, why can’t we?

Maybe because we’re bigger than Tokelau (pop. 1350) and they don’t need to run trams?

Low-lying Pacific atolls like Tuvalu and Kiribati are growing not drowning, as Russell Skelton’s ABC-RMIT Fact Check bravely but belatedly acknowledged a year ago. That detail has escaped Te Papa’s experts. Instead, they lay it on thick, showing Tokelau people neck-deep in seawater under a label, “Facing climate change head on – Float and hope?”

For some of the Tokelau displays, the word ‘idiotic’ is too mild. “React? Should we battle short-term to cool off and keep the rising waters at bay?” Underneath, curators exhibit a Tokelau fan and a canoe bailer.

The most stirring panel from “Tokelau warriors” reads, “We are not drowning, we are fighting”. This “not drowning but fighting” slogan is a hoary meme cooked up by Greenpeace and trumpeted in 2014 when some islanders did a canoe publicity stunt off Newcastle. The Tokelau show leads to Te Papa’s brave new Kiwi world:

Heat, storms and sea-level rise … Aue! [Mauri for ‘Yikes!’]. Time to kick the doom and gloom and take action. Aotearoa NZ can lead the way to a carbon-zero future.

The mural shows this carbon-free elysium. Kids are told to “raise your hand near the wall to take action”. I raised my hand and a mob of dairy cows shrank to three, under the slogan “Less dairy”. I raised my hand again and a black and white cow did a visible fart, under the heading, “Low gas cows”. I guess it’s hard to depict a cow not doing a fart.

Using e-booths alongside, credulous kids were literally signing e-pledges to “create a carbon-zero NZ” by ticking approved actions. When they ticked enough of them, their pledge flew up to nest on a Tree of Virtue. Here’s some jobs to do, little Kiwi kids:

# Have a light-free night a week (I’m not making that up)

# “Go meat-free three days a week (ditto)

# Go dairy-free three days a week” (ditto)

# Lobby the government for solar panel subsidies (ditto)

# Explore solar water heating for your home (using the advanced cost-benefit algorithms found in every Kiwi kid’s bedroom?)

# Save for solar panels at home

# Use smart plugs to control lights at home

# Use recycled wood for building and renovation (The wharves at Napier and Tauranga are stacked four metres high with export logs, much as our own coal ports are exporting full-on.)

# Buy second-hand goods

# Give away unwanted stuff (to whom?), and

# Plant a tree each year to offset emissions (as if).

When kids have ticked enough of these stupid boxes, they’re conned: “Ka rawe – success! You’ve made a carbon-zero future.”

A different set of panels is headed, “Climate change at your place – most likely effects by region.” These show NZ districts sprinkled with salutary warmist warnings. An icon with a rat’s face indicates where global warming will bring pests (with a hint of bubonic plague). There’s one nasty rat-icon site in the north and two in the south. Maybe the curator threw darts at the map. At a ski resort: “Forget skiing – I’m taking up rock climbing!” Down south, “Better start saving for a water tank. Drought’s the new normal, mate.” Inland spots show “More rain and flooding”. Glaciers melt away. Cyclones whirl. Towns dry up. One thing’s for sure: climate models are crap at regional forecasting even for swathes like SE Australia, let alone micro-towns of NZ.

In its climate show, Te Papa’s sole concession to science, as distinct from brainwashing, is two long-term graphs of CO2 vs temps, sourced to Jean Jouzel, Michael Mann’s 2008 hockey-stick and twice-arrested alarmist James Hansen.[i] The Mann graph purports to disappear the Southern Hemisphere medieval warming – barely 0.2degC above trend vs the 0.8decC rise in the past 100 years. Te Papa’s curators haven’t caught up with the hundreds of studies showing strong and synchronised Medieval warming below the equator on all four continents.[ii]

The above-cited Jean Jouzel is a fine IPCC scientist, I have no doubt. It’s just that five years back, I wrote about him in this way:

A top scientist of the IPCC, Dr Jean Jouzel, is lauding a comic publication which has the heroine gunning down three Santa Clauses in a supermarket with a military assault rifle. The realistically-drawn massacre in Climate Changed by Philippe Squarzoni (Abrams, New York 2014) is meant to symbolise the need to reduce consumerism and CO2 emissions… She opens fire and the Santas scream in death agonies as bullets rip into their bodies, with blood spattering. She continues firing as they start collapsing to the ground, while a stream of ejected shellcases tumble in the foreground and Cokes and Christmas parcels fly in the air. One Santa lifts his right hand as if to shield himself. Their suits are riddled with bullets and gore continues to spout. The bland caption for this bloody mayhem reads: “On the demand side, it’s up to individuals, households, and local communities to evaluate their own needs themselves, with an eye to conservation.”

If Te Papa showcases NZ science, I have concerns. I hope Te Papa merely showcases NZ “climate science” – a mangier mongrel altogether.

Tony Thomas’s hilarious history, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here


[i] Even Hansen rejects the current warming hysteria. He wrote last September: “It’s time for Bernie Sanders to retire. He truly doesn’t get it. India and China have no prayer of phasing out coal without the help of nuclear power. We burned much of their share of the global carbon budget, and yet we refused to help them with modern nuclear power. Thousands of people PER DAY are dying in India from the pollution…. Not only is he killing people in India, he is screwing my grandchildren.”

[ii] For alarmists to maintain their narrative, Medieval Warming has to be characterised as a local and unimportant northern event. The Australian Academy of Science, for example, made that dud claim in its 2010 Climate Change primer and has never corrected or updated it: “Records are sparse in the Southern Hemisphere, but those available indicate little or no correlation with warming in the Northern Hemisphere during the Medieval Warm Period.”

Climate journalism: More ‘disinterest’ would be nice

I had the privilege last month of hearing Jo Chandler (above), former environment writer for The Age, describing how she’s pursued her craft of writing about global warming. Whoops, she gave the whole game away! I’ve not previously heard a journalist disclose media people’s behind-the-news-desk strategies to boost the alarmist narrative.

Chandler  has written two catastrophe books, about climate and (co-authored) ex-Police Commissioner Christine Nixon’s biography. After The Age and freelancing, she’s been since 2017 a “professional expert and lecturer at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism”. She has won two Walkley awards and ten-or-so other awards. A lot of her science writing is about non-climate topics and she’s a great researcher there. However, I found her 2011 climate book, Feeling the Heat, beyond terrible in peddling the climate-doom narrative, although it’s in stylish prose. In it she wrote, “The journey of this book is ambitious, meandering, indulgent, embracing, and a bit mad.” Well, Jo, you said it.

Her lunchtime talk was at the Elisabeth Murdoch building on Melbourne University campus.[i] It was a panel show run by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and titled, “Critical reflections on crisis and emergency framings” and under the aegis of 17-year-old Greta Thunberg.[ii] I’ve already written up another panellist, and the disquiet he engendered in the audience, but the event is the gift that keeps on giving.

Chandler says that when she started her 15 years of Age climate writing, “we were at the height of climate denialism, and well, it’s just kept keeping on.” She says she countered by covering science as an adventure story in order to tell readers how science actually works: “We thought that might assist in eroding some of the machinery of denial, and we were finding our way around some of that.” She allowed scientists to “speak passionately” and described the “blood sweat and tears” that preceded their publication in a science journal.[iii]

That would really provide a mechanism in which people would begin to understand and trust the science process. Fifteen years on, did it work?

I am having, like many of you, quite a crisis around how effective that was, and whether that is the way to continue. In preparing for that there is a lot of action around climate-change journalism and the way we tell the story in the mainstream media, particularly over the last two years. I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving end those changes [yep, I watch the ABC and skim The Age sometimes], but perhaps you’ve not necessarily seen where [the reporting changes] have been coming from. I thought I might quickly romp through some of these things that have really taken shape in the way we tell stories much more profoundly.

She’s a disciple of David Wallace-Wells, who in 2017 wrote a long climate piece for New York magazine called “The Uninhabitable Earth”. This hellfire tract, subsequently expanded into a book, is so insanely catastrophic that the only-moderately-insane faction of the catastrophist community disavowed it. It began, “It is, I promise, much worse than you think”, and grew from there, rather like that film producer who wanted to start with an earthquake and build up to a climax. The article’s wide distribution created a school of thought that it’s more than OK — admirable, in fact — to ignore mainstream forecasts of merely nasty warming and focus on the most extreme, and unlikely, predictions about the death of the planet.

In Chandler’s words, young Wallace-Wells (in his 30s) came fresh to the warming story and was “quite shattered” at the perils in store. That made him “quite damning of my generation of journalists, accusing us of not going hard enough, not telling the story with enough impact, not pushing the limits more. And I think he is right, I accept some of that,” she told the Melbourne University gathering.

Her rationale for not having written, when an Age journo, in Wallace-Wells’ apocalyptic fashion, is

what we were up against in the newsroom in terms of the level of inertia and disinterest, and really a push to make us always look at the minimum (forecast) and look at data in terms of what is the most likely or most certain prediction, which is not necessarily the worst one.

We never really got the chance to explore the realm of actions that probably would have helped the public begin to get a better understanding why we’re in the mess we in now.

Fact check: the human race is thriving as never before, on every conceivable indicator, thanks partly to one degree of warming. She continued,

But certainly we were very much corralled to only tell the story around the most certain and therefore often least damaging predictions.

Only in climate alarmist science can predictions be “certain”. Beyond that, I was surprised The Age subs’ desk was a bastion of reactionaries bordering, one gathers, on climate denialists. Chandler continued

He [Wallace-Wells] just let rip with a really quite devastating snapshot of where we are going. It stirred up controversy around whether he was pushing it too far and too bleakly and whether it would just turn people off. Some leading scientists questioned the approach he took, but a lot of them have come around in a sense [Good grief!]. There is now this increasing tension over whether by subscribing to too catastrophic a narrative you are just feeding inertia and excuses for doing-nothingism. There is really a keen a balance at work there.

Chandler’s “keen balance” is an echoing and updating of a famous and sinister quote from the IPCC’s Stephen Schneider:

On the one hand we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but, which means that we must include all the doubts, caveats, ifs and buts.

On the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings as well. And like most people, we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we have to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination.

That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This double ethical bind which we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.[iv]

I’ll now put in some asides about Wallace-Wells before returning to Chandler’s speech. His piece opens with a horrific illustration of a fossil skull wearing sunglasses, caught in mid-scream about intolerable heat. The article also features a fossilised skeletal hand reaching in death-throes for a water bottle. The precede reads,

Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.

One can almost pity Wallace-Wells for his ignorance of both science and history. He writes of his father, born in 1938, “Among his first memories [was] the news of Pearl Harbor and the mythic Air Force of the propaganda films that followed, films that doubled as advertisements for imperial-American industrial might.”

Typical section headings in the essay are “Permanent Economic Collapse – Dismal capitalism in a half-poorer world.” and  “Climate PlaguesWhat happens when the bubonic ice melts?”. If there’s a Nobel Prize for purple prose, Wallace-Wells earns it:

And however sanguine you might be about the proposition that we have already ravaged the natural world, which we surely have, it is another thing entirely to consider the possibility that we have only provoked it, engineering first in ignorance and then in denial a climate system that will now go to war with us for many centuries, perhaps until it destroys us. Wallace Smith Broecker… calls the planet an ‘angry beast.’ You could also go with ‘war machine.’ Each day we arm it more.

Of all Wallace-Wells’ fancies, the biggest is his claim that climate scientists are so reticent and conservative that they won’t come out with climate’s ghastly truths. “Climate denialism has made scientists even more cautious in offering speculative warnings,” he writes, a line I’m seeing everywhere these days in the corrupted media. Wallace-Wells ought to bone up on our leading catastrophist, Will Steffen of ANU. For example, this from Steffen’s 2018 “Anthropocene” paper – nothing reticent here that I can see:

The Earth System may be approaching a planetary threshold that could lock in a continuing rapid pathway toward much hotter conditions—Hothouse Earth. This pathway would be propelled by strong, intrinsic, biogeophysical feedbacks difficult to influence by human actions, a pathway that could not be reversed, steered, or substantially slowed.

Wallace-Wells even laments that there aren’t enough novelists setting their plots in a climate-ravaged future. (What! The shelves at Readings in Melbourne’s green-voting Carlton sag with this great cliché of today’s third-rate novelists.) Wallace-Wells ends his essay on this note: “The mass extinction we are now living through has only just begun; so much more dying is coming.”

I liked President Trump’s witty tweet about Greta Thunberg’s “People are dying” speech, that would apply perfectly to Wallace-Wells, e.g.: “He seems like a very happy young boy looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”

Addressing the evolution of green-washed newsrooms, Chandler also cited with approval Washington Postmedia writer Margaret Sullivan. According to Chandler, that columnist in 2018 called on “the best and smartest minds in media” to tell the IPCC alarm story “in a way that will create change”. As to news organisations less inclined to toe the apocalyptic line, her recent retweet of a plea by Malcolm Turnbull’s boy, young Alex, that readers boycott News Corp papers might be seen by some as reflecting a lack of concern for the employment prospects of Advancing Journalism graduates at a time when newsroom jobs are scarce and growing moreso.

I’ll again digress to background Ms Sullivan,  who says, (my emphasis), “Journalists need to find ways to make [global warming] compelling, engaging and interesting, and bring it home to people so they understand and want to act about it.” In other words, it’s propaganda time, hacks! Sullivan isn’t even furtive about it. Her WaPo piece was headed, “The planet is on a fast path to destruction. The media must cover this like it’s the only story that matters.” Her arguments read more like comedy, “By 2040 — only 22 years from now — the world will be in deep trouble, according to the unassailable expertise of the UN’s experts.” Einstein’s expertise was assailable and Isaac Newton likewise, but IPCC people are “unassailably” smarter. Click here for a backgrounder on Joelle Gergis, a current IPCC lead author, if you are interested in “the unassailable expertise of the U.N.’s experts.”  Gergis’s effusion only last Friday: “Failing to adequately plan for the known threat of climate change in a country like Australia should now be considered to be an act of treason.” (Hmm. Dear Joelle, The US federally has the death penalty for treason, but Australia has given up capital punishment and treason is now just a matter of life imprisonment. Do you think our Prime Minister should be put on trial? Regards, Tony.)

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, D.Sc. (Hon) UNSW chaired the IPCC from 2002 to his abrupt resignation in 2015. I assume he qualified as ‘unassailable’. He continues to have his trial delayed involving charges of sexually harassing and outraging the modesty of  a young woman working for his private think tank. He denies the charges. The deferrals in India’s labyrinthine court system have lasted more than four years. Eventually there might be an unassailable verdict one way or another on this climate paragon, much feted by Australian academia.[v]

Sullivan finished her piece,

In short, when it comes to climate change, we — the media, the public, the world — need radical transformation, and we need it now. Just as the smartest minds in earth science have issued their warning, the best minds in media should be giving sustained attention to how to tell this most important story in a way that will creates [sic] change. We may be doomed even if that happens. But we’re surely doomed if it doesn’t.

This exciting prose set off a project by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nationmagazine, “Covering Climate Now” which saw 360 media groups sign in 2019 for their journalists to spruik the September UN climate talks.  In Chandler’s words, “to devote all the effort they could and energy and time into putting this story finally front and centre. Of course there was plenty to report on – UN talks, climate strikes around the world and, of course, you had Greta.”

Then came Chandler’s big reveal – though who she refers to as “we” is enigmatic:

In the aftermath of that [New York talks] we are now beginning to think as an industry about how we gear up and re-gear our newsrooms to get past the structural problem we have had in the past covering this [climate].

This is the only story in many ways. It is THE story, it must be at the core of every part of the news desk and news agenda and the way we consider stories, the way we structure our stories and roll them out. This was a beat covered by environment and political reporters, now it will also have to be covered by business, sports and health reporters.

There’s been substantial rethinking within journalism on how we do a better job, and The Guardian’s enunciation of changing the language to ‘global heating’ and ‘climate emergency’, following the science in that regard, has helped lead the way on that.

To fill you in on The Guardian‘s editorial policy, last May it changed its style guide on climate. These style guides are the ‘bibles’ of reporters. A sub-editors’ job includes ridding reporters’ drafts of style violations. The Guardian’s style guide now reads, with its own emphases:

“climate change
is no longer considered to accurately reflect the seriousness of the overall situation; use 
climate emergency or climate crisis instead to describe the broader impact of climate change. However, use climate breakdown or climate change or global heating when describing it specifically in a scientific or geophysical sense eg “Scientists say climate breakdown has led to an increase in the intensity of hurricanes”.

“climate science denier” or “climate denier”
The OED defines a sceptic as “a seeker of the truth; an inquirer who has not yet arrived at definite conclusions”.

Most “climate sceptics”, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, deny climate change is happening, or is caused by human activity, so denier is more accurate.

In the The Guardian’s own story about its style-book change, environment editor Damian Carrington quoted his editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, “The phrase ‘climate change’, for example, sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.” The story was illustrated with a pic of more than 20 fat polar bears feeding on garbage, with a caption, “The destruction of Arctic ecosystems forces animals to search for food on land, such as these polar bears in northern Russia.” Every sceptic cum ‘denier’ knows The Guardian’s meme of imperilled polar bears is itself garbage. Bear numbers have soared, probably quadrupled, in the past decade to about 40,000.

Last week, “climate emergency”, “climate crisis” and “global heating”  notwithstanding, The Guardian UK was spruiking its CO2-spewing holiday packages: “Guardian Holidays have a wide range of products. From making pizza on the Amalfi Coast, surfing in Portugal or orangutan spotting in Borneo, Guardian Holidays’ new range of family adventures are sure to keep every member of your family entertained.”

Chandler has lifted the media curtain so we can glimpse the third-tier journos backstage scurrying about on their activist business while pretending objectivity.[vi]

No wonder 40 per cent of Australians don’t trust traditional media.

Tony Thomas’s hilarious social history, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and on-line here

[i] Melbourne University in 2018 was rated top university in Australia and 32nd in the world. (THE Rankings).

[ii] MSSI quoted Greta: “This is above all an emergency, and not just any emergency. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. This is not something you can just like on Facebook.”


[iii] The climate crowd is certainly a lachrymose lot, see this piece on climate weepniks  here.

[iv] Discover magazine, October 1989

[v] If you argue that Pachauri’s sexual urges were irrelevant to his role as IPCC chair,  this is a message he allegedly sent in mid-October, 2013 to the 29-year-old female staffer at his TERI think-tank: “Here I am sitting and chairing an IPCC meeting and surreptitiously sending you messages. I hope that tells you of my feelings for you.” The IPCC meeting was the 37th Plenary Session, at the Sheraton in the seaside resort of Batumi, Georgia. It was attended by 229 politicians and officials from 92 countries, plus the usual conservation and activist hangers-on and free-loaders.

In 2013, Pachauri dropped in on the Albert Deakin Research Institute (ADRI) at Deakin University — ADRI falsely calling him the “Nobel Peace Prize-winning panellist”. ADRI’s tribute to Pachauri began: “Dr Pachauri’s gentle and unassuming 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.”

[vi] The Australian’s environment writer Graham Lloyd is an exception, doing a fine job reporting all sides of the climate debate and adding his own analyses.

RAP artists of the ABC


14 December 2019

9:00 AM

Our household switches on ABC TV at 6pm and checks how long it takes to sight an Aboriginal-identifying Australian. Typically, it’s under three minutes but sometimes one is there as the screen powers up. Australia has about as many Buddhists as Aboriginals, and half as many Hindus. For that matter, we’ve three times as many Chinese Australians as Aboriginals, but no quotas for them on the ABC.

Is it racist to count the ABC’s Aboriginals? Certainly not, because the ABC itself meticulously tallies ‘the perceived numbers of Indigenous characters, guests and presenters in ABC content’. My latest broad figures are for 2017 when more than a hundred Aboriginal-focused programs, perspectives or issues ran ‘across ABC, ABC Comedy, ABC Me, ABC Kids and iview.’

ABC last month signed up for ‘Elevate’, the most stringent of four Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) and pledged to tally progress. Its all-powerful Bonner Committee, chaired by Scripted Productions head Sally Riley, a Wiradjuri woman, monitors any backsliding and reports direct to MD David Anderson and over to Reconciliation Australia’s CEO Karen Mundine.

Progress is hard-won. A decade ago the ABC was missing its RAP target for Aboriginal staffing and content and in 2014 it ordered a fix. Bosses in mid-2015 whipped the 7pm ABCTV Bulletin journos into shape. The Sydney hacks boosted content from eight stories (first half 2015) to 50 (second half); Melbourne hacks from 14 to 33; Canberra from ten to 35 and even little Hobart’s bureau discovered 15 Indigenous stories (first half, only nine).

Counting Aboriginality on ABC radio proved challenging even with intros in local languages at Horsham and Orange ‘interspersed and backed by Indigenous music’. The ABC Radio crews gybed at the pressure to run Aboriginal stories and mentions, declining to measure ‘Indigenous participants in content, [because] measuring the total number of Indigenous guests/talent across ABC Radio’s numerous, mostly live outlets is impractical and may be culturally inappropriate.’

ABC News also revolted, ‘noting that relevance to the stories it is covering is the primary determinant of the persons that will be included; its ability to ensure numbers of Indigenous subjects, interviewees and commentators is thus dependent on events.’

Shocked ABC executives had to rediscover this ‘news value’ thingo. As a double shock, their bonuses involved a ‘key performance indicator’ to show ‘a visible and measurable increase in the ethnic diversity of our on-air and off-air creative talent.’

Here’s more from 2015’s RAP report:

– ABC News Online posted 1,525 Indigenous articles (up from 805 in 2014), as well as 141 videos, 232 audio clips and seven photo galleries.

– Nearly 30 Aboriginal writers, 12 directors and seven producers helped put out The Secret River drama series employing ‘70 Indigenous media professionals, including 63 cast members and seven crew.’ (The Secret River is about ‘the murder and displacement of Aboriginal people’ by British settlers, ABC says). Likewise, ABC’s film Spear used 44 Indigenes.

– ABC Radio tracked music by ‘artists that identify as Indigenous’. For music lovers I should do a spreadsheet analysis. Radio National had 1 per cent Aboriginal tracks; local radio 3.6 per cent (well done!) and ‘Triple J Unearthed’ had 1.6 per cent (573 artists and 1,023 tracks).

Six panellists were mobilised for Q&AComedy Up Late episodes had an Aboriginal host and talent; and multiple comedians featured in ‘key commentary and content roles’. Three Aboriginal presenters were talking heads at the New Year fireworks; and four starred in the Doctor Blake Mysteries.

‘Their’ ABC’s chair Ita Buttrose and MD David Anderson have endorsed this ‘diversity’ push, which excludes conservatives like Andrew Bolt: ‘Sorry, Andrew, but there are no job offers here,’ she said (13/9/19).

The pair want 3 per cent Aboriginality in content-making, editorial decision-making and management roles, including 3 per cent Indigenes at Executive Level by end-2021. (Alert for Ms Buttrose: also inspect your white-board).

From 2010 the ABC used its RAP to take up the white persons’ burden of ‘cultural awareness training’ for all staff. ‘Training’ sounds Pavlovian to me. The program has run like Rob Sitch’s Utopia comedy, meriting an ABC tut-tut in 2014 of ‘low completion rate [and] too time-consuming and too general to be effective.’ The ABC People battalion did ‘significant work on improved approaches’, hiring IT people to tart things up on-line, but ‘several delays’ halted roll-out till 2016. The task was also disappearing down the cracks between ABC People and state executives. Last month the ABC yet again lamented ‘significant underperformance’ and delivered troops a RAP over the knuckles:

‘The number of staff receiving the training was consistently well below the target of 30 per cent in the first two years of the RAP but met the 30 per cent in the third year. While a variety of factors reduced the number of cultural awareness training sessions, it is clear that cultural awareness training did not receive the same focus, high-level support and coordination as other areas of the RAP. Accordingly, the ABC will make cultural awareness training mandatory for all staff and institute a coordinated online and face-to-face programme in late 2019.’ Lucky ABC staff!

Meanwhile the ABC mandates welcomes to country at all major events, with optional smoking ceremonies. These ancient ceremonies date from a Perth arts festival in 1976 – performers now charge north of $500. In contrast, ABC talent freely mocks Christians, calls conservative politicians ‘c—s’, and on Q&A urges murder and arson.

If you’re wondering how Reconciliation Australia defines ‘Reconciliation’, RA includes fealty to a black arm-band history of wrongs, and partisan support for self-determining treaties and constitutional recognition. By signing on, the ABC seems to forget its impartiality charter, whatever its new RAP waffle about incorporating Aboriginal languages into mainstream Australia.

In 2010 the ABC’s annual report said reconciliation would take ages. A decade later and Ms Buttrose says it’s still going to take ages.

Memo to self: Update her Reconciliation Journey in 2030.

Battling the Reds in Adelaide

How many of us were in my Willagee branch of the Communist Party in Perth around 1960? Maybe six or eight. We bonded well but we weren’t powerhouses of the intellect. We’d gloat about the impending world revolution, nut out ways to get it started, and then pivot to the contentious stuff – whose turn was it to letterbox Garling Street?

I can now assume one of our tight-knit band was an ASIO informer. From 1956 ASIO’s Operation Sparrow aimed to put an agent into every Communist Party branch. The best-known informer is Phil Geri, who kept reporting on the Ballarat branch while its membership declined to four (or maybe five, Geri included).

My mother and stepfather, who did high-level CPA work, were confident that Party vigilance screened out would-be informers. “I can spot one a mile off,” my stepfather would say, with a sardonic grin. In reality ASIO riddled the Party with spies, probably to Central Committee level. Once in, they were seldom outed because the Party never thought to check: Who volunteers for dreary tasks? And who pays their Party dues on time? Tick the two boxes and there’s your ASIO agent.

My favorite historian is Professor Phil Deery of Victoria University. He specialises in ASIO-CPA relations and refreshes my memories of a politically mis-spent youth. I stumbled across his latest revelations about ASIO’s Adelaide spy, Anne Neill, in Labor History (11/2018), “A Most Important Cadre”: The Infiltration of the Communist Party of Australia during the Early Cold War. Deery’s stuff is too good to lie unread in Labor History, hence I’m giving it an audience here. Thank Deery, not me.

For reasons unexplained, ASIO released 13 files on Anne Neill totalling 2,664 pages, with various redactions. Deery could hardly believe his luck: “On no other agent has anything like this occurred,” he writes. (There’s several pages about Neill in David Horner’s official ASIO history, published in 2014, but it’s rather mundane).

Deery’s tale is about middle-class, religious and patriotic Adelaide widow Anne Neill. From 1950-58 she was a trusted and hard-working secretary and aide to the Party leaders, slipping an extra carbon sheet into her typewriter roller and embracing what her sister disparaged as “a life of deceit”.

She almost wore out Rod Allanson, the agent-runner in ASIO’s Adelaide office, a tough character who had survived the Thai-Burma railroad. In 1950 he had slotted her into an unpaid typist job for Elliott Johnston, a top SA and federal Communist who also ran the SA Peace Council front.

Johnston eventually gained some respectability as a Supreme Court Judge and a Royal Commissioner into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1987). It is normal for Communists to become judges, although I was somehow overlooked. War-time waterfront slacker and Trotskyite Ken Gee (aka “Comrade Roberts”) later graced the bench of the NSW District Court for a decade.

Anne Neill’s career and my own do have some eerie parallels.[1] Her first undercover job was to help run the Stockholm Peace Appeal of 1950 to ban atom bombs. Like Neill I gathered signatures, corrupting ten-year-old playmates at Nedlands Primary School. Neill and I helped generate the purported Australian tally of 200,000 signatures, which in turn helped generate the purported 475m signatures worldwide. That was one in every 40 Australians and one in every five humans in the world. Stalin knew how to get things done.

Two years later, Neill caught the train from Adelaide to represent SA at Sydney’s Youth Carnival for Peace & Friendship. I did the same from Perth at 12, as WA’s youngest delegate, raising high the banner of the Junior Eureka Youth League.

Neill slaved over costumes for the Communists’ New Theatre production of the Reedy River musical – it must have toured to Perth, as I can still hum, “Ten miles down Reedy River one Sunday afternoon/I rode with Mary Campbell to that broad, bright lagoon…

That’s enough about me. A surveillance photo of Neill in the doorway of Adelaide’s “People’s Book Shop” (above) shows a dumpy woman about 50 with flimsy white hair, thin lips, a strong jaw and a determined expression. Her main concession to femininity is a whitish necklace topping her baggy cotton dress.

As one Party person put it, “Comrade Anne – it beats me how she gets through all the work she does. She makes costumes for the opera, is in charge of costumes for the New Theatre, makes jars of pickles and marmalades for Party fairs, as well as writes letters and is Secretary of other organisations.”[2]

By late 1952 ASIO was calling her its “most prolific source”, as she supplied a succession of three agent-runners with hundreds of reports rated highest-grade. One case officer noted that her morale was “surprisingly high” and that she was an “absolute inspiration”.

ASIO’s Allanson recalled, “Anne Neill was so active that she demanded much of my time and attention. And when I had finished my normal day’s work, I found it necessary to have clandestine meetings with her, night after night, so that I could record all the detail she provided and also brief her on further action required.”

She was raised a devout Christian by conservative and imperial-minded parents and took on her spy role as a responsible citizen keeping track of subversives as a duty to her country and the Crown. She tracked not only the Party and the Peace Council, but at least seven other Communist fronts such as the Union of Australian Women and Realist Writers’ Group. At times she would be at their meetings seven nights a week.

She fooled the Party largely because she looked so guileless –“the middle-aged lady with the beautiful, innocent blue eyes”, as one Party wife recollected. SA Party boss John Sendy found her “well-mannered, unassuming and quite charming” but after she was outed, he modified his assessment: “a b….. [sic] old bitch – she was so nice all the time.”

So nice  she didn’t have to worm her way into the Party, having been told the Party “would be pleased to welcome you”. This slack security was when the Party was under siege by Menzies and notwithstanding Neill’s previous overt membership of the Liberal & Country League! The Melbourne Herald later called her “a white-haired widow 
with a kind face. She could be the woman from the house across the corner.”

After the Sydney Peace Carnival, she wangled her way onto a deputation to another “Peace Conference” in Peking. She loaded the dice by saying she could pay her own fares, thanks to a £400 insurance payout which in fact was ASIO money.[3]  En route she wrote letters to her family disclosing ASIO secrets, which alarmed ASIO when it opened them. The Catholic News-Weekly even quoted one of her travelling companions saying Neill was unsympathetic to Communism – luckily for ASIO, Party leaders didn’t read News-Weekly.



When she blabbed to the Australian Trade Commissioner in Hong Kong that she was a secret agent, he thought her claim ”outrageous”. But she came home with a swag of materials for ASIO on Communist policies, issues and personalities. The Party was just as delighted with their delegate and she was lionised on lecture tours, enthralling the faithful with 90-minute inspirations. Indeed, her status was so high that the Soviet Embassy in November 1953 gave her a half-hour private audience with Vladimir Petrov. He and wife, Evdokia, deferred her invitation to stay with her in Adelaide. Her hob-nobbing backfired when the Petrovs defected in April 1954: Party bigwigs wrongly suspected she had a hand in it.

Without warning they interrogated her twice within two days, probing for holes in her ASIO-provided cover stories. They particularly demanded documents to authenticate her (ASIO-sourced) £400 windfall. While she stalled for time, ASIO alerted her solicitor and another friend to lie about this money if required. Ever scrupulous, ASIO added a marginal note to “make sure this matter is fully insulated so that there is no possible chance of perjury.”

Using considerable psychological skills, ASIO briefed her to “Threaten to resign from the CP of A and frontal organisations, and indicate indignation at the continual questioning.” Her inquisitor, Elliott Johnston, fell for this ruse, soothing her, “Now, don’t be upset, don’t get angry, all I want is that written paper to prove where you got that money”. The CPA State Secretary, Eddie Robertson, feared she might tell the Party to “get f—” if they pushed her too hard.

Deery writes that Neill’s health deteriorated. “Within two days, she had undergone a two-hour grilling, a three-hour briefing with ASIO officers, a long meeting/dinner with Marjorie Johnston (Elliott’s wife) that Neill apparently recorded, and the interrogation by the CPA Control Commission.” The historian attributes her success to “calm steadfastness in the face of interrogation, the careful handling and shrewd advice by her case officer, and the stonewalling of repeated requests to supply documentary proof.”

After a considerable sick spell, she returned to the Party fold and resumed her mind-boggling industriousness, working long hours on costume-making for June’s production of Reedy River. Party leaders promoted her to delegate to the State Conference and she spoofed them for a further four years. By mid-1958, however, eight years late, suspicions arose. It was likely through Party women’s intuition rather than male Party intellect. A female ASIO agent discovered from the mother of CPA boss John Sendy that Neill had been too darn curious about too many Party issues, and the documents about the £400 had, after all, never been produced. Mrs Sendy said Neill was

In everything … [She] goes about getting information from people and she is so charming and so nice about it … She gets paid to do it. Actually, I hate mentioning the word, but it is Security … She was put on to me by Security. She must know that I spoke to John about it … I did have my suspicions when she came here to pump me [about John Sendy, when he attended a training school in China] … John said, “Look, Mum, there is nothing we can do at present … [but] we will hold her back from getting in too far.” We know she only gets a widow’s pension, yet she can have a trip abroad … I couldn’t do it. How does she do it? She is always ready to pay her payments to the Party. She will give anything to the Party. You or I couldn’t do it … We are watching her closely now. John has suspected her for some time, but it is only recently that he told me that he was now fairly certain about it. The Party had “tried all ways to trap her but we couldn’t” and her house was watched for 14 days and nights, “but she wasn’t seen.

By this time Neill was religiously involved in the Commonwealth Revival Crusade and boring her case officer with tales about godly revenge on Russia and faith-healing miracles by American evangelist Billy Adams.

Both the CPA and ASIO were happy to see her eased quietly out of Party work. It left quite a gap, as Adelaide by then had fewer than 20 members. ASIO presented her with a pricey cutlery set as a memento. But with her visceral hatred of Communists she spent another three years writing to order scores of highly personal “character studies” of Party figures, up to eight typed pages long. She also rejoined the Liberal & Country League.

In December 1961, in a bizarre denoument, she went public in Adelaide’s Daily Mail with tell-all features about her ASIO career, under headings like “Secret Service Housewife”, “I Spied for Security”, “I Join the Party”;, “I Go Behind the Iron Curtain”; and “I Talked Alone to Petrov”. Sub-headings included “How she tricked the Reds” and “Mixed with top men in Kremlin.” The pieces were to be syndicated before the December 1961 election but Sunday Mail editor K.V. Parish held them over until after the election. Menzies scraped home with a one-seat majority. Deery doesn’t comment on whether Parish’s decision was good or bad form.

Neill’s revelations left the Party with an emu egg omelet on its face. ASIO taps recorded bigwigs now calling their Stakhanovite ex-worker a police pimp, traitor, provocateur and shameless stool pigeon. “Personally,” stated one Party leader Alan Miller, “I would rather hang myself than do what she has done.” Another, Graham Beinke, thought, “It is a pity she is old because by the time Communism comes to Australia she will be dead and we won’t be able to do anything to her.” There were suggestions of retaliation ranging from psychological pressure to physical violence. These were quickly suppressed by Party leaders, who adopted a wait-and-see policy, Deery writes.

She went on a TV panel but gave rambling answers and factual slips. ASIO was discomfited and for next time, considered that “a prior approach should be made to a trusted, loyal and discreet member of the interviewing panel.”

Menzies praised her work and her decision to publish the articles, saying that she’d done a “good service” to Australia because she awakened people to the role of “innocent-looking communist ‘front’ organisations”.

Neill next became a celebrity of the far-right fringe, such as Eric Butler’s luridly anti-Semitic League of Rights. She became a Holocaust denier (“Only propaganda – Jewish lies”) and Protocols of the Elders of Zion truther. She even alleged that a Zionist was calling the shots top-level within ASIO. Her late years devolved into fantasies about Russian spies and retributions and she went into care in 1980 at age 81.

Deery hedges his bets on whether Neill’s unmasking of CPA plots had any point. It depends on whether the “peace movement” was genuinely subversive or merely political, he says. In 1977, Royal Commissioner Robert Hope defined “subversion” to include criminality, severely cramping ASIO’s style.

Retrofitting the “criminality” definition, Deery says little in those many hundreds of Neill’s assiduous reports could be regarded as “subversive.” With CPA membership in SA totaling only 220 in 1953, Neill and ASIO were tilting at windmills. “Threats to national security from Communist subversion may have existed elsewhere, but not from South Australia in the 1950s,” he concludes.

One day ASIO’s cutlery gift to Anne will turn up on Antique Roadshow. I’m putting in a bid.

Tony Thomas’s hilarious history, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here

[1] The parallels weren’t really ‘eerie’ but we journalists always add ‘eerie’ to ‘parallels’. It’s like all our contrasts being ‘stark’ ones.

[2] This 1958 quote was recorded by an ASIO agent at a meeting who was unaware that Neill was also an ASIO agent.

[3] The Australian delegation of five was led by Dr John Burton, ex-secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, known as the Labor Party’s ‘pink eminence’.

Discomfort and Dismay at the Parkville Asylum

Melbourne University’s famously loopy Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) was hung out to dry the other day by one of its lunchtime panellists, Professor Jon Barnett,  at the uni’s Elisabeth Murdoch building. MSSI’s audience of climate zealots couldn’t believe their ears. (listen to the audio here). A political geographer, Barnett (pictured above) agrees with the human-caused CO2 global warming hypothesis, although he’s a bit lukewarm on the ‘catastrophic’ angle.[1] He must have seemed a safe choice to endorse MSSI’s “climate emergency” narrative.[2] But instead he told the audience – many visibly annoyed – that he’s fed up with zealots demoralising Pacific atoll people with forecasts of their climate-borne doom by drowning.

Several attendees crowded around as he was leaving, urging him to reconsider his heresies. Chief among them was Jane Morton, clinical psychologist and convenor of Darebin Climate Action Now, who presented him with her booklet Making the Case for Emergency Climate Action. This is a hellfire tract, as the cover shows North, Central and South America ablaze all the way from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, demonstrating CO2’s astounding powers. In the melee I myself wheedled a copy off her, but then she successfully hit me for a $5 donation for her compadres’ work in Darebin, which rivals Brunswick and Northcote as Melbourne’s most crazed green municipality.[3] (I also came home with a recruitment flyer: Extinction Rebellion welcomes you. We are the people we have been waiting for. And we have arrived just in time”).

The inside cover of Ms Morton’s tract shows the Potsdam Climate Institute’s founder, Hans Schellnhuber, glooming, “Climate change is now reaching the end-game”. Professor Barnett, not easily intimidated, told Morton that Schellnhuber’s forecasts of a billion (or is it many billions?) dying from 4degC warming were “ridiculous”. Schellnhuber has been chief climate alarmist to Pope Francis, notwithstanding that he’s an atheist and population-control advocate.

Schellnhuber’s Potsdam people have populated Melbourne University since 2015 via the Australian-German College of Climate & Energy Transitions. Barnett and I agreed that Schellnhuber was not altogether rational, although I’d used a more colloquial term.

I liked Barnett’s comment to his post-speech interrogators that he didn’t think sea levels would rise by a metre this century. I also gave Barnett a friendly reminder that his colleague at Auckland University, Professor Paul Kench, has demonstrated via aerial photographs and satellite imagery that three-quarters of Tuvalu’s atolls are growing, with the atoll’s net land area is up by three per cent over the past 40 years. I hope Barnett can work that news into his next speech about the atolls the ABC and other alarmists are always claiming to be on the verge of drowning, even after Russell Skelton’s ABC/RMIT Fact Check affirmed their growth in area.

I also hope his Melbourne University career will thrive, unlike that of Peter Ridd, late of James Cook University, who denied the Barrier Reef’s doom. Or Susan Crockford, late of Canada’s Victoria University, who has paid the price for denying the polar bears’ doom (bear numbers have  quadrupled, to about 40,000, since 2011). I hope Jon will remain the odd man out among Melbourne Monoversity’s 9,000 academics.

MSSI introduced the panel by claiming the planet’s life foundation systems “are being stretched to breaking point”, i.e. we may soon join Uranus as a dead planet, which wouldn’t be good at all! The session took place under the aegis of MSSI icon Greta Thunberg, the unstable 16-year-old Swedish high- school dropout and pawn of adult activists, whom MSSI quotes: “This is above all an emergency, and not just any emergency. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. This is not something you can just like on Facebook.”

By now I’m sure you want to know what Barnett said to upset the MSSI fans. Here goes, thanks to my iphone and rusty shorthand.

Barnett: People have told me, ‘You are a sceptic’. I am by no means a sceptic. We need to reduce GHG emissions. It is real and urgent problem. (But) we need to get past this kind of singular politics that if you believe in climate change you must believe the world is coming to an end. If you don’t say that [the world is ending] and say maybe there is a way that [island] people can have a decent future through climate change, then you are not with us and you are sceptic.

He said people carry on about “drowning atolls” to encourage the West to cut emissions, saying “It’s an emergency, we should be afraid, it’s in everyone’s interest to cut emissions”. But they ought to consider how their claims about the atolls are interpreted by atoll residents.

Barnett: They hear that they have no power and no future, and they all will be forcibly displaced and may have only 10 years left on their island. It’s as if I walked into your life and didn’t know you and hadn’t seen you before nor seen your medical records, and said, ‘We have a problem of cancer in society and you will be dead in ten years, I don’t want to hear what you have to say, and don’t care what your options are, I’m just telling you, ‘Dead in ten years! See you later.’

That is how the [climate message] is heard in those places. It’s as if they have no future living on their drowning islands, and they are all to become environmental refugees and so on.

They [climate alarmists] make huge assumptions about people and the state of the science. No doubt rising emissions are going to cause warming and rising seas, but now drill down to the Pacific islands and how climate change will manifest there. What will the corals do, the beach sediment, freshwater lenses, the vegetation?

Scientists are still very uncertain. Believe it or not, the islands are not all the same, they show different histories of response, and more important, we don’t know when [impacts] will happen. Will they run out of freshwater or fish or lose their beaches in 10 years, 40 or 60 years? We don’t know. We don’t know how people there will respond, or what capabilities they possess to deal with environmental changes. Look at Singapore and Hong Kong, how those island [states] have responded and the amount of technology [available] in say, one nuclear aircraft carrier. Think about what scope those atoll islands have to adapt. People say with absolute certainty that [residents] can’t live there in ten or 20 years time, well that is a bit problematic.

If people told you that you are powerless and doomed, and they weren’t interested in your reaction, how would you respond? Would you think that was fair, or get angry about the legitimacy and authority of those outsiders? Would you become depressed, believe them and think about leaving your island?

If the worst thing was to force people off their islands, it would be ironic if the message about climate forced them off in anticipation. It would be even more ironic if people who ran around saying, ‘I have a solution to move the people now’ brought into the present the [dire] impact onto people worried about their future. People not only hear [these alarming forecasts] but react to them.

The ill-effects of alarmism extended even further, Barnett said, to the international aid and development community. If those islands had no future beyond ten years, what would be the point of putting in desal plants? “Island failure” became a self-fulfilling prophecy as investors withdraw. More than that, the locals could over-exploit their resources for quick cash in the belief there would be no future generations to look after.[4]

He quoted anthropologist Peter Rudiak-Gould’s research on Marshall Islands people, some of whom blamed their own failings for global climate change. Some refused to believe the scare, and others saw it as yet another scam being imposed by colonialists. Some dissociated from the message, some turned to prayer, and some felt so anxious their mental health suffered.

Barnett said islands like the Marshalls had already suffered colonial changes to land tenures and their economies, even enduring nuclear tests. There was the further colonialism of imposing the results of the West’s emissions on them to threaten their future. And the third wave of colonialism was how we talk about them, refusing to give them a voice and hope. [Case in point: at December’s UN COP25 gabfest in Madrid, 21-year-old Tabita Kaitamakin Awira Awerika, from Kiribati, reportedly shed angry tears and told delegates about her “anguish” about the future.] Barnett also quoted psychologist Dr Kari Gibson, who did her PhD on Tuvalu citizens’ reactions. She found they showed distress at clinically significant levels because of what they were hearing.

Despite all these Western narratives and ignorance about the islands, the people are doing a lot to adapt to climate, he says.

Barnett: There isn’t an atoll country in the world not planning massively to secure and fortify their capital and key parts. Look at the Maldives planning for dramatic and bold changes.[5] Atolls are absolutely facing up to the challenges, making hard and politically brave decisions about how to live through a changed climate. At local level they’re using social networks, health care, education, diets, sustainable planting and fishing, to show their agency to adapt. These belie our assumption that there is nothing they can do and they have no future. What atoll people are doing is absolutely inspiring. They don’t want to leave and they’re exercising everything available to continue living there.

Our narratives about future climate change impacts in these places need a re-set. We need to respect their right to live there. It’s lazy for us to say they have no future and just stop being concerned about them. We must reduce CO2 emissions [I assume his “we” includes those naughty nations China and India] and support the islands in adapting. We need to talk about them differently in terms of rights, agency, respect and assistance, rather than ‘See you later!’

Well said, Professor Barnett, although it’s high time you checked on the validity of IPCC forecasting models. Maybe you could also persuade anthropologist Peter Rudiak-Gould to study MSSI staff and audiences as his next project.

Tony Thomas’s hilarious social history, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and on-line here



[1] Barnett is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and a Lead Author of the chapter on Human Security in the IPCC Fifth Report. He co-edits the journal Global Environmental Change.

[2] “Critical reflections on crisis and emergency climate framings: A panel discussion”

[3] Notoriously, Quadrant Online doesn’t reimburse expenses.

[4] He omitted a further point he had made in a Conversation article, that locals could also blame “climate change” for their own conservation malpractices, and continue doing this bad stuff. He concluded in that piece, “It seems all we can do is talk about loss, migration, and waves of climate refugees. Having let them down twice, this defeatist thinking risks denying them an independent future for a third time. This is environmental neo-colonialism … We should all stop talking down the future of low-lying small islands, because all this does is hasten their demise.”

[5] The Maldives in fact are only drowning under their own sea of chicanery, farce and corruption, abetted by Australian taxpayers.

Yes, we have a truth emergency


23 November 2019

Last Monday the Australian described ABC journos organising a ‘solutions journalism’ approach to what they call the ‘climate crisis’. This bureau of propaganda, or in their words, ‘brains trust’, would be a management/staff overlay putting special hype on ABC climate coverage.

Melbourne producer/presenter Barbara Heggen bulk-emailed for support and got plenty: ‘A fabulous idea’, ‘I’m keen’, ‘Great idea’. Management response is awaited but the email says it all about ABC journos’ mindset and contempt for their chartered impartiality.

Monday was also the tenth anniversary of Climategate, the bulk leaking of emails among IPCC-leading climate scientists confessing how they were exaggerating global warming. The University of East Anglia’s climate guru Phil Jones casually wrote that the now-ballyhooed 2 degree Celsius tipping point on warming had been ‘plucked out of thin air’. Today’s ABC would censor such revelations.

ABC policy already censors views contrary to the orthodoxy that by 2050 or 2100 humanity will be broiled by fossil fuel emissions. The last nod to objectivity was by ABC chair Jim Spigelman in 2013. He’s a former NSW chief justice and if you ask me, a bit of a sceptic. Suspicious of his reporters’ gullibility, he whistled up a quality audit of ABC science coverage, saying: ‘What I believe needs most work, is to develop our capacity to appropriately challenge scientists, not least those whose work is distributed by press release from organisations with a vested interest in favorable publicity. I would hope we can further develop the scientific literacy of our news and current affairs staff. In this… we must go beyond PR handouts, or what has been called “churnalism”.’

He felt the need to add that he was ‘not a climate sceptic’ which in ABC-land is a bit like insisting, ‘I am not a cannibal’. Sadly the science audit was neither independent nor public. It was chaired by Professor Fiona Stanley – she was the lead signatory to the greenies’ ‘Monster Climate Petition’ of 2014, which began with ‘My great-great-grandchildren ask me in dreams, what did you do while the planet was plundered? What did you do when the earth was unravelling?’. Another science audit panelist (I’m not making this up) was Media Watch’s Jonathan Holmes. This secret report, according to management, found that the ABC’s science coverage was terrific and the ABC was fulfilling its charter obligations of impartiality very well, thank you for asking.

Concurrently, managing director Mark Scott told Senate Estimates that the ABC should ‘follow the weight of evidence’ or ‘consensus’. If sceptics were to be broadcast, ‘they should be robustly questioned, just as the climate scientists are robustly questioned’.

Has anyone ever seen a warmist ‘robustly questioned’ on the ABC? About that time, ABC guru Robyn Williams had Harvard fabulist Naomi Oreskes on his Science Show. She wanted to frighten climate-apathetic families with her forecasts that global warming would kill their pet pups and kittens in 2023. Williams, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, agreed: ‘Yes, not only because it’s an animal but it’s local. You see, one criticism of the scientists is they’re always talking about global things… And so if you are looking at your village, your animals, your fields, your park, your kids, and the scientists are talking about a small world that you know, than it makes a greater impact, doesn’t it?’ Oreskes: ‘Well, exactly. It was about bringing it literally home, literally into your home, your family, your pet, the dog or cat that you love who is your faithful and trusted companion.’

Over at the BBC, climate guidelines derive from ‘28-gate’, a pure fraud. The BBC Trust adopted recommendations from an outside panel of what it called ‘28 best scientific experts’. Because the science was settled, dissent should be suppressed, they said. The BBC complied by infusing green lines into BBC output everywhere from science to comedy. When a pensioner in Wales FOI’d for names of the 28, two pricey BBC barristers and four lawyers fought disclosure for years. Sure enough, the 28 experts included only two climate scientists (and only one other scientist) amid a majority of green activists (two from Greenpeace), vested-interest business people and even an odd bod from the US embassy.

A year ago the BBC’s director of news Fran Unsworth further emailed staff, ‘To achieve impartiality you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken.’ (Amusingly, Manchester won on Sunday, not Saturday).

Warming advocacy and censorship by the media is now on steroids.

More than 250 news outlets worldwide have signed on to Covering Climate Now, ‘a project to improve coverage of the emergency’. They dedicated a week last September to hyping warming in synchrony with a UN climate confab.

The Guardian and a rabble of other media have switched to using the terms ‘climate emergency, crisis or breakdown’ and ‘global heating’. Guardian editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner ruled to her troops, ‘The phrase “climate change” sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.’

Misha Ketchell, editor of the university and taxpayer-funded Conversation announced in September a ban on all sceptic comments and sceptics themselves: ‘Climate change deniers are dangerous – they don’t deserve a place on our site. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.’ This was on a site mast-headed, ‘We believe in the free flow of information.’ The same day he ran a Tim Flannery piece libeling sceptics as child predators.

Dr Andy Pitman, Director of UNSW Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, last June denied any link between drought and climate change, which prima facie makes things wetter. ‘Now, that may not be what you read in the newspapers,’ he warned, in a weird outbreak of candour. He thus scuttled the illogic that climate change is fuelling the bushfires. Paul Barry’s effort on Media Watch to spin away Pitman’s view was in line with staff’s ‘solutions journalism.’

We do have a truth emergency. The truth’s dull reading but here goes. The warming trend in the monthly HadCRUT4 global temperature series from January 2000 to last April was 0.0156 degrees Celsius per year or a mere 1.56 degree C per century. Exclude the freak 2015-16 el Nino and the trend drops to 1.32 degree C per century. Spin that away, ABC colleagues!