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 (quadrant.org.au) and Spectator Australia.

Risdon Cove: The Truth Massacred

There’s nothing like a gruesome massacre story to get our woke folk writhing in white guilt, even if the “massacre” is sheer malarkey. The 1804 “massacre” at Risdon Point near Hobart is a case in point.

On Australia Day January 26, 2011, called “Invasion Day” by its detractors, Michael Mansell of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council stood outside Hobart’s Parliament House and made a fiery speech. He said many Australians sorrowed for the 35 killed by Martin Bryant at Port Arthur in 1996. “But not one of those Australians can even remember that a whole tribe of people, men women and children at Risdon Cove, were slaughtered by the cannons of the people, the pioneers, who came to Tasmania.” (At 3.30 minutes in. Audience members cry “Shame! Shame!” at any whites present).

Risdon Cove is 7km north of Hobart. In 1803 Lt John Bowen led a group of 49 there from Sydney to become the first white settlement in Van Diemen’s Land. In February 1804 Lt-Col David Collins arrived at Hobart, leaving some troops, settlers and a dozen convicts at Risdon Cove.

Three months later, on May 3, 200 or so Aboriginals arrived on a kangaroo round-up drive. They seized two dead kangaroos, and harassed a settler who’d built a hut on their tribal ground. The commander Lt Moore sent troops to rescue the settler, with orders to fire only as a last resort, but one trooper shot dead one of the Aborigines. Things worsened and Moore ordered a shot to be fired from one of two 12-pounder ship’s cannons to “intimidate”. The presumption is that a blank produced only sparks, flame and smoke, since the cannon was sited 1km from the action and the white community was mid-way in the line of fire. There were no reports of dismembering from canister shot. But the earth-shaking explosion was heard even in Hobart.

The official accounts by Moore and Collins, compiled just after the affray, reported three Aborigines killed, some wounded, and the rescue of an orphaned black two-year-old. Governor King in NSW replied with alarm about the “unfortunate event” with concern for the welfare of the Aboriginal population.

THIS does not add up to what Mr Mansell calls the slaughtering of an entire tribe by cannon fire. Nor does it add up to what’s on the Massacre Map of Newcastle University historian Lyndall Ryan, an expert on Van Diemen’s Land. Ryan puts the “massacre” deaths in her error-riddled Risdon map account   at a definite 20 and possibly 30-50.

Why and how the “massacre” accounts? Because on March 16, 1830, 26 years after the event, there was an inquiry in Hobart into deteriorating relations with blacks. An old convict lag Edward White , who claimed to be an eye-witness to the Risdon Cove affray, gave compelling and detailed evidence of a “great many” unarmed natives killed and wounded during a three-hour all-out battle.

Because of his credible recorded testimony, historians thereafter treated the official stories as self-excusing lies. (Actually the inquiry did not even access the official accounts, only a diary of a church minister which included a transcription of a surgeon’s brief first-hand account). The inquiry, remarkably, produced its findings within two days of hearing the last witness. With each re-telling of the story based on convict Edward White’s account, new colourful and horrific details appeared, turning the “massacre”. into the opening shots in Tasmania’s shameful “Black War” that climaxed with the late-1830 “Black Line” campaign.

In 2004 Professor Lyndall Ryan re-told “one of the best-known massacres in Australian history.” Drawing on Edward White’s evidence plus hearsay, she added that at least one barrel of Aboriginal remains, perhaps already dissected by the Risdon surgeon, was sent to Sydney on the ship Ocean after the massacre. Her upper death toll of 50 came from a boy, James Kelly, who was 12 years old at the time and living in Hobart, not Risdon, and not an eye-witness. Ryan’s account has delighted woke museum curators.

Those at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery came up with a fanciful “bones in the barrel” exhibit with explanations about the 1804 surgeon “stripping of the flesh off the bones of these two Aboriginal bodies”, for study by Sydney and possibly London medicos. The curators have cooked up a realistic-looking sealed barrel addressed to “Colonial Surgeon, Sydney, May 1804”, a macabre exhibit currently sending shivers up the spines of schoolkid groups.

 A decade earlier, in 1995, Tasmania’s Liberal Premier Ray Groom sought to atone for all the white guilt. He handed the 79-hectare Crown site to Aboriginal descendants of the “massacre” represented by Michael Mansell and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council. It’s all heritage-listed and I’ll detail later what happened to it.

NOW for the reality check on the “massacre” attested by convict Edward White. A trio of amateur historians, Scott Seymour, George Brown and Roger Karge, after a decade’s research, have proved that the convict White was a con-man who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land between 1808 and 1811, considerable years after the 1804 Risdon affray and not an eye-witness by a long shot. Probably seeking government rations and slops (clothing) in his old age, he concocted his massacre gossip.

Scrub out White’s account and our knowledge of the Risdon Cover “massacre” comes back to the two official accounts of three killed, regrettable of course but unplanned in a sadly typical case of cultural confusion.  

The research by the amateur trio is laid out in a beautifully-presented book “Witness? Truth-Telling at Risdon Cove.” ($44.95, Risdon Cove Publishing, April 2022). It describes each step in the complex job of “outing” con-man White via the archives. In addition it provides on its pages facsimiles of the hand-written documents for the reader to cross-check. This professional treatment is a huge embarrassment to the black-armband historians whose work has substituted myths for history.

The amateur trio were inspired simply by a craving to get at the truth. Their opening illustration is a statue of the female Roman god Veritas, with a caption, “Truth is Mighty”. Their expertise includes state-of-the-art data-base software capable of sifting and analysing vast historical archives in London, Ireland and Australia, nailing the lying convict.

The trio’s professional rivals are also no slouches and their own “history” appears well-rooted in documentary evidence for White being on-the-spot.

Apart from Lyndall Ryan, the major player is Tasmanian historian Phillip Tardif. Tardif managed apparently to document how Edward White got to Sydney and then Risdon Cove prior to the “massacre” . The only problem was that Tardif focused on the wrong “Edward White” – a common mistake with common names. Tardif’s 2003 book John Bowen’s Hobart : the beginning of European settlement in Tasmania,[i] claims that Edward White did embark from Cork, Ireland. for Sydney on the ship Atlas in 1801. The amateur trio prove however that he never disembarked, having died during the voyage. (The voyage death toll was 63 out of 151 convicts).

Tardif’s (deceased) Edward White somehow got from Sydney to Risdon Cove with a reinforcing party before the 1804 “massacre”. Tardif’s thesis cries out for a document naming “Edward White” among the dozen convicts left at Risdon Cove by Lt-Col Collins. White would thereupon become a potential eyewitness to the May 3 conflict.

In his history, for the first time, Tardif was able to cite despatches from Lt-Col Collins to NSW Governor Philip King naming the convicts at Risdon Cove as “mostly useful Mechanics, Sawyers and Carpenters”. On the list, Tardif writes, is “Edward White”. Eureka! That’s verification of White’s eye-witness claims 26 years later. As historians do, Tardif footnoted his important discovery (p163) for verification:

Port Jackson, Despatches, Original Correspondence, Colonial Office (CO 201/33 pp 240-42) Collins to King, 31 July 1803[sic – read 1804], in HRA Series 111 Vol 1, p254.

Only the first reference (“p240-42”) is relevant for Tardif’s case. All three pages are in facsimile in Witness. The listing of what historian Tardif says are “13” convict names reads “George Clark, John Jackson, Wm Wright, Wm Garratt, Edwd Barnes, Dennis McCarty, John Jones, Joseph Parnell, Richd Wright, Wm Cole, John Harris, Mary Lawler.” The amateurs count 12 names, not 13, and there is no “Edward White” listed. They write,

“We have tried to contact Phillip Tardif for clarification on this discrepancy but he has not responded. The Australian newspaper has also reportedly sought comment from Tardif, but “Mr Tardif could not be contacted”. Failing a forthcoming explanation for this discrepancy, we believe Tardif’s book misleads its readers into believing that Edward White’s name was on Collins’ list, when clearly it was not. Readers are led to believe that documentary evidence exists that places an Edward White at Risdon Cove in 1804, when the sources cited in the book do not support this at all.”

Co-author Scott Seymour tells Quadrant he was initially delighted that Tardif had confirmed White was at Risdon Cove in 1804. He went to Tardif’s reference to see Lt-Col Collins’ own handwriting and had to do a double-check and triple-check: why wasn’t White’s name there? He became perplexed but not surprised, since there is no record of an Edward White being shipped from Sydney to Risdon Cove in 1803 or 1804.

The three authors then set out to solve the enigma, “Who was the convict Edward White who gave his bogus testimony to the inquiry in 1830, 26 years after the affray?”

For history buffs, their research is better than a detective novel. They are able first to track some of his post-inquiry adventures. He petitioned the authorities, with support from respectable citizens, four times from 1831-35 to get government sustenance. His case was that he was too ill to support himself. His four preambles are shown to be less than truthful, while he harps on how he came forward with important evidence to the inquiry.

 Lt-Gov George Arthur, unconvinced, never granted the free rations. The Witness authors say an Edward White died of a fever in Hobart on February 13, 1840, and was probably the same man.

They then embark on tracing his origins prior to the 1830 inquiry, while ruling out confusion with various other “Edward Whites”. The records were often themselves faulty, with convicts lying to shorten their terms. These errors are then repeated in standard data bases used by families and scholars to research convict lives. The trio’s vital need is to establish on what vessel this Edward White (among another half-dozen similar names), came to Sydney and thence to Hobart.

TO SIFT the evidence they applied their SAT software, crunching data about Spatial (where), Associates (which friends and contacts were involved) and Temporal (timing).

They picked up that he won a 30-acre farmland grant in 1823 which he sold or quit in 1828. This enabled them to track him in court cases back to 1818, and his probable freedom from 1815. This rearward-facing trail then ran cold.

The authors decided to change tack and start their search for White back in 1800, scanning court records and convict ships from Ireland and England for traces. With luck, this search would join up with their 1815 discovery, like tunnellers meeting in the middle of a mountain.

They found 11 potential convict “Whites” and to cut an intricate story short, finally established that their Edward White, also called “Edmund White”, was transported from Tipperary via the ship Tellicherry in 1805. His arrival in Botany Bay was recorded in 1806.

To their surprise, they found he’d been sentenced to death in Tipperary, later commuted, for “running away with” a Judith Prendergast. He might have abducted or kidnapped her, or was framed by relatives over an elopement.

In Sydney, court records show him getting 200 lashes for an escape attempt, and absconding again in 1808. This second offence likely had him sentenced down to Hobart, but they couldn’t find records of it. They conjecture that those records were in the nine and a half tons of documents deliberately burnt or pulped by the authorities from 1863-70 to save money on storage, a horrendous loss to all historians.

The best the authors can do is to place their Edward White at a Hobart muster in 1811. He was claiming falsely to have been transported from England on the Hercules in 1802 with a seven-year sentence, not on the Tellicherry in 1806 as a ‘lifer’. The lie would have got him his liberty on or after 1811.

The researchers were amused to find that in their final sifting of three Edward or Edmund Whites, all arriving on different vessels, they turned out to be the one Edward White pulling identity scams. The authors conclude,

“It means that his [1830] testimony should be expunged from the historical record of Tasmania. Whenever the topic of the Risdon Cove affray arises, the words ‘convict eye-witness’ or the name ‘Edward White’ should never be seen or heard. His name and testimony should only appear as a footnote in the History Wars, and even then, only when teaching students critical thinking, archival research or the perils of ‘presentism’…”

Professor Lyndall Ryan of the “massacre map” and Michael Mansell of the Land Council were indignant when contacted by The Australian in February. Ryan was quoted,

“To claim that Edward White was not a witness to the massacre is ridiculous. None of the 19th century historians query White’s testimony. If White was a fake, he would have been exposed long ago. This is the latest in a long line of massacre deniers.”

Mansell insisted the official accounts were a cover-up and White’s evidence was credible. Neither provided evidence to rebut the book, “because they couldn’t”, the authors say.“Why have they devoted decades of scholarship and activism to shoring up White’s story and this particular massacre? Is it a case of intellectuals ‘liking’ genocide?” they ask.

They note that the Risdon “massacre” story has helped trash our global reputation, Ryan writing that it is “part of the national and international literature on the colonial encounter.” Her version is also taught to students and is leant on by journalists as remote as The Wall Street Journal. Among today’s Tasmanians (black and white) some are labelled as assassins and others as victims. The authors claim an increasing number “are wondering whether this whole sorry tale is just one big shakedown.” They conclude,

“Hopefully this book will provide the basis for a reckoning and an end to this divisive madness that has pervaded Tasmania for a generation. It is in every Tasmanian’s interest that we wake up and begin the slow but steady path to true reconciliation.”

End-note: I mentioned above the 1995 Liberal government handover of Risdon Cove’s 79 hectares to the Aboriginal Land Council. The Tasmanian Government, which acquired the site in the 1950s for a reserve, has always found the Risdon settlement embarrassing because of the ‘massacre’. They were only too happy to declare the grounds no longer a historic and tourist site. It had been a popular historical interpretative centre with signage, replica huts, a monument to founder Lt John Bowen and pamphlets for visitors on soldiers and convicts. The interpretative building has now been converted to a small school for Indigenous children.

Soon after the 1995 handover, signage disappeared, one hut burnt down, others were vandalised and levelled, the Bowen monument destroyed, plaques wrenched off with crowbars, relics sent to the tip and archaeological trenches filled and covered. The grounds are now overgrown with grass.

“This is another outcome of con-man White’s false evidence in 1830 about a massacre,” says co-author Seymour. “We’ve lost the oldest colonial-history site in Tasmania. It’s unique because it’s remained in the original state as a farm with no urban-sprawl encroachment. The only road through it is the one marked on the 1804 maps. What a tragedy, based on a convict’s lie.”

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[i] Tardif won funding from the Tasmanian

Historical Research Association for his settlement history in the bicentennial year 2003.

Raising a Generation of Junior Jackbooters

Tony Thomas

Australian schoolkids get multiple forms of green/Left indoctrination (for a partial list click here). Conservative state and federal governments do nothing about this and even promote it. But how well are kids actually absorbing the green/Left narrative? Very well indeed, is my guess. Judging from copious material I’ve been sifting, schools are training a generation of horrid little eco-tyrants hot to embark on the mightiest state planning and control makeover since Stalin destroyed private agriculture and re-introduced mass slavery.

 “Young Australians’ Plans for the Planet” — an astounding trove — involves myriad pages of kids’ takes on social issues. They were organised by local climate zealots to support the United Nation’s 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) for 2030. The UN’s eight “Millennium Development Goals” for 2000-15 did great work reducing indicators like childbirth mortality and extreme poverty. But the 17 SDGs are a joke on “inclusiveness”, involving 169 sub-targets and no prioritisations (“End poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all”). Indeed the UN’s original SDG draft involved 1400 indiscriminate goals proposed by 120 organisations.

Our locals organised about 240 kids from Year 10, drawn from [1] 20 high schools nationally, to flesh out kids’ own plans for Australia out to 2050. The kids and supervising teachers did the eight months’ extra-curricular work during 2016-19,  stopping when COVID-19 intervened. The superstructure was bigger than Ben Hur. The exercise went international with kids from Mauritius (10 schools, 120 kids) and Singapore endorsing the template. Asia, Africa and North America wait in the wings.

The local organisers were: Questacon and Inspiring Australia (the National Science and Technology Centre run within the Department of Industry), the green-Left Academy of Science and its affiliate Future Earth, UN Youth Australia, six universities led by the ANU’s woke vice-chancellor and Nobelist Brian Schmidt, and green fanatics such as Beyond Zero Emissions and OnePlanet Partnership.

The 240 kid volunteers are probably a green-biased sample (if you know of any free-market warming-sceptic school groups out there somewhere, please let me know). Actually some of the  kids taking part occasionally went off-message: an outlier even urged debate and polling on nuclear power, and some others were gung-ho for a gas pipeline from PNG and a gas-powered electricity plant to help North Queensland’s industry – climate Armageddon be damned. The mainstream want a green socialist nirvana where governments dictate how we live and work, and ensure we think only proper thoughts about renewables.

I’m not blaming kids for what teachers have dinned into them; I’m sure kids’ hearts are in the right place. But here goes, fasten your seat-belts, because here is what the junior jackbooters think is needed to confront that climate emergency we’re always hearing about.

♦ “Stop the debate as climate change is real.”

♦ Kids want their parents to be slugged with a carbon tax, plus 50 per cent hikes in both petrol prices and car insurance. (Mum and Dad to kid: “Gee thanks, Fiona, that’s just what our family needs.”)

♦ WA kids: “Go to the federal government and ask them to put through a law saying all vehicle owners need to drive an electric vehicle by 2030.” (Even the uber-progressive Canberra kids want only an 80 per cent cut in normal cars by 2040).

♦ New coal mines are banned and coal and petroleum replaced “with a job-rich, clean energy economy.” The kids say that our green jobs can grow by 28 per cent per annum, which on my calculations suggests nearly 60 million green jobs by 2050.[2]

♦ Central planners are to decrease fossil fuel exports (the lifeblood of the Australian economy) and increase exports of “sustainably farmed crops and livestock.”[3]

♦ Federal and sng tate legislation for mandatory use of biofuels in vehicles, aircraft and off-grid electricity production.

♦ “Increase fuel excise on non-biofuels with all funds invested back into biofuels technology and development.”

♦ WA kids: “We aim to stop live export by any means completely. We want live exports to be completely illegal and those who will break this law will get a reasonable punishment.”

♦ “Legislation/guidelines as to where a shop can import from, based on their location.” (This is to support local production, never mind any advantages of trade).

♦ The kids want the government to snuff out “infamously” water-intensive crops like cotton and rice, “while providing viable alternatives”. I assume the NSW Premier sets up a Ministry of Artichokes & Pineapples.

♦ WA kids want farmers to be levied “4 per cent of their output or $2 billion a year” to stock “community fridges” available to anyone wanting a feed. (Fat chance that teachers would know that WA farm output isn’t $50 billion, it’s $11 billion).

♦ “New laws” should place quotas of women in high-paid male-dominated sectors.[4]Workplaces should run compulsory courses against sexism. (comparable, I assume, to current compulsory safety courses.)

♦ A steadily increasing tax on sugar-laced foods, while subsidising fruit and veges for the poor. The sugar tax to be followed by something called a “trans-fat tax”.

♦ Kids want to teach farmers how to run their farms, imagining that profligate farmers are over-spraying fertilisers and pesticides, heedless of cost. Farm problems can, of course, be ‘solved’ by government funding for increased farmer wages, the kids explain. “It would make sense that we all pay for agriculture through tax.”

Australians were once famed as rugged individualists. But today’s snowflake kids want a taxpayer-funded program for free beach umbrellas to combat sunburn, and taxpayer-paid seaside sunscreen dispensers. Students from households on less than $80,000 a year should get taxpayer-paid lunches.

The NSW kids, who have been familiarised with green politics, write:

Australia previously had a carbon tax under the Gillard government that lasted from 2011-14.[5] Unfortunately there was extreme backlash towards this and it was repealed in July 2014…

The introduction of a Carbon Tax could be a potentially viable way of reducing the state’s dependence on coal and fossil fuels as it becomes more expensive to use them.

The NSW kids have got the climate-catastrophe panic prose down pat:

We have 18 months to reduce impact of climate change until irreversible damage including unadaptable changes for animals according to the UN.

The 18 months are now up, kids, and global temperatures actually fell in June to a range last seen 20 years ago.

Schoolkids, who’ve learnt so much engineering from their teachers, envisage

teaching the community the benefits of renewable energy and dissipating the myths surrounding solar/wind farms (that they are too loud, look unattractive in the countryside).

A reminder, kids: they’re also intermittent.

The union movement has tumbled from 51 per cent of the workforce in 1976 to a under 14 per cent today, with the education sector probably the most strongly unionised. It appears that union supporters have invaded the classrooms to shore up future membership. Here’s kids’ reflections:

Creating jobs in the renewable energy sector that are attractive, high salary and have good unions …  All organisations should have equal pay policies and employee access to third party pay negotiators. Funding from government to allow people to have access to a third party negotiator… Organise various third party negotiators for the government/businesses to readily supply for employers and employees … By communicating with their government prior to a job interview, an employee will be able to access a third party to negotiate pay.

Combatting unemployment is seen as the job of “schools unions and unemployment benefit centres” –  employers don’t rate a mention.

On Clean Energy goals — the need for baseload power is typically overlooked — coal miners are seen deftly transitioning to solar energy jobs and “the price of electricity will drop to more affordable prices for all communities.” Actually, kids, studies show that the more solar/wind wattage a country has, the dearer its electricity. In NSW, electricity is to be 100 per cent renewable by 2030. Heaven help fridge-owners during wind droughts.

The kids’ push for electric cars would be aided by taxpayer grants to buyers and free access to bus lanes, toll roads and ferries. Since the kids want electric cars to swamp the roads, bus drivers and ferry operators will be cursing.[6]

As to CO2 in the atmosphere, currently 416 parts per million, the kids believe it can be sucked down legislatively or by technology to 366ppm in 2030 and to 330ppm in 2050. It was previously at 330ppm in 1975, an era when Asian and African peasants were starving from lack of mechanisation.

The nadir of the kids’ teacher-supervised output comes from a Perth high school. Its 31 planet-savers aim to re-shape human society and revise the Western Enlightenment, but they first need more instruction on grammar and spelling. For example, “This an extra income a little bit more unrestricted.” I wouldn’t normally care but I would have expected teachers to correct kids’ grammar in a public document for clients like the Prime Minister and the Academy of Science. Perhaps the teachers’ command of basic grammar and coherence is no better than that of their indoctrinated charges.

These kids, in their plan for quality education, say,

Also to improve the staff work ethic so we can (sic) quality teachers over a quantity of average teachers (sic) … More important Topics come first an aren’t just restricted to being taught by one person yelling out information expecting others to take notes.

Understandably, they want the school budget to finance a therapist. These kids lobby for “Quality teachers … performance management salary based incentives” – a good thing but sounds odd from the mouths of babes.

During the planning exercise WA had some drought so the kids’ plan reads,

The amount of drought is reduced by at least 35% in the heavily drought affected areas.

Almost as ambitious as planning the weather is halting WA coral bleaching for the first time in about 26 million years.

Reduce the temperature of sea water by trying to reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere that lead to global warming that lead to coral bleaching.

The budding civil engineers want to turn Argyle, Australia’s second-largest dam, into a Malcolm Turnbull-style Snowy 2.0: “Get a huge pump to pump water up pipes. Power the pump by a nearby solar farm that has to be made.”

Kids nationally bemoan water scarcity but seem unaware of green bans on vital new dams and catchments. Some are also clueless but zealous about construction materials, claiming that inter-city water pipes should be converted to copper because copper is the “most affordable” material (recent price $A13,000 per tonne). They know better than water boards how to prevent leaks – boards must apply anti-rust coatings “for all pipes made of a Ferris (sic) metal.”

The ACT kids are demanding the honoring of the 2015 Paris climate pledges – notwithstanding that all pledges are discretionary. They urge their fellow young  to lobby the Australian curriculum authority to include climate change teaching “in collaboration with students” who clearly know what’s what. Like the WA kids, the ACT kids lobby, curiously, for higher teacher pay, more teacher support, benefits and longer annual leave (six weeks’ Christmas leave plus term breaks are apparently not enough). Need one be corroded by cynicism to guess who has been planting in kids’ heads the notion that teachers need more pay and fewer hours?

Kids meanwhile should be able to change their legal sex identity without the inconvenience of gender assignment surgery, according to the NSW kids. This looks a bit esoteric for Year 10s but nothing in today’s education surprises me.

In other kids’ miscellany, violent Aboriginals are incarcerated because they’re victimised: “We need to uproot biased judges and make sure all trials are fair.” And in what must be news to NSW loggers, kids inform us that “The NSW Government also needs to stop subsidising the native forests logging industry with the people’s tax money.”

My first recommendation is that woke teachers and green do-gooders stop shoving their perverse and naive pet causes down kids’ throats. Second, jettison this whole idea that we’ll get any wisdom from teenagers’ hormone-fevered brains. The kids are in school to learn stuff and acquire some worldly knowhow. When they’ve flown the parental coop, paid their own way and experienced the real world’s rigors, their views might be worth a listen.

Until then, kids can ponder Greta Thunberg’s latest message: “The audience has grown weary. This show is over. Thank you”

Tony Thomas’s just-published “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from author at tthomas061@gmail.com or publisher Connor Court.

[1] If you imagine the UN is a noble organisation, keep in mind that the China is taking over key committees; the founder of the UN Environmental Program Maurice Strong got sprung with a corrupt cheque for $US988,000; the 2013-14 President of the General Assembly John Ashe (Antigua) enjoyed the proceeds of at least $US1.3 million in bribes and died pending his trial; and UN peace-keeping forces have been hotbeds of child sex abuseThe Age reported in 2006 that two Jordanian soldiers with the UN Peacekeeping Force in East Timor were evacuated home with injured penises after attempting intercourse with goats.

[2] Based on 27,000 jobs in renewables in 2018-19.

[3] The kids believe our fossil fuel export subsidies total $12 billion a year – a canard probably from the Greens Party. Tim Flannery’s Climate Council puts the subsidies at $4b a year, which is still ludicrous. The “subsidies” are in fact largely refunds of fuel taxes to prevent double-taxation.

[4] “ Increase the number of women in influential positions/positions of power by 50% in 5 years. Increase the number of women in positions of power by 10% each year.”

[5] In PM Gillard’s immortal or immoral words, “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.”

[6] Buses and trams would have sensors to dob in traffic violators, and the public transport system would get 25% of the fines – bounty-hunting by behemoths

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Green Doctors: suitable cases for treatment

On climate, a lot of medicos are out there on the nuttiest end of the doom spectrum. But I had no idea their hysteria could even out-do and embarrass Greenpeace, The Guardian and Tim Flannery’s Climate Council.

Last month three anaesthetists published a peer-reviewed paper in Australasian Anaesthesia discouraging birthing mothers from using nitrous oxide for pain relief. The trio warn, “While it may be innocuous for the pregnant woman and unborn baby, that is certainly not the case for the environment.”

About 200,000 Australian pregnant women per year choose the help of nitrous oxide.[1] The learned paper wants them to use more climate-friendly pain-killers, and/or epidurals, hypnobirthing, massage, acupuncture, and Tens — elaborate equipment called “Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulator”. They’re all costlier, but hang the expense.

I hasten to add that two of the trio of authors are females, albeit gung-ho for purported planetary healing. Dr Alice Gynther is from Western Health Melbourne and Fiona Pearson from Sunderland Royal Hospital UK. The lone male Forbes McGain of Western Health is a stalwart of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA). I’ll chart DEA’s extremism later in the course of my obstetric odyssey.[2]

These three mothers’ helpers write

By educating medical staff and pregnant women about the carbon impact of N2O, ensuring that it is delivered and used as efficiently as possible and considering the use of more carbon-friendly alternatives, we can reduce GHG emissions from the labour ward and help to mitigate the effects of climate change. Ensuring that midwifery, obstetric and anaesthetic staff are aware of the environmental impact of N2O is crucial… 

In order to support women’s autonomy and help them make informed choices regarding their labour analgesia [pain reduction], we have a duty to explain the risks and benefits of the different analgesic options. As climate change is a threat to public health, the carbon footprint of [nitrous oxide] is arguably a ‘risk’ worthy of inclusion in such discussions. Ideally such discussions would occur during antenatal classes, that is, well prior to childbirth itself. This knowledge, coupled with the lack of good evidence for nitrous oxide’s analgesic efficacy, may reduce the number of women choosing to use it for labour…

 I can picture the scene at the doctor’s.

Woke medico: Good morning Alice! How about saving some greenhouse warming via an epidural? 

Mother-to-be Alice: Dr Wittgenstein, I actually came here to talk about the risk of pre-eclampsia to my baby. How self-centred of me! What do the climate scientists models’ predict for 2050-2100? What can I and my baby do personally to offset China’s 12 billion annual tonnes of emissions, which I understand are accelerating?

Woke medico: No pain, no gain. You go, girl!

The reports’ authors say nitrous oxide is only 7 per cent of all “long-lived” greenhouse gases, and only 1 per cent of that 7 per cent is from women reducing their distress in labour.[3] But being sciencey types, the authors work out how much global warming is created by Victorian women in labour using nitrous oxide. Their model involves a 70kg woman starting with 4cm cervical dilation. First-timers average 5.5 hours and others 4.5 hours. They suck nitrous oxide for 60 seconds per contraction and have three contractions each 10 minutes, hence 18 minutes on the gas per hour. Then the authors add the extra greenhouse damage like

♦ Coal-fired Victorian electricity (75% of output) used to power the medical pumps

♦ Making of mouthpiece, needles, syringes, tubing and contents, sterile single-use drapes, gown and gloves and

♦ Incineration of clinical waste products

Their dreadful conclusion is that emissions-wise, Mrs 70kg might as well have driven an average-polluting car almost 1500km. An epidural equated with just six kilometres breezing along the boulevard in an econobox Barina.

Not all medicos are obsessed about global warming. The green/Left Guardian quotes Gino Pecoraro, president of the Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: “During childbirth, some women wouldn’t care how many coal-fired power stations are needed to reduce their pain. If pregnant women in labour were denied a proven safe and effective pain relieving method, I’d think we’d be going down the wrong path.”

 The Guardian quotes Greenpeace types (of all people): “Rapid phase out of coal and gas, by far the biggest climate culprits, is the fastest and most effective way to tackle the climate crisis, rather than focusing on the relatively low emissions from obstetric medicine.”

Flannery’s Climate Council also prefers banning coal, oil and gas first before chasing down emissions from behind the drapes in labour wards. In a fleeting flash of sanity, the Council says, “No individual mother should be made to feel guilty about her choice of pain relief.” But it continued, “Parents could do more to protect their child’s health, their wallets and the climate by doing simple things like getting gas out of their homes.” I didn’t realise swapping out gas heaters for electrics was a “simple thing” and a friend down the road says it cost him $6-7000.
The Guardian piece by journalist Isabelle Oderberg finished,

I don’t see anyone asking men queuing up from colonoscopies or transurethral resections of the prostate to give a Tens machine or massage a go. They’re knocked out quicker than you can say ‘Bob’s your uncle’.

While the report in itself may not be “incorrect” in any way [all climate propaganda is good propaganda. TT], it feels like the lowest hanging, cheap-as-chips fruit. Context is everything and, in a world where people who aren’t men [I think she means “women”] are fighting for their right to be treated with care, equality and compassion, the release of this report in this way was deeply ill-advised and made for painful reading.

WHILE our anaesthetist trio finds innumerable fringe studies about alleged health impacts of global warming, they haven’t caught up with a report last February by Britain’s Office for National Statistics that warming in England and Wales alone in the past 20 years can be credited with a net 550,000-plus lives saved. That’s because mortality from cold outweighs by around ten-fold any mortality from heat.[4] Extrapolate the England/Wales result to northern Europe, Asia and America and global warming is a giant health benefit to humanity, even without considering the boon to agriculture.[5]

Noted climate blogger Joanne Nova sums up all this fuss, a little unkindly, as “Junk models meets junk research, junk journals, and junk reporting.” Her commenters also show some robust common-sense. Like Annie, for instance:

Carrying a growing baby and giving birth is perhaps the most rewarding and frightening and triumphant moment in the lives of many women and I feel that using that to score points about Greenhouse gases is sick.

It is evil to suggest denying pain relief at what can be an extremely frightening and painful time for women. How can this ugliness be allowed to continue in a supposedly civil society?

And another:

What? No information on how much Nitrous the MEN will need when they give birth? It’ll be a LOT!” 

I’ve mentioned that the paper’s co-author Dr McGain is a stalwart of the Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA). Of all the global-warming groups among medicos, DEA seems the loopiest about “preventing catastrophic climate change” and the alleged perils of “the current market society”.

DEA teams flung their weight behind the Teal candidates in five electorates to oust Morrison’s conservatives last month, putting “Climate Action Now” signs on their Teslas in Wentworth “at their own cost to raise awareness” and running a “picnic party for our planet”in Boothby (Adelaide). They’ve been advised by a “Scientific Committee” featuring Nobelist Peter Doherty at one end and the ABC’s once-was-medico Dr Norman Swan at the other.

Back in 2019 DEA was already

♦ declaring a climate “health emergency”

♦ demanding a ban on new oil, gas and coal-seam fields[6] and

♦ pronouncing that “Climate change is killing people.”[7]

It campaigned for the demolition of the Port Augusta coal-fired power station, which happened, but DEA’s pipedream of substituting solar thermal energy fell to bits after failing to secure finance. DEA has also striven to lock coal-seam gas in the ground. It gave 100 per cent credence to a report, “Lethal Power”, by Greenpeace activists that coal-fired power plant emissions are killing 373-1310 citizens a year. In a revealing aside, Greenpeace added that the health damage equated to $15.40 per megawatt hour, or about a quarter of the value of electricity’s then-cost. Oh boy, that means that only three years ago our electricity was costing $60 per megawatt hour, compared with $130-200  on recent 2023 futures contracts.

One DEA enthusiast, a Dr Kimberley Humphrey, bewails that “the rate of suicide among young people is also increasing with the threat of global warming and this needs to be prevented by young people able to see we are doing something to save the planet.” If activists would cease scaring the daylights out of little Billy and Sally, the kids might have less incentive to self-harm.

DEA now expresses some Schadenfreude that our health sector “is responsible for a whopping 7 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions.” Maybe we should dispense with health services by 2030, along with fossil fuels, to save our perspiring planet.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] In the Joan Kirner Hospital labour ward (Melbourne, Australia) in 2020, 62 per cent of women used the gas

[2] The following seven colleges have declared their ridiculous “climate emergencies”, along with 2300 individual medicos:

* Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

* Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP)

* Australian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM)

* Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)

* Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)

* College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM)

* Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA)

[3] From the paper: “More than 1 per cent of worldwide GHG

emissions resulting from N2O are anaesthetic in origin, which is a substantial figure, given that a total of 40 per cent of global N2O is anthropogenic.”

[4] Even in India, cold deaths outweigh heat deaths by 7-to-1

[5] In another recent study, titled “Global, regional, and national burden of mortality associated with non-optimal ambient temperatures from 2000 to 2019: a three-stage modelling study,” 68 scientists representing universities and research institutes in 33 countries spanning all regions of the world, concluded that as the earth modestly warms, deaths caused by non-optimum temperatures are declining by tens of thousands of people each year.

[6] In today’s real world, PM Albanese’s Resources Minister Madeleine King vows never to put a limit on how much coal Australia will export, with Australia possibly still exporting coal to Asian trading partners past 2050, and Labor is scrambling to protect two big aluminium smelters from grid crises. 

[7] From the 2019 DEA media kit: “Interview and photo opportunities — Doctors in scrubs, surgical masks and stethoscopes will gather to issue the Climate Emergency declaration on Saturday 6 April at the Menzies Research Institute, 17 Liverpool Street, Hobart at 10:20 am.”

Comrade Pupils, Here’s Today’s History Lesson

School education is bathed in a green-Left miasma, and so a new Victorian Year 12 history text  is unlikely to create much of a fuss. It’s  Volume 1 of a four-part lavish and expensive series from Cambridge University Press, Analysing Australian History – From Custodianship to the Anthropocene ($49.95). In production and multi-media values it’s state of the art. It’s also keyed specifically to the Victorian Certificate of Education syllabus.

The five woke authors begin with a racist apology for being “all non-Indigenous Australians, mostly of Anglo-Celtic descent … Each volume has been reviewed by First Nations educators … and checked by many people, including the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc and teacher forums.”  (p iiv).

Despite being “checked by many people”, the textbook is replete with howlers such as how we’ve been “exporting” brown coal (p294). We don’t. [1]

On p169 the politically-naive authors refer to Tribunethe official newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia, as “the union newspaper The (sic) Tribune”.  They unwittingly provide a 100-word slab of 1958 Tribune agitprop for kids to study  the “struggle around issues of benefit to the people generally”. On the same page is an hero pic of Whitlam’s far-left  minister Tom Uren on the march, “a respected federal Labor politician” – the others presumably being less-respected.[2]

On page 17 of the Introduction we view a lone forlorn sheep, backside facing us, suffering from the so-called Anthropocene at “Pejar Dam in southern NSW, 2005” near Goulburn. On page 261 a pic of the very same ewe becomes “An exhausted sheep searches for food on a farm near Ivanhoe, New South Wales, 2002.” Googling suggests that Mrs Ewe took the three years to trot 730km south-east from Ivanhoe to Goulburn. No wonder she’s done in.

The authors are Richard Broome, president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and an emeritus professor at La Trobe; Ashley Keith Pratt, vice-president of the History Teachers Association of Victoria; James Grout, a junior and senior history teacher at Geelong; David Harris, teacher and environmental historian; and Geoff Peel, teacher, school department head and examiner.

The book’s title itself is a howler. There is no “Anthropocene”, as the authors claim. It is only a so-far-unaccepted recommendation by the  Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) to bolster the global warming narrative.   This wished-for “Anthropocene” has lasted a mere 70 years. Officially we are in the Holocene era (12,000 years) of the Cenozoic (66 million years). The IUGS has declined to declare any “Anthropocene”, preferring to wait maybe 50,000 years until some evidence of it shows up in rock strata. In the book, kids must elaborate on this misleading brief:

“Evaluate the significance of the scientific community’s adoption of Crutzen’s idea of the Anthropocene.” (p282).

Like those ‘brown coal exports’, this is just plain wrong, as the AWG makes clear:

The Anthropocene is not currently a formally defined geological unit within the Geological Time Scale; officially we still live within the Meghalayan Age of the Holocene Epoch. A proposal to formalise the Anthropocene is being developed by the AWG.

Now flip to the full page opening picture of Chapter 8: “Environmental movements contest the Anthropocene [sic], 1986-2010.” We see a triumphant crowd of Labor Party members in 2007 raging against coal and led by rock star Peter Garrett and flanked on his left – wait for it! – by a beaming Anthony Albanese, aged 44. Our Prime Minister had then the gravitas of  Manager of Opposition Business in the House and Shadow Minister for Water and Infrastructure.

 As well as three “Australian Labor Party” banners , the pic shows the Labor Party heroes surrounded by placards like “Quit Coal” and “Clean Coal a Dirty Lie”. The caption reads, “Marchers led by Federal MP and Labor’s environment and climate change spokesman Peter Garrett start the Walk Against Warming in Sydney, 11 November 2007.”

Flip past a second heroic pic of Bob Hawke, and conservatives will be affronted by a quarter-page image of the official Greens Party logo (p273). The authors claim the party got up in 1992 because state and federal governments “were overwhelmingly reluctant  to enact changes that might jeopardise economic growth for the purposes of conservation.” The book makes no reference to the international Green movement’s actual origins with Nazi philosophy morphing into the  admitted paedophile-tainted German Greens movement, which involved up to 1000 child victims.[3] Kids should get extra marks for independently researching that.

In apparent role as Greens recruiter, the book intones (emphasis added)

Over time, the Greens developed socially-conscious policies beyond environmental issues, but maintained its initial strong focus on conservation matters. Its platforms have continually advocated  matters such as recycling, water management, habitat loss, specie extinction, deforestation and pollution, but above all, democracy(p274).

Kids will assume conservatives oppose democracy. The book then serves up retiring Greens leader Bob Brown’s absurd manifesto to his “earthians”:[4]

So far it seems like we are the lone thinkers in this vast expanding universe. (If not, why are they not communicating with us?). They have extincted themselves. They have come and gone.  And now it’s our turn. Just as we are causing that destruction, we could be fostering its reversal. Indeed nothing will save us from ourselves but ourselves. So democracy – ensuring that everyone is involved in deciding Earth’s future – is the key to success.

As a clincher, kids are treated to an adoring pic (above) of five Greens demonstrators in yellow shirts with Greens logos and matching placards, “Clean energy clean air: The Greens”. They hold high a globe of the purportedly endangered planet. The caption reads:

Greens activists dressed as surf lifesavers march through the city to condemn Prime Minister John Howard’s inaction on climate change…7 September 2007.

The book’s standard question-boxes require kids to spout knowledge about the Greens formation (but ignore Hitler and Green paedophilia) and its local electoral strength, followed by

What is Bob Brown’s basic solution for the world’s environmental problems? (p274)

Another topic goes:

In Australia profit will always be valued more highly than the health of the population and environment. Discuss.  (p264).

Fans of even-handed history will be delighted at how kids are now taught about the Cold War. The book gives the West and the Communist states precisely-equivalent treatment, e.g.

Historians have identified several causes that led to the outbreak of the Cold War, including the desire of both the United States and Soviet Union for geopolitical dominance at the end of World War II, the ideological conflict between these superpowers, the emergence and existential threat of nuclear weapons, the fear of communism in the United States and the concomitant fear of capitalism in the Soviet Union.

Quoting historian Timothy White, it continues:

While scholars may have been blinded by loyalty and guilt in examining the evidence regarding the origins of the Cold War in the past, increasingly, scholars with greater access to archival evidence on all sides have come to the conclusion that the conflicting and unyielding ideological ambitions were the source of the complicated and historic tale that was the Cold War. (p160-61)

In other words, the Communist dictatorships which murdered 100 million of their own people and defenceless “class enemies” are really just the mirror image of the Western law- and market-based democracies.

Apparently reluctant to offend Russia’s top dog Vlad Putin, the authors say that un-named “leading nations and world rivals” got some atomic bomb secrets by spying.  The authors put in favorable references to “peace movements” actually inspired or controlled by Moscow, as documented by KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin. (p148, 156, 169, 180).  Talking of peace, the book refers identically not once but three times to what it regards as the historic founding of Greenpeace in 1971 (p143, 147, 183).  In reality co-founder Patrick Moore quit after 15 years, unable to stomach Greenpeace’s irrational and destructive policies.

The book even directs kids to the ridiculous Doomsday Clock cooked up by leftist scientists. To elaborate, those idiots in 2018 set their clock to “two minutes to midnight” or comparable with the H-bomb stand-off of 1953, because of President Trump and climate change. Nothing more relieves hormonal teens’ angst these days than a Doomsday Clock. The book demands of them, “At what time has the Doomsday Clock been set at most recently? Why has it been set at this time?” (p162).  I can answer that: it is set (pre-Ukraine war) at 100 seconds to midnight, “the closest it has ever been to civilization-ending apocalypse”,  but with sponsors’ hope that President Biden will be our planetary saviour. Our kids, by the way, are also offered a diet of “the 14 most frightening films about nuclear destruction” (p167), such as the corny Melbourne-based On The Beach of 1960. (p167-8).

The book devotes multiple references to avowed Communist Jack Mundey of Green Bans fame (p141, 188-189, 197-98, 212). He gets almost as much messiah treatment as the Green’s Bob Brown. Kids are told to debate the topic, “Jack Mundey was an environmental hero” (p222).

Needless to say, the uranium and nuclear industry get a bad rap, starting with kids being fed a Moscow-friendly conspiracy theory:

In August 1945, the United States used nuclear weapons on two civilian targets in Japan – the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The action was ordered by President Truman, ostensibly to hasten the end of the war in the Pacific. However intense controversy remains about the underlying motives of the United States, with many people arguing, both then and now, that it was unnecessary at that point to defeat Japan and, in fact, the bombing was primarily carried out in order to intimidate the Soviet Union(p 148)

There was nothing “ostensible” about the 82-day casualty toll on Okinawa shortly before (ignored by the authors) which let the Americans know what to expect on the home islands: 100,000 civilians or a quarter of the Okinawa population killed or dead by suicide, 45,000 American troops killed or wounded and 100,000 Japanese troops killed. It was this high toll that persuaded President Truman to use atomic weapons, rather than send an invasion force into Japan.

On the home front, the history authors are respectful of would-be Aborigine and Melbourne University Professor Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu nonsense about the thriving agriculture of town-dwelling pre-contact Aborigines. He gets half a dozen references. For the susceptible kids, the authors rank Dark Emu (2014) with Geoffrey Blainey’s  1975 Triumph of the Nomads (p8), although, in what looks like a desperate last-minute addition, the Cambridge authors say,

…anthropologist Peter Sutton and archaeologist Keryn Walshe in their book Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate (2021), argue that Pascoe has exaggerated his case for Aboriginal farming and used evidence loosely. But clearly in some areas, Aboriginal food production was intensified. (p25).

Pascoe’s map of a purported original Aboriginal “grain belt”, covering half of the continent and dwarfing modern wheat cropping, is reproduced across almost the full page.[5] The original map-drawer Norman Tindale was talking about grain collecting/harvesting, but the Cambridge authors twice refer to it as “production”.  I find it odd, especially in a class textbook, to conflate Aboriginal gathering of sparse native seeds with modern wheat productivity.

A litmus test in textbooks  is whether  such authors hit kids with Murdoch Derangement Syndrome. This history doesn’t disappoint. It quotes activist journalist Maria Taylor, author of Global Warming and Climate Change: what Australia knew and buried, which she helpfully assures visitors to her website is ‘suitable for secondary, tertiary studies and research and as a case study in environment environmental education, environmental policy, science and society studies, political science, policy and political economy, contemporary Australian and western history, climate change studies, media and communication…” On the climate wars, the Cambridge authors quote her thuis:

Great influence was also exerted by News Limited, with a virtual monopoly in Australian print media circulation. The Murdoch media shared the notion that accepting climate science is unwarranted and a threat to business and has spent the last 20 years conducting a ‘culture war’ on this issue. Through politics and media these reasserted beliefs and values had taken over the whole society [what!!!] by the early 2000s and have returned in force in 2014.” (p290, my emphasis. I assume she refers to Tony Abbott’s election).

I googled Dr Maria Taylor, wondering how any Canberra-zone journalist could think The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Financial Review, Canberra Times and The West Australian are part of a Murdoch hegemony. Dr Taylor publishes a monthly semi-rural community newspaper focused on sustainable lifestyles, does some part-time lecturing on journalism to ANU undergraduates and  in 2007 wrote a score of articles for the Bungendore Bulletin.[6]

Australia’s mining and petroleum producers ought to riot about use of this text in class. The authors dismiss the global impact of the 1960s mineral boom in the style of the ex-ABC’s Emma Alberici:

The Fitzgerald Report [1974, for the Whitlam government]  revealed who benefited from this boom. The Report showed the mining industry paid $263 million in royalties to the government from 1966–67 to 1972–73, but five times that amount went overseas in profits to parent companies. The same thing occurred during Australia’s most recent mining boom in the early twenty-first century. Government fuel subsidies, equipment tax deductions and other benefits led to high profits from mining, amidst record high metal commodity prices…(p246)

Through gritted teeth the authors acknowledge that “Mining is important to human development and livelihood” but laud every anti-mining success that activists can cook up.

Mining is also destructive of the environment and the Aboriginal peoples’ custodianship of the land. Iron ore, bauxite and some coal mining is done by open-cut mining. The existing vegetation and topsoil are bulldozed aside, the fauna is destroyed or retreats, and large excavations are made to expose the minerals, often resulting in water and dust pollution. The holes and trenches expand as mineral extraction increases…( p246-7).

Flip a few pages and kids get a section in praise of extreme Left-dopey arts and culture, like “George Turner’s 1987 dystopian work The Sea and Summer depicting a Melbourne of the future drowning under rising seas of climate change”. (p280). No wonder kids suffer education-inflicted pessimism and mental health issues extending even to suicides). The book offers Ms Oodgeroo Noonuccal, aka Kath Walker, alleged “poem”:

The miner rapes
The heart of the Earth
With his violent spade
Stealing, bottling her black blood
For the sake of greedy trade.

There follows (p282) John Williamson’s 1989 Rip Rip Woodchip song and its chorus,

Nightmare Dreaming, can’t you hear the screaming?
Chainsore, eyesore – more decay.

The  book’s question box includes

 Identify specific ways in which the [woodchip] lyrics suggest that the environment is being destroyed

♦ Why do you think the song resonated with society?

In a gesture to impartiality, the authors do give brief air-time to conservatives Hugh Morgan (ex-WMC) and Keith Windschuttle (Quadrant editor-in-chief), and more so to Geoffrey Blainey. I couldn’t avoid the entirely subjective suspicion the authors selected weak quotes to enable kids to knock the conservatives down. For example, Morgan is cited arguing that “2000 years of Christian tradition supported the rights of companies to mine”. His cited views in the book include the correct point that Aboriginal culture “demanded vengeance killings and in the past had involved cannibalism” which I assume is inserted to set him up for kids as a nasty hateful person. Question (p253): “What might have contributed to Morgan’s views on Aboriginal peoples and Christianity?”

The authors in their onslaught against the invading colonialists don’t mention the prevalent “coming in” of Aboriginal families to missions and stations for easily-accessible rations. They do provide kids with a positive quote that

The rate of economic progress in Australia between 1820 and 1850 far exceeded that of any other British Colony, and approached that of Britain herself. (p84).

But they match it with an opposite:

The squatters and their flocks drove away the game, and the sheep ate the plants and killed the roots upon which the Aborigines lived. But the transformation did not stop there. The grazing of sheep first opens then kills forests, first converts grassland to wealth then reduces them to indigence [poverty] … biological impoverishment now began in Australia. (p84).

Emotionally exhausted, I have yet to tackle Volumes 2-4 of this curious history series. But at least it puts its cards on the table.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] The book: Australia’s mineral industry was expanded [to 2010], accelerating growth in mining, burning and exporting brown coal.  (p294). Geoscience Australia: “Although Victorian brown coals are low in ash and sulfur, they have high moisture contents and are not exported from Australia to overseas destinations. Brown coal is produced and utilised almost exclusively in Victorian mines and power stations.”

[2] Uren sued the Fairfax and Packer news organisations in 1963 over allegations that he had links to communists which amounted to his being a traitor. The judgment in his favour for £43,000 was then an Australian defamation record. 

[3] For the Nazi’s environmental credential, see Darvall, R., The Age of Global Warming – A History. Quarter Books, London, 2013. P40:  “Were it not for its crimes, the Nazi record on the environment would have been praised for being far in advance of its time…”

[4] “Fellow earthlings, we believe in world government. We abrogate the rights of nations to rule themselves.”

[5] The authors write, “Bruce Pascoe made a case for a more complex food production, an ‘Aboriginal agricultural economy’.”

[6] Dr Taylor’s ANU profile cites an ANU Press book she wrote on global warming (free via PDF)  which includes this quote

 … one of the most unnerving scientific pronouncements ever made: ‘Humanity is conducting an enormous, unintended, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war’. 

Compost That Corpse. It’s for the Planet

I’ve been preening for years since I donated my body to Melbourne University anatomy students. What a fine citizen I am! You can picture the students crowding around, with me as the centre of attention:

Student Mary-Lou: “Such remarkably flat feet. I do look forward to dissecting them.”

Student Trent: “Yes, and I’m seeing enough titanium here to build a small aeroplane.”

But five academics at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have pricked my bubble of virtue. Their research at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) shows my corporeal donation is a threat to the planet via climate-changing CO2 emissions. I might only generate half a tonne post-life, compared with, say, China’s 12 billion annual tonnes.[1]But as a world citizen I should “tackle” (I love that word) climate change to preserve the planet and civilisation. According to the Climate Council’s Professor Will Steffen, our excess emissions threaten even homo sapiens per se.[2]

Ever constructive, the UTS Five offer a planet-friendlier option than my body donation — I should turn myself into high-quality compost. Climate-friendly human compost is already legal in Washington State, Colorado and Oregon, priced at about $US7000 per person.

To sketch the background, a chorus of every UTS academic, student and staffer believes 100 per cent in the heat-exaggerating forecasts of climate scientists’ models. It’s doom for everybody without zero net emissions by 2030, 2035 or 2050 (take your pick).

As UTS trumpets,

Our society faces a climate emergency. UTS believes climate change requires urgent and transformative action. Inspired by the 2019 Global Climate Strike, UTS signed a climate declaration, pledging to take greater climate action. UTS aims to commit more resources to climate change research and skills creation, increase (sic) sustainability education across our curriculum, campus and community programs. By continuing to bring communities, industry and government together to debate the contested themes around the climate emergency [but no skeptic themes welcome] , we can argue the need for a climate consensus; and work towards carbon neutrality on campus.

Coal miners’ losing their jobs? UTS has that covered. As a research director Chris Briggs puts it,

We’ve been doing research on jobs in renewable energy and how we might transition workers in coal regions into new industries. There’s not a lot of information on renewable energy jobs … and so we’ve been seeking to fill that gap and help these regions transition across to clean energy.

I do sometimes wonder if well-paid and productive coal, gas and oil workers actually want to be transitioned by UTS into jobs like collecting the dead wedgetails under bird-mincing wind turbines and dusting off hectares of solar panels in the outback.

The five academics’ Sustainable Futures home looks like a sister body to Melbourne University’s Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) which Pro Vice-Chancellor Mark Hargreaves plopped into the university’s green bin last year. Heaven forbid that UTS Vice-Chancellor Andrew Parfitt is impelled by loss of revenue from China[3] to emulate Hargreaves, especially as 2022 is the ISF’s 25th anniversary.[4]

Anyway, the UTS Five, who long for carbon taxes (p83), have done a 100-page report to Cemeteries & Crematoria NSW which regulates the private operators. The report promotes environmental sustainability and aims “to spark conversations across the sector, and among consumers and families, and promote best practice sustainability by looking at what is currently occurring both globally and in Australia.”

On body donations, the authors say (p71-72),

From a sustainability perspective, evaluating donations of bodies to science is not straightforward. While prolonging the ‘useful’ life of the body, donation to science still holds sustainability implications. Firstly, the body is embalmed, usually using formalin, a toxic substance. Secondly, the body is kept in refrigeration for up to four years, with a resulting energy footprint relating to electricity use. Finally, at the cessation of its use in anatomy labs, the body is then cremated in a conventional cremator or buried—meaning that its overall environmental impact is generally not less than that of a body disposed of immediately after death—and may, in fact, be higher.

 However, the ‘usefulness’ of the body to medical knowledge and education cannot be easily weighed in an assessment of environmental impact … [D]onation of bodies to science does not present a solution to environmental impacts, but presents a means by which individuals can feel that they will be ‘useful’ after death and can contribute to medical knowledge and education. 

In its discussion of “emerging alternatives” the report foresees a small market in NSW for composting, although regulatory bans would first have to be lifted (p62).

The composting of human remains is a new innovation (sic) emerging in response to demand for gentler and more environmentally friendly options. The method emerges from the livestock industry, where composting has long been considered the best way to manage animal remains…

According to US studies it’s cheaper and less emissions-intense than burials and cremations.  The world leader in the human composting business is called Recompose, based near Seattle. Its 24 female and five male staff and advisers “approach this work with energy, tenacity, and joy” as they “use the principles of nature to transform our dead into soil.”

 It took Recompose’s founder, the aptly-named Katrina Spade, a decade’s pioneering to start operations, in a light-industrial suburb and behind big roll-up warehouse doors. A visiting reporter called it

an environmentalist’s version of a sleek, futuristic spaceship: spare, calm, utilitarian, with silvery ductwork above, a few soil-working tools (shovels, rakes, pitchforks) on racks, bags of tightly packaged straw neatly stacked on shelves, fern-green walls, potted plants of various sizes.

One immense object dominates the space, looking like an enormous fragment of white honeycomb. These are Recompose’s 10 “vessels,” each a hexagon enclosing a steel cylinder full of soil. One day in mid-January [2021], eight decedents were already inside eight vessels, undergoing the process of natural organic reduction (NOR) or, more colloquially, human composting.

Using the Recompose formula under the heading Healing the Climate, I’d be stacked inside a steel rotatable cylinder for 30 days with three cubic metres of alfalfa, woodchips and straw, and then taken out for several weeks further curing. As a final product I’d become one metre of “nutrient-rich soil amendment” and save the planet from 0.84 and 1.4 tonnes of CO2. As Recompose says,

Human compost can be used on trees, yards, house plants, and flower gardens, just like any other type of compost (such as compost created by food scraps or garden prunings).

Recompose charges $US7000 per composting, the same as the median US cost of cremation ($US6970) and a good discount to burial at $US7848. Ms Spade says, “We have transformed over 100 bodies into soil and have over 1000 Precompose members. That means we have already saved the emissions equivalent of 10 million miles driven, 480 homes powered for one year, or 450,000 gallons of gasoline.”

As for routine interments, the UTS Five give conventional styles a bad rap for hurting the climate. It laments the “significant emissions” from fossil-fuel-powered cremation – cremation is used for two-thirds of Australian disposals. The combustion is better created from solar or biogas-powered operation, they say.

“Many consumers hold a perception of cremation as ‘cleaner’ than other body disposal options—an interesting perception given cremation’s high energy consumption and resultant pollutant release … Each cremation emits around 160kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (Potter, 2019) …  Adelaide Cemeteries Authority research indicates that the total greenhouse impact, taking into account electricity, transport and resources inputs as well as natural gas, of a single cremation is around 430kg of CO2 equivalent.” (p54).

The authors also give low climate marks to burials, unless in coffins made of seagrass, willow, bamboo, cork, wicker, cardboard or wool (p28). A standard burial involves 780kg or nearly a tonne of greenhouse emissions, they grumble.

They seem to like a US company offering $US1500 mushroom-suit shrouds for burials, made from organic cotton and a bio-mix of mushrooms. Another promising technology is cryomation, using liquid nitrogen to freeze the body to make it crystalline and brittle. It is then shattered into 1mm pieces through ultrasonic vibration, which turn into mulch when buried. “It is expected to have a significantly lower carbon footprint than conventional cremation, as it avoids the need for fossil fuel inputs, however studies on [cryomation’s] energy footprint do not appear to be available currently.” (p60). Their focus groups weren’t impressed by it.

Leaving no stone unturned in their research, the UTS people discovered a Swiss company, Algordanza, that will synthesise 500 grams of your ashes into a diamond, a pricey option taking half a year. “Given that the method involves conventional cremation, international transport of remains, high-tech treatment of synthesised remains and then return international transport, it is difficult to imagine that this method of memorialisation offers any environmental benefits over other methods,” the report concludes (p70).

I’m sure you think “Algordanza” is a play on Al Gore dancing, but it’s actually an old Swiss Rhaeto-Romanic word for “remembrance”. To my surprise I’ve found that Algordanza now has a specific Australian operation for the very well-heeled.

As you can now see, I have heaps of options if I cancel my personal donation to Melbourne University. I’m rather torn between composting and unleashing the “exceptional sparkling” of myself as a radiant-cut Al Gore diamond.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

Editor’s note: More pictures of the Sculthorpe Memorial, featured atop this page, can be found here. Nothing, though, can rival a visit to the cemetery, especially on a sunny day, when the rose-tinted glass cupola floods the statuary with a warm and glowing light. The cemetery is located on High Street, Kew, and open from 8am until 5pm. Visitors might also pause immediately upon passing through the gates and glance to the right, where a very strange memorial to the Syme family, founders of The Age newspaper, combines a potpourri of occult and Theosophical symbols. All it lacks is the personal endorsement of Madame Blavatsky.

[1] And India plans to double its coal use by 2040.

[2] Steffen: “The ultimate drivers of the Anthropocene if they continue unabated through this century, may well threaten the viability of contemporary civilization and perhaps even the future existence of Homo sapiens.”

[3] UTS’s 2018 annual report said UTS “reached our target of 30 per cent of our student load to be international students”, of whom “more than fifty per cent come from China” (p10).

[4] The Institute’s top “climate champion” was Professor Bob Carr, the NSW ex-premier who retired from the institute last month after three years’ celebrating the closures of cheap, reliable coal-fired electricity

Their ABC: Unrepentant and Unfixable

From the independent ABC Complaint Handling Review, released yesterday (emphasis added):

A related concern expressed during this review is that the ABC complaint process is seen as being less effective in dealing with more complex complaint issues of poor editorial judgement, inherent bias, unbalanced panel composition, or prejudicial investigative journalism. The complaint process may be less suited, for example, to dealing with an allegation that a content maker has a set perspective on the story to be told and selects only information that supports that perspective.

The flagship ABCTV 7pm News ran a “Climate Questions” feature for Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and SA last night (May 17) by reporter Kate McKenna who is the state political reporter for ABC News. By adroit selection of her on-screen talent Ms McKenna fashioned a typically-ABC piece of anti-government propaganda.

Her chosen authority on the climate topic was former Greenpeace spruiker “Dr Bill Hare, Climate Scientist” (Qld, 7.00 mins, Vic 18 mins, Tas 5.30 mins, SA 10 mins).[1] In reality he is renewables lobbyist Mr Bill Hare B.Sc. (Hons), Murdoch University. Mr (purportedly “Doctor”) Hare within a few seconds managed to say the Morrison policy on zero emissions was “quite bad”, the Albanese Labor policy was “mediocre” , the Teal (fake) independents were consistent with the Paris 2015 climate deal, and — here Mr/Dr Hare’s tone becomes even more warm — “Greens policy is even more so.”

Great! Vote Greens, everyone!

Ms McKenna also wheeled out a sole representative of the public, Lee-Ann Handley, to conveniently spruik the ABC’s line on zero-emissions. Here’s what Ms Handley had to say:

Australia has a shameful reputation for dealing with climate change. I would say it is Number One priority for me in terms of voting. I would want it to be on top of the government’s agenda.

Reporter McKenna adds, “Like many, Lee-Ann Handley is feeling the cost of living pressures, but it won’t be her key concern when she heads to the ballot box.”

Handley: A society that sacrifices the environment because of economics is highly reckless.

McKenna strives to back up Handley’s rant, saying, “More Australian raise climate change as their No. 1 issue than any other topic, according to the ABC’s Vote Compass, but it is receiving less attention from the leaders’ campaign than three years ago.” What Ms McKenna doesn’t mention is that Vote Compass respondents comprise self-selecting ABC viewers who are almost as “progressive” as the ABC reporters themselves.

So four days out from the election, the flagship ABCTV 7pm News does a hit job against the Morrison campaign, inflating the credentials of climate lobbyist Mr Bill Hare while dubbing him “Climate Scientist”, and choosing for a vox pop a lady keen to demand climate action, with no contrary view to be heard on the segment.

Moreover, any few seconds googling turns up that Ms Lee-Ann Handley is a go-to source for ABC reporters. On March 19 the ABC’s “video journalist” Baz Ruddick did a sob story about Ms Handley. She made an unwise decision to buy a house in flood-prone Rocklea, Brisbane, last year, spent nine months doing loan-funded renovating and then got flooded to gutter level a few months ago. We learn from Handley via Ruddick that she’s lost $170,000 from the floods, but as a full-time-employed teacher she earns too much money to access many government hardship grants.

Further googling finds she crowd-funded $1820 compared with her $1000 target, while she conceded,

There is an embargo on my street for flood insurance, like many in Rocklea we are not covered.

Hmmm. Not that I don’t feel for her as a fellow human but I hope she’s not teaching civics or economics.

But let’s get back to the ABC’s “Dr” Hare. He founded and runs the lavishly funded and Greenpeace-linked Climate Analytics lobby, endlessly quoted by the ABC and other Left media to buttress their anti-capitalist CO2 narrative. Climate Analytics was born from the dark-green Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) , which has led the way into Germany’s current energy crisis. PIK has its anti-gas and anti-coal tentacles all over Australia.

Hare is a spruiker in the green lawfare in WA against Woodside’s plan to build the $16.5 billion Scarborough gas project. His outfit wants an end to Australia’s thermal coal exports by 2030 and gas production ceasing soon after. Back from Glasgow last year, he gloated about COP26 forming “a new coalition, led by Denmark and Costa Rica, known as the Beyond Gas and Oil Alliance. Sooner rather than later, we can expect it to come for Australia’s fast-expanding LNG export industry.”

The woke Murdoch University by 2008 was so thrilled with Hare’s climate spiel that it gave him an Honorary Doctor of Science, citing, among other things, “his climate change activism and political acumen have seen him described as ‘the best climate lobbyist in the world’.” Then it told him he could strut his Honorary Ph.D. all over the place, contrary to long-established Murdoch, pan-academic and government protocols. (Don’t let someone with an Honorary Doctorate in Veterinary Science spay your Labradoodle).

“Dr” Bill Hare shamelessly allows media and institutions like “community educator” WA Museum Boola Bardip[2] to call him “Dr Hare” without correcting them. The museum and others have even called him a Nobel Laureate, which is good going for a bloke who got his B.Sc. (Hons) from Murdoch at the age of about 26. Indeed the Nobel Prize howler remains uncorrected to this day on the museum website. It also calls Hare a “world-leading climate policy expert”, and “The Master Mind … this homegrown superstar in the climate science arena”, with “expert opinions on the urgent action necessary for our survival.”

Bill Hare, thanks to Quadrant’s repeated exposure, has modified his credential on his website to “Bill Hare D.Sc. (hon. causa)”, the Latin noting that the doctorate is honorary. Sadly, ABC reporters don’t speak Latin. But type “Dr Bill Hare” into his Climate Analytics search box and you find it there 31 times. This absurdity is par for the course in climate “science”.

I’ve complained officially to the ABC multiple times about ABC hacks inflating Mr Hare to “Dr Hare”. Among the ABC’s amateurish reporters falling for “Dr” Hare have been Kerry O’Brien, Laura Tingle, Stephanie March (Four Corners), the ABC’s climate “expert” Michael Slezak, Sally Sara and, last but not least, Leigh Sales.

It just so happens that yesterday( May 17) the ABC published the independent McMillan/Carroll report on its in-house complaints handling system, initiated last October by chair Ita Buttrose in the wake of serious editorial failings and factual errors across some of its flagship programs. I’ll use the ABC’s repeated “Dr” Hare goof-offs as a case study to match ABC reality against ABC piety.

The inquiry terms of reference included

♦ Whether appropriate actions are taken and remedies provided for breaches of ABC editorial standards

♦ Measures taken by the ABC to ensure the organisation and its staff are fully informed about complaints and complaint outcomes

♦ Measures taken by the ABC to ensure that the complaint process is tied to continuous improvement in ABC editorial standards, and feeds into standards-setting, training and day-to-day content-making .

The inquiry recommendation outcomes included

 The ABC make corrections and apologies more visible to audiences that may have an interest in receiving them, including by publishing a correction or apology on the same platform as the original content and at an equivalent time or place.

♦ The ABC ensure that staff involved in pre-publication processes are alert to the findings and lessons stemming from the editorial complaint process.

In her submission to the inquiry, head of the ABC complaints unit Kirstin McLiesh described how efficient the ABC is at improving its ways after successful complaints. She says all ABC staff get a searchable log of the audience complaints and successful complaints  “are notified to content teams promptly”. If the issue is minor, she might just share the result with editorial advisers rather than directly with content teams. Her unit also writes frequent reports for staff about complaints and outcomes “as well as drawing attention to clusters in editorial underperformance or issues that have recurred or may recur.”

But the two-man inquiry team weren’t convinced, writing,

♦ A core purpose of complaint handling is to identify ways of improving organisational performance. For this to happen procedures must be in place to ensure that complaint lessons and outcomes are captured, circulated within the organisation, and acted upon. 

♦ This is well understood within the ABC and appropriate structures have been adopted. 

♦ However, it was evident in many submissions and stakeholder interviews that there is a perception that the ABC does not learn sufficiently from mistakes or other editorial policy breaches. A strongly held view is that there are few, or even no repercussions for staff found to have breached the ABC’s editorial standards. This perception has been reinforced by the ABC’s defensive response to adverse ACMA rulings and by social media activity by high profile staff… We nevertheless believe that a firm response is required within the ABC to the issues we have outlined. In a sense, there is ‘smoke’ and further efforts are required to douse the fires that have arisen regularly in recent years.”

Now let’s look at the (non-existent) impact of my successful complaints to the ABC about “Dr” Hare. I might add that the ABC is not alone in falling for Mr Bill Hare’s bombast. Just the other day The Age extolled lobbyist Hare as “Respected climate scientist Dr Bill Hare”, and the SMH and the Climate One propaganda outfit are keeping up the “Dr” nonsense. My ABC updated campaign diary reads:

April Fool’s Day, 2019: Four Corners transcript refers 13 times to Bill Hare as “Dr” Hare.

April 7, 2019: I complain to the ABC and request corrections. I say the ABC would not refer to comedian Mr Yahoo Serious as “Dr Serious” even though he has an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Newcastle University, 1996. Others are TV chat-show hostess and ex-Dolly editor “Dr of Letters Lisa Wilkinson” via Wollongong University and disillusioned Age cartoonist “Dr Michael Leunig”, three-fold endoctored via Latrobe, Griffith and ACU.

April 11, 2019: Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour responds,

I am advised that Bill Hare has an Honorary Doctorate of Science awarded to him in 2008 by Murdoch University for his work on climate change science and policy. Murdoch University itself refers to Bill Hare as ‘Dr’ in some of its publications. 

It is not uncommon practice to refer to people with Honorary Doctorates as ‘Dr’. I understand this is often qualified with the reference (h.c). For the purpose of our program, we did not feel this was necessary as most viewers or readers would not be familiar with the term. I am happy to take your comments onboard should we interview Bill Hare again on Four Corners. I will also convey your comments to Laura Tingle.

May 7, 2019: Michael Slezak on ABC News Analysis interviews “Dr” Bill Hare.

October 24, 2021: David Speers on Insiders interviews “Dr” Bill Hare.

Nov 5, 2021: RN Breakfast with Sally Sara: “Dr” Bill Hare again

Nov 11, 2021: ABC 7.30: A fawning Leigh Sales achieves six references to “Dr” Hare on one 7.30 program.

Nov 14, 2021: I complain again to the ABC about “Dr” Hare:

It is particularly egregious to refer to him in his science capacity as “Dr” Hare. A couple of years ago I complained about your use of “Dr” Hare and Sally Neighbour informed me the ABC would be more careful about it. Please correct all ABC versions where you call him “Dr” Hare — or at least explain that he has only an honorary doctorate for his lobbying activity.

After 18 days, on Dec 2, 2021, Matt Galvin of ABC News Management replies:

I have referred your concerns to ABC Language, a unit that meet (sic) regularly and advise (sic) ABC staff on correct language usage. They have pointed me to the ABC’s publicly-available style guide

 Titles (medical and academic)

Honorary doctorates do not usually confer the Dr title. A rule of thumb: if someone’s academic or medical status has no bearing on a story, they probably don’t need the courtesy title…

Considering the above, ABC News agrees that as Bill Hare is the CEO of Climate Analytics, it would have been sufficient in both of these recent instances to introduce him without the ‘Dr’ honorific. Please be assured that both programs will be advised about the correct usage of such references. Thank you for bringing this matter to the ABC’s attention.

So Four Corners and Laura Tingle stuffed up about “Dr” Hare in 2019, the ABC organised a corrective, Leigh Sales et al stuffed it up again and the ABC again conceded fault and applied its corrective to ensure it would be repeated no more. All well and good, the system seemed to be working, albeit with some sand in the gears. But the very day after I received the apology from ABC News Management’s Matt Galvin (Dec 2), the ABC published a new report by reporter Rebecca Turner (Dec 3) touting “Dr” Hare all over again.

Dr [sic] Hare, who received support from the CCWA [Conservation Council of WA] for the [Woodside] study, said WA did not need Scarborough gas to keep the lights on …”So really on the time scale of a decade or so, we could be 100 per cent renewable in the electricity space by the early 2030s, as are other places.” [Like where, exactly?].

Ms Turner confusingly called him “Bill Hare”, “Mr Bill Hare” and “Dr Hare” all within six paragraphs.

 So I file yet another complaint to the ABC on December 7:

Despite being twice advised that the ABC would cease calling Mr Bill Hare of Climate Analytics “Dr” Hare, ABC News has reverted to “Dr Hare” just one day after Matt Galvin (ABC News Management) assured me it wouldn’t happen. Can you please correct that Dec 3 report and take steps to ensure that ABC people cease referring to “Dr” Bill Hare. Thanks. 

Dec 8, 2021: ABC News Management’s Matt Galvin responds promptly and politely, “Thanks for pointing this out Tony – the correction has been made.”

However, instead of a correction, the ABC merely did a ‘stealth edit’ to remove the “Dr” from its reference to Hare.

May 17, 2022: For ABCTV 7pm News, it’s “Dr” Hare all over again.

May 17, 2022: I complain again to my friend,Ms McLiesh, at ABC Audience & Consumer Affairs. Watch this space.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] Bill Hare was a Greenpeace International spokesman as “Climate Policy Director” 1992-2002, its “Chief Climate Negotiator” in 2007, and a Greenpeace “legend”. Notwithstanding, he was also a 2007 IPCC lead author and an expert reviewer on two out of three sections of that report, and one of 40 people on the “core writing team” for the big-picture Synthesis Report. He was a lead author for the 2014 report. A list of funders on Climate Analytics website as at 2018 includes Greenpeace Foundation, Australian Conservation Fund (ACF), Christian Aid (huh?), World Bank, UNEP, Carnegie, and numerous EU and German agencies. It has more than 30 scientists on its payroll.

[2] “WA Museum Boola Bardip” is its real name, don’t laugh.

Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Green

POSTED ON BY TONY THOMASIN UNCATEGORIZED11 MINUTES READ

In the run-up to the federal election, teachers and third-party groups are inveigling schoolkids with propaganda about the green/Left independent candidates. In this essay I’ll take a look one such tool of sly persuasion, dark green climate activist Damon Gameau’s latest film, Regenerating Australia, which is heading for authorised mainstream usage in classrooms and spruiks nameless green/Left independents. Then I’ll document half a dozen class-lesson templates about the film, created by Cool Australiawhich is a Leftist online platform used by 52 per cent of Australian teachers with their reach to 3.2 million students.[1]

Two minutes into Gameau’s film, a fictitious planet-saving independent, “Lucy Jameson”, gets a surprise election win to rapturous acclaim. “The message from the voting public could not be clearer,” says the newsreader, claiming “frustrations with leadership and politics had boiled over”. Set in the future, the film fantasises that demonstrations by two million people led to a poll or referendum of 12 million Australians, with 82 per cent wanting net zero emissions by 2040.

So how is the flick being received? Let’s start with Melbourne’s upmarket Brighton Primary School. The principal, Steve Meade, organised a screening for May 3.[2] There are starring roles for Kerry O’Brien, the leftist ex-ABC icon; the Climate Council’s Tim “Wonthaggi”Flannery (of course), and greenish independent MHR Zali Steggall, who hails the film’s new federal law protecting “30 per cent of Australian native forest and bushland”.

Principal Meade invited along ersatz independent candidate for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel (ex-ABC) and Climate 200’s Svengali, Simon Holmes a Court, for the event’s question-and-answer session. Conservative parents mutinied and the school deleted the invitation and rescheduled the event with no mention of the Daniels/Holmes a Court’s Q&A. Principal Meade justified his stance with the time-honored nonsense about less than ten years to save “our kids and the planet.” [3]

The Herald Sun quoted one parent, “Political activism has no place in the classroom. I don’t think children in primary school need to be politicised in any way.” Brighton’s Liberal MLA James Newbury quoted outraged Bayside parents, summing up their objections thus: Our public primary schools should be places of learning not a shopfront for political activism. State Labor is taking advantage of young kids by politicising our schoolyards.” Several other schools in the Goldstein zone had previously featured Zoe Daniels, who is no doubt looking forward to further invitations.

Departmental anti-indoctrination rules vary by state (and are usually ignored). I set them out here last month. For example, SA Education Department policy is, “Members of parliament and candidates are welcome at schools and preschools within their electorates when it will not disrupt normal activities. School and preschool visits must not be for political or campaign purposes.” I doubt the guideline endorses candidate visits a mere fortnight pre-election.

Gameau’s 17-minute Regenerating “documentary” is heavily supported by WWF-Australia and  philanthropist Ian Darling’s Shark Island Foundation. Gameau claims Regenerating is based on a thousand interviews in 2020 with people of diverse views – though the film involves not one iota of doubt about green cure-alls. Set at end of 2029, it’s a prequel to his full-scale futuristic epic 2040  and also fantasises that every green gimmick has worked like a charm2040 was seized on by teachers who force-fed it to 1.5 million students and downloaded 2 million copies of the notes.

All this planet-saving has taken its toll on Gameau, as The Guardian reports:

He says that in the wake of the first Lismore floods, he was on a plane when he heard the news about the record heatwave in Antarctica – with temperatures nearly 40 degrees above average – and he “just burst into tears.

Dry your tears, Damon, momentary spikes in Antarctic temperatures are insignificant and the icy continent hasn’t warmed for 70 years.

I suppose some Gameau emotion is understandable as he couldn’t get back to his home town of Broken Head (Northern Rivers) when the floods hit, and his two daughters had to be rescued by a friend on a longboard. This has zero relevance to CO2 emissions, a fact emphasised by omission. His film doesn’t mention the planet hasn’t warmed for the past seven years and six months, according to the UAH satellite monitoring, and Australia has not warmed since end-2012.

Instead, in a rather sadistic (or sentimental) touch, the film shows in 2029 our last coal-fired power station’s stack, likely to be blown up, but with coal workers’ names first inscribed on it. It’s also rather sadistic for Gameau, circa 2029, to plant mini-forests on what looks like Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. A lot of balls will get lost in the trees. The scariest scene in the film shows Melbourne’s Luna Park headed for at least 3m of sea rise by 2100 – that’s 4cm a year from now on. Even the alarmist IPCC expects well under a one-metre rise by 2100.

Gameau modestly likens his climate pitch to that of slavery abolitionists and the human rights movements. He finds Australian traditional democracy dissatisfying, and his film introduces some Swiss-style decision-making via on-line voting, restrictions on political donations and “citizen juries”. He claims that the masses are disillusioned with politicians who won’t recognise “the Code Red for humanity, the window is closing, now or never” and their alleged capture by the fossil fuel industry and the (Murdoch) media.[4] Hence the film’s urging for more direct local power for climate activists. Gameau says he has no political ambitions.

Naturally the film reaches a “clear consensus on First Nation’s Sovereignty”, but a kicker is that we also create a “Youth Parliamentary Advisory Council” with teenagers – Heaven help us! – advising parliament. Youthful woman speaks: “We hope to see climate change on the forefront of their (politicians’) minds and really pushing the fight for climate justice.”

Gameau’s shtick is to only terrify schoolkids a little, while claiming they can run around “taking action” to save the planet. “If you’re going to sound the fire alarm, you’ve got to show people where the exits are,” he explains. Kids come up to him crying with relief that the planet can be saved after all. There’s no mention in the film of China and India, with their vast expansions of coal-fired power that will swamp every emission cut by the West.[5]

For the scary stuff he depicts the 2020 bushfires as (bogus) demonstrations of climate change. He has a firefighter saying, “We could hear the screams of people” and a distraught housewife thinking of setting fire to her own house because of her stress. Gameau fantasises that devastating fires later in the 2020s leave “hundreds of Australians dead, and saw any doubts about climate change finally put to rest.” So much for not scaring kids.

But on the plus side, future-Australia has no trouble putting in a three-hour Melbourne-Sydney rail link, implying top speeds of circa 400kph, with an extension to Brisbane in 2032. Clever electricians install a sub-sea power line to Singapore turning us into a renewable energy export superpower, in the fantasy of Nicky Ison of WWF (curiously labelled as with AMEO – Australian Energy Market Operator). A dozen actors in a conference room – many in jeans and sneakers — see Singapore on a screen lighting up with Australia’s green electrons. They leap to their feet waving arms and exchanging high-fives. The price of renewables and batteries has of course “plummeted” and the country runs solely on renewable energy for an entire month. (After which the wind drops and we have blackouts?)

In Gameau’s imagination, we send off hydrogen-powered ships laden with “ammonia and green steel made from our iron ore and renewable energy.” We revel in a billion-dollar seaweed industry and offshore wind farms, while the feds pass a law banning single-use plastics and the Murray-Darling is granted “Rights of Nature” (whatever that might be). Every green triumph creates “thousands of new jobs”. Bikie gangs are so happy with roof gardens and extra street greenery that there is “reduced crime and reduced anti-social behaviour, because we can deal better with the world when we are getting to nature.”

Melbourne’s dark-green Mayor Sally Capp shares filmic fantasies that her electric bus fleet cuts emissions and boosts jobs. Don’t tell her that in Paris in the past month, two electric bus fires caused 150 of them to be taken out of service as a precaution.[6]

Gameau is now winding up an Australia-wide tour of about 70 screenings. The scheduling during the federal election campaign was not intentional, he says.

The screening in Batemans Bay, NSW, seemed more like a revivalist meeting with attendees calling out “yeeeew!” and “boom!” The Guardian enthuses:

A dance troupe from the local Walbunja people of the Yuin nation perform, and when they greet the audience in Dhurga, a blonde-headed girl licking a choc-top yells back “Wallawani” and pumps her hand in the air. As the event ends, one woman walks out of the cinema and stretches her arms up into the night sky. “My God, I so needed that.” 

SO NOW to the  “curriculum”. Schools have jumped aboard via Cool Australia, the third-party provider of free downloadable prefabricated lessons. The packs are  described by Cool as “the Regenerating Australia curriculum”. Cool is adulatory in tone about the cast who “shared their hopes and dreams for the country’s future.” The class brainwashing campaign got under way last February with this spiel:

Calling all teachers in Australia! 

You’re invited to a free virtual teacher preview screening of our new short film, Regenerating Australia, ahead of the national release in March!

Join us for a live Q+A with Director Damon Gameau, Cool Australia’s Head of Education, Mark Drummond, and WWF-Australia’s Earth Hour Coordinator, Jasmin Ledger, to learn about the free educational resources we are developing and how schools can get involved in Regenerating Australia! 

Cool says,

The Regenerating Australia curriculum has been designed to tune your students into the concepts covered in the film, and deep dive into the solutions presented. The lessons in this unit can be used in isolation or mixed and matched in any sequence that suits your curriculum planning. We recommend that you start the investigation of regeneration with the ‘Watching the Film’ lesson for your year level.

Cool tells teachers to take their classes to cinema screenings (there goes a morning’s real education), or get their own licensed copy and “School Action Toolkit” and “Fact Sheet”.

 Here are a few specific lessons of the Gameau curriculum (paywalled, my emphases).

# Sample One:

Subjects: Civics and Citizenship

Year Levels: 9 & 10

Topics: Democracy and politics.

Teaching Time: 180 mins (best taught over two lessons). Yikes!

Quick summary: 

Have you ever wondered what it might take to rejuvenate Australia’s democracy and get you (sic) adults involved throughout the process? In this lesson, students watch a section of “Regenerating Australia” that explores a rejuvenated and transparent democracy system and begin  to unravel truths. Students will research their local MP and find out how they vote on issues, then become active participants in the democratic system by communicating with their local MP about a topic that is important to them. Finally, students will return to the questions asked in the barometer activity to reflect on whether their understanding has changed.

Learning intentions:

* Students will understand how and why individuals and groups participate in, and contribute to, the democratic process

* Students will recognise some of the challenges to sustaining a resilient democracy

Students will become familiar with ways that the resiliency of the Australian democratic system can be improved.

A characteristic of Australian school education is that kids learn how things “should” be before they learn what they are.

Sample 2:

 Activity: Regenerating Australia – Watching the Film – English & Geography – Years 9 & 10 

Teaching Time: 90 minutes.

Quick summary: 

In this lesson, students will build an understanding of the concept of ‘regeneration’ and its benefits for our communities and ecosystems. They will complete a 3-2-1- Bridge Visible Thinking Routine and review a set of key terms related to the topic before watching “Regenerating Australia.” Students will be invited to evaluate the content and develop questions about the film’s content. The class with (sic) re-watch snippets of the film to extend their understanding, then work collaboratively to dive deeper into the topic of regeneration in a jigsaw-classroom activity. 

Sample 3:

Activity: Regenerating Australia – Watching The Film – English, Science and Civics and Citizenship – Years 5 & 6.

Topics: Sustainability, Regenerating Australia

Teaching Time: 90 minutes.

Quick summary: 

In this lesson, students will work towards understanding the concept of ‘regeneration’ and the impact of regeneration on our communities and ecosystems. They will review their understanding of a set of key terms, then watch the film “Regenerating Australia”. They will make their thinking about the film visible through the See/Think/Wonder tool, then read through a factsheet on regeneration. They will summarise their understanding of regeneration, then extend their understanding through a Gallery Walk activity, before returning to their summaries as a reflection exercise.

Learning intentions:

* Students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’

* Students will understand the impact of regeneration on our community and ecosystems.

 Sample 4:

Regenerating Australia – Watching The Film – English, Science and Civics and Citizenship – Years 7 & 8

Topics: Sustainability, Regenerating Australia

Teaching Time: 120 minutes. [That’s half a day’s schooling up the spout].

Quick summary: 

In this lesson, students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’ and its impact on our communities and ecosystems. The teacher will activate children’s prior knowledge on the topic in a vocabulary matching game, prompt their critical thinking skills using the 5Ws, and invite students to develop questions about the concept of regeneration. They will view “Regenerating Australia”, then return to their questions and summarise the key themes. Students will be invited to explore their school with an open mind and capture spaces that could benefit from regeneration. 

Learning intentions:

* Students will understand the concept of ‘regeneration’

* Students will understand that regeneration is something that we can implement in our communities and ecosystems.

Sample 5:

Regenerating Australia – Film And Production Analysis – English – Years 9 & 10

Teaching Time: 180 mins (this lesson could be split over a number of teaching periods).

Quick summary: 

In this lesson, students will view the film “Regenerating Australia” and then watch a video interview with the Writer and Director, Damon Gameau. They will respond to a set of questions that will prompt them to consider the intended impact of the film and the structural and/or visual choices that were made in order to create this impact. Students will use their knowledge on regeneration to create a news report about a real or imagined example of regeneration.

Learning intentions:

* Understand how cultural perspectives and other texts can influence the construction and interpretation of news reports

* Be aware of how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices

* Know how to create informative texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments.

Sample 6:

Activity: Regenerating Australia – Regenerate Your Community – Design and Technology – Years 7 & 8

Topics: Critical and Creative Thinking, Regenerating Australia, design, environment. 

Teaching Time: 95 mins.

Quick summary: After watching Regenerating Australia, students will work through an investigation of creative and critical thinking tasks to gain an in-depth understanding of what regeneration and sustainability mean in the context of their local communities and areas.

Teachers say the curriculum is too crowded – but they can always squeeze in some more net-zero propaganda.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] Cool Australia brags that Teachers Health insurance fund, with its 300,000 clients, is “Our Coolest Partner”. Other funders include various Rich-Listers’ foundations (e.g. the Fox family, Purves, Fairfax, Smorgons), billionaire-run Atlassian, Google and Cisco, plus odds and sods such as the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation.

[2] Herald Sun April 17, 2022: Brighton Primary School parents furious after political candidate asked to speak. Paywalled.

[3] The Liberal’s Goldstein MHR, Tim Wilson, was also invited but it’s not clear to which event or both.

[4] Stanford University has just received a $US1b donation for an alarmist climate institute. Sceptic bloggers live off tip jars.

[5] China plans to boost coal capacity by 300 million tonnes this year, from its already-record levels.

[6] Gameau: “With the NSW Government recently pledging to convert its 8,000 diesel buses to electric by 2030, we are on the way to lighter-touch long distance travelling.”Amon Gameau

The Green Goblins Terrifying Our Kids

There’s a problem with being a councillor on Tim Flannery’s Climate Council. While they’re very good at scaring Australians with climate apocalypse hob-goblins, councillors are now also frightening themselves, their kids and grandkids.

The Council is the go-to resource for Australia’s lapdog media, getting in 2020-21 more than 19,500 media mentions and 22,000 media items elevating “trusted voices”.[1] When the-prime minister Tony Abbott axed the government-funded Climate Commission in 2013, it morphed into this Climate Council funded by donations.

Pre-election, it’s gone even more demented than usual, complaining on March 31, for example, that the horrible Morrison government has “no effective mechanisms to “eliminate coal, oil and gas”. I suppose the Council would first “eliminate” all base-load electricity, then “eliminate” Australia’s non-electric cars, trucks and buses (98 per cent of the total) and then “eliminate” everything being made of plastics.

Simple, really. What else would you expect from experts led by Tim “Wonthaggi” Flannery, who prophesised that “Even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and river systems”, and Will Steffen, the council’s chief doom-cryer.[2] Worth noting, Steffen’s recent co-authored paper in Nature included the grotesque correction reproduced below.

Council policy is that by 2030 (a mere seven and a half years’ ahead) Australia should cut emissions by 75 per cent below 2005 levels and reach net zero emissions by 2035. In the disruption to our way of life, this would make the Soviet revolution of 1917 seem just a hiccup.

The Council’s “eliminate” document claims that Australia is an “international pariah” for slacking on net zero emissions. It’s taken less than a month for this hyberbole to collapse, since Western Europe is now fast back-pedalling from renewables programs that made them hostage to Russian energy. As Matt Canavan, the rational National, told an aghast ABC on April 26, “The net zero thing is all sort of dead anyway”. Unlike the Climate Council, he wasn’t engaging in hyperbole:  Britain is pausing it, Germany is building coal- and gas-fired infrastructure, and Italy is re-opening its coal-fired power plants. Canavan didn’t get around to mentioning China’s plans to boost coal capacity by 300 million tonnes this year, from its already-record levels.

Rather than Flannery or Steffen, I’m actually interested today in a third Climate Councillor, Dr Kate Charlesworth. The Council describes her as a “mother and public health doctor”. She’s undoubtedly well qualified in treating hospital patients but, like many of the medical, psychology and psychiatry tribes, she’s been badly bitten by the baloney bug. She drifted away from laudable UK hospital work to Cambridge University, studying how to reduce English Health’s carbon footprint. She now works in NSW as “a medical specialist on environmentally sustainable health care” — the very first such role in Australia, fighting “the biggest health issue of all: the climate emergency.”[3] Cancer? Heart attacks? Diabetes Type 2? They’re just also-rans. The three-time mother also wrote, “We must act urgently and decisively to protect ourselves and those we love. This is literally becoming the fight of our lives.”

I agree with her tract, “A new guide for parents: managing eco-anxiety in your kids”, that “it’s tough being a parent”. She cites the unrelenting grind of packing school lunches, getting the kids to look away from their screens for a few seconds a day, and sundry COVID woes. But her appraisal of the purported “climate crisis” dwarfs all that:

My eldest child is now 11. So I’m adding one more issue to my list of parenting challenges: managing eco-anxiety. My psychology and paediatric colleagues report that once children get to the ‘tweens’ they start to comprehend the urgency and enormity of the climate challenge, and with that can come anxiety and depression.

A recent survey of 10,000 children and young people (aged 16-25 years) in 10 countries (including Australia) found that 59% were very or extremely worried about climate change, with 84% at least moderately worried. Of note, climate anxiety and distress correlated with ‘perceived inadequate government response and associated feelings of betrayal’. 

I’d interrupt Dr Charlesworth here to mention that this study in The Lancet was funded by climate activist group AVAAZ, and included such non-sciency activist blather as, “These psychological stressors [feelings of betrayal] threaten health and wellbeing, and could be construed as morally injurious and unjust.”

It’s not as if kids from age six leaf through alarmist IPCC reports at bedtime. Such kids would be happier if adults stopped berating them with climate-extinction doom and party-political propaganda. For example, in Germany last year, seven climate activists as young as 18 went on a 27-day hunger strike and several ended up in hospital.

Dr Charlesworth continues that kids’ eco-anxiety is all too real, based on “robust” scientific evidence (no, it’s based on much-adjusted data, and also on climate models tuned to hide their many weaknesses and to get plausibly-alarmist results). She claims we are beginning to witness the actual “climate breakdown”. Really, Dr Charlesworth?

After a century of warming, Australian farm output is expected to hit new output and value records — an “incredible” $78 billion, according to the ABARES Agricultural Report of December 2021. As federal agriculture minister David Littleproud put it,

Production is expected to increase for every major livestock commodity and almost every major crop. It is the first time in half a century that production will increase for so many products at the same time.

If this is “climate breakdown”, let’s have more of it. Dr Charlesworth, why not pass on the good news to your anxiety-riddled kids?[4]

Her article passes along what psychologists recommend and reject as means to calm kids climate anxieties, for example: “Attempts to discredit the science, diminish their reaction or shield them from the truth will only worsen the situation.”

These psychs, along with Dr Charlesworth, also want kids to “join a local climate action youth group. This is building your child’s ‘self-efficacy’: their belief that they can make a difference. This step has really important mental health benefits, as action is one of the best antidotes to anxiety.” One such group is Roger Hallam’s Extinction Rebellion. Hallam does videos such as ‘Advice to Young People as They Face Annihilation‘ which kids might not find all that re-assuring.

Dr Charlesworth says that if kids are budding lawyers, steer them towards suing the government for wrecking their climate future: “These are fantastic examples of children taking agency over their situation.” And, she might have added, massively wasting kids’ and everyone’s time, as these stupid cases all fail.

Her final advice to parents: “So, at the upcoming election, vote the way your children would, if they had the chance: vote for climate action.” Her sources for this indoctrination include the Australian Psychological Society, a cabal of kiddy-scarers:

Alarmed small children may show behavior changes —“ e.g., in their play, drawing, or dreams that might suggest that something is unsettling them.” They might find it easier to talk about environmental issues via a toy or puppet. Try asking, “And how are you feeling today, Teddy?”.

Psychiatrists aren’t any better. One leading  Melbourne shrink wrote in 2019:

In Australia there continues to be Government denial. Our leaders could be seen psychiatrically as deluded and a danger to others and if so certifiable. At worst they can be seen as guilty of crimes against humanity and nature-homicide and ecocide — and indeed in the future they may be found to be …

Australian pediatricians are matched for wokeness by their offshore counterparts.  

In 2020 the International Pediatric Association adopted a declaration about climate’s “existential and universal threat”  to children, and about achieving “climate justice in an ecologically grounded and sustainable world.” Child health facilities are to be re-purposed for climate propaganda, by “engaging clinical and non-clinical staff in practices, hospitals, and health systems as advocates”.

Child health professionals are to use “the framework of anticipatory guidance at office visits for discussing climate change with families.” Just picture it: bring in seven-year-old Daphne to get her eczema fixed and you’ll first get an earful from the staff about the wonders of wind turbines.

The gamut of child health professionals are now supposed “in unison” to advocate for causes like green electricity, “plant-based food” (delicious!), electric cars, and “inter-species justice”. To prepare the ground for all this, there would be professional education for  “Child health professionals at all levels of training and in all venues of practice, on all aspects of the climate crisis.” This education includes

…collaborative movements such as One Health, Planetary Health, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, which identify the root civil-political, social, economic, cultural, ecological, and philosophical causes of climate change.

The international association laments that too many health professionals fear spruiking climate stuff publicly. One survey showed 22 per cent thought their peers would object; 16 per cent thought the topic too controversial, and 14 per cent didn’t want to risk their careers over it. The association claims its declaration will soothe such concerns, advising that “public engagement is expected of pediatricians.” Professionals are now meant to “advance and support” kids’ own climate-crisis advocacy (as if kids acquired their views independently).

Amongst all the nonsense are a couple of good ideas, like less jetting to glamorous conferences (a great tax lurk for medicos). Such conferences should now offer “primarily vegetarian, climate-conscious, and locally-sourced meals.” Maybe lentil soup, mealworms and grilled grasshoppers.

The donation-funded Climate Council has grown to a $6 million a year propaganda behemoth with a $4 million salary bill.  It started in 2013 with $1m.  I suspect someone’s tipping in multi-million dollars there now. As for the nitty-gritty, the only (derisory) public disclosure about salaries is that 24 key managers got in total $545,733 last year.

All up, $6 million is a lot of money to spend on hogwash.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] Climate Council Annual report, p7

[2] “The ultimate drivers of the Anthropocene if they continue unabated through this century, may well threaten the viability of contemporary civilization and perhaps even the future existence of Homo sapiens.”

[3] She’s also a member of Doctors for the Environment Australia, the Climate and Health Alliance, and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Climate change and Health group.

[4] The deluded Climate Council claims, quoting our equally silly Academy of Science: “The long-term drying trends in southwest and southeast Australia, punctuated by severe droughts, are already hammering our most important agricultural regions.”

What the ABC Decided You Didn’t Need to Know

Media

Let’s do a case study of the ABC’s handling of an important political controversy. That is, the contents of the laptop abandoned in a Delaware repair shop in 2019 by Joe Biden’s dissolute son Hunter. The New York Post exposed it just three weeks before the election. Key to remember is that the ABC loves Joe Biden to distraction, as the comments below demonstrate:

Stan Grant: “Joe Biden’s appeal to decency, to bring Americans together…”

Leigh Sales: “When you talk to people who have spent time around Joe Biden, including Republicans, there is one word that keeps coming up…”extraordinarily decent person”… “the most decent, honourable politician I’ve ever known”…”a person with decency”… 

Joe actually leads a sleazy family of grifters. For example, on August 13, 2018, after son Hunter drove to Las Vegas from LA in his Porsche at up to 175mph, one prostitute warned him to stop using more than two prostitutes simultaneously because they might steal his stuff.[1] Hunter has traded on his father’s position to enrich himself by multi-millions. of dollars As a quid pro quo Joe got his cut from Hunter – who  whinges at having to hand over half his earnings to Dad as part of their comingled paypacket.[2] In the past decade Hunter was soliciting riches from corrupt Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs and from princelings in China tied to the Communist Party – indeed cash connections extending all the way to China’s then-rising star Xi Jinping.[3] [4] Joe Biden, as US vice-president and president, denied any knowledge of the drug-addled neophyte Hunter’s business deals.[5]

One 2017 email on the laptop referred to Hunter warehousing for Joe 10 per cent of profits from a multi-billion China belt-and-road funder, called CEFC, associated with Chinese intelligence actors and controlling “more money than God”, said Hunter, who cruised to China on Air Force Two in 2013 when Dad met Xi Jinping.[6] The 10 per cent was for “the big guy”. As one of his partners put it: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u are face to face.”[7]

Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post front-paged the materials. For six hours it seemed an election-winner for Trump – until  Twitter and Facebook blocked the story from circulating online, even suspending the Post’s own Twitter account. One post-election poll showed 36 per cent of Democrat voters didn’t know about the laptop, and 13 per cent would not have voted for Biden if they had known.

The ABC’s team was comfortable with Twitter/FB’s censorship jihad and themselves trashed the Post’s story as Russian-inspired disinformation or worthless. They were impressed by 51 retired senior intelligence executives who claimed the story had all the hallmarks of Russian hackdom – citing no evidence whatsoever.

Last month, the New York Times finally conceded Hunter’s laptop contents were the real thing. The Times had suppressed the truth for well over a year. The Washington Post next day sheepishly followed suit.

Contrition?  None, of course, and none yet from the ABC. As for those 51 intelligence “experts”, the New York Post splashed their portraits as a rogue’s gallery of lying Deep State operatives. One of them, 28-year CIA veteran John Sipher tweeted: “I lost the election for Trump? Well, then I (feel) pretty good about my influence.”

NOW let’s get forensic about the ABC’s laptop coverage.

First, the Post’s initial bombshell was that Joe Biden was lying that he had no knowledge of Hunter’s lucrative business dealings with dubious offshore players. The laptop emails showed Hunter  setting up Joe for a  meeting in 2015 with the corrupt Burisma operatives paying the unqualified Hunter $US83,333 a month. However, the laptop’s email wordings were ambiguous whether the meeting was consummated. The ABC repeatedly seized on the “unconsummated” interpretation to protect Joe Biden. After eight months of denials and stonewalling,  the White House admitted last year that Joe did attend the meeting at Café Milano’s private Garden Room in Georgetown DC, on April 16, 2015, but claimed it was just a “drop by” because Joe (improbably) wanted to meet a Greek Orthodox priest there and no business was discussed. As Miranda Devine notes, “That’s not how it works. Joe just has to show up and shake hands. All that matters is that Hunter demonstrates his pulling power” to justify pocketing $US83,000 a month.[8]

Among other invitees were Moscow billionaire Elena Baturina and husband, the corrupt Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. Baturina the previous year had wired $US3.5 million to Hunter’s business, a transfer US Treasury flagged as a suspicious transaction.

The ABC might now protest that it knew nothing of those dinner facts at the time. But since the facts have emerged, the ABC has declined to inform its Australian public or correct its previous smears.

Here’s the ABC’s reporting timeline.

October 15, 2020: 

Associated Press/ABC runs an unsigned explainer  about why Facebook and Twitter were suppressing the laptop story. The ABC describes as “an unfounded idea” that Hunter Biden “may have enriched himself by selling his access to his father.” Well, useless crackhead Hunter certainly collected multi-million payoffs from bagmen from America’s antagonists like Russia and China, but for no reason, apparently.

The piece continues, “Disinformation experts have said there are multiple red flags that raise doubts about (the emails’) authenticity [they’re authentic], including questions about whether the laptop actually belongs to Hunter Biden.” [It did]. The ABC quoted one “disinformation expert” that the emails could be either hacked or forged or both. [The emails weren’t hacked or forged or both].

The mere involvement of Trumpers Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani is viewed  as “another potential alarm” – though the ABC never viewed as “potential alarms” any  leak from double-dealing Democrat FBI/CIA chiefs, hookers, grifters or nameless “officials”.

AP/ABC next  spin the story as Twitter and Facebook limiting “hacked” material on their platforms “ahead of the election”, rather than desperately censoring material damaging to candidate Biden. (After the election Twitter CEO Dorsey admitted the emails weren’t hacked, and Facebook never published its promised Fact-Check).

The ABC  inserts a correction to the story three months later, walking back a detail that had been over-favorable to Biden.

 October 16, 2020:

Planet America with John Barron – also of the US Studies Centre, Sydney University – and “comedian” Chas Licciardello claim that struggling candidate Trump, with Murdoch’s backing, is “desperately resurrecting” his attacks on Hunter Biden.

In a  vile ad hominem, Barron in his smart grey suit spits at the  legally-blind albino repairer of Hunter’s laptop: “He is a piece of work!” This repairman, Mac Isaac, legally owned the laptop in August 2019 when Hunter failed to pay and collect it. His father, a retired Air Force colonel, reported the contents properly to the FBI, which declined to even receive the laptop. In December 2019, however, the FBI had second thoughts and  seized the laptop from Isaac’s shop. In the national uproar, Isaac’s public-spirited act tore his life apart. He got violent threats, feared for his life and closed his thriving business to move interstate. He has since brought suit against Twitter for its lie that he ‘hacked’ the laptop.

Barron also calls the Post story “a pretty poor piece of journalism” and “a very very credulous piece of reporting”. This applies exactly to the ABC’s  coverage. If anyone is “a piece of work”, it’s ABC’s John Barron.

The pair agree that Twitter/FB’s censorship is “extraordinary” but put that down to the “fishy” laptop story being “simply bunkum” from Russian hacks and misinformation.

The pair run the gamut of laptop excuses, eg that

♦ Hunter maybe didn’t give the laptop to the repair shop (he did)

♦ Hunter was living in Los Angeles and the shop was in Delaware (pundit Chas seems unaware that for generations the Biden family seat is in Delaware)

♦ The laptop would have been password protected (Well, doh!)

♦ Why didn’t the repairer contact Hunter? (He tried in vain)

♦ The FBI did nothing about the laptop  because “there was nothing to it” (No, because the material was dangerous to Joe Biden).

♦ Why didn’t the repairer charge more than $US85? (So what?)

♦ Why would Hunter agree to forfeit the laptop if not collected in 90 days? (Perhaps because he was on crack cocaine and anyway it’s standard repair boilerplate).

♦ Wasn’t it “convenient” the repairer couldn’t recognise Hunter? (Come off it, he was legally blind)

♦ The repairer was a “rabid Trumper” (as were 74m Americans).

♦ The media has to be very careful about foreign election interference and Russian email hacks (except when covering the Democrat-funded “Steele” dossier fakery about prostitutes peeing on Trump’s bed in Moscow).

♦ The emails on the laptop aren’t significant or smoking-guns – “there was nothing actually there”. (So why the unprecedented Twitter/FB crackdown?)

October 20:

The ABC’s David Lipson runs a three-minute audio piece headed, “America’s top intelligence official dismisses Russian disinformation campaign.” This was a reference to John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence. I thought, “Good for you, David, some honest ABC reporting at last.” But Lipson’s actual audio was the usual disgusting ABC spin. The item was introduced as “Reports of a Russian disinformation campaign” and Lipson, claiming “big questions about the veracity of the story”, next cut to Democrat Congress Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff saying, “The whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.”

Lipson clings to his conspiracy: “Multiple news outlets have suggested the FBI is investigating whether the report is part of a Russian disinformation campaign.” He then commendably inserts intelligence boss Ratcliffe saying it’s not Russian spooks and he intends to “stop people using the intelligence community to leverage some political initiative.” Lipson scoffs and dismisses Ratcliffe’s words with a sneering,

Here is the kicker! Before his appointment Ratcliffe was a Republican member of Congress and a staunch Trump loyalist who defended the President in his impeachment trial… Now he is America’s most senior intelligence officer and weighing in on an intelligence issue 15 days out from the election! 

The trouble with Lipson’s ad hominem is that Ratcliffe was right and Lipson is a goose.

October 22:

The ABC’s Steven Smiley and Angela Lavoipierre introduce an audio on the laptop: “Donald Trump’s favorite news story is the one about Hunter Biden, he won’t stop bringing it up. By contrast most of the reputable news media will not touch it, and Twitter and Facebook have both put brakes on related posts. But do they have good reason?”

Lavoipierre: Sometimes you end up with a terrible story that might not stack up.

Smiley: Yeah which is a pretty good description of latest chapter to the Hunter Biden saga.

A certain Adi Robertson, who sees herself an expert on office furniture at an obscure US blog, Verge, is quoted damning the laptop story because, or so she claims, the repair-shop man “subscribes to some weird anti-Clinton conspiracy theories” and Trump’s Rudy Giuliani at some point unwittingly endorsed a Ukrainian MP later exposed as a Russian agent.

Democrat leader Adam Schiff is also quoted: “The origins of this whole smear is from the Kremlin. The President [Trump] is only too happy to have Kremlin help to try to amplify it.”

The on-air trio then bruit (without evidence) that the laptop story is a lookalike to how the Russians allegedly hacked the Democrat National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s private servers in 2016. Robertson hedges her bets but says the laptop story is “really troubling” and they agree it’s “dubious” and “really strange if not outright disinformation”. She concedes the censorship is beyond normal Twitter/FB practice — but no, it’s not suppressing a story “that might harm the Biden campaign”. It’s just that social media allowed too much disinformation in 2016, so Twitter/FB are  over-correcting: “Once bitten, twice shy.”

They all agree that “many conservatives” claim it’s a violation of free speech, but conclude that the problem  is merely “platform power” involving “news distribution”.

October 23:

The ABC’s Matt Bevan admits the laptop scoops have been coming from the Murdoch Australian press, while US rival outlets “wrestle with whether or not to publish”. Indeed. Bevan sneers that the laptop “supposedly” belonged to Hunter Biden (it did), and that its murky stories of Joe, Hunter and Ukrainian gas company Burisma  are inconclusive or false. What Bevan omits is why Burisma was paying Hunter Biden, a libidinous crackhead, $US83,000 a month and billionaires from Moscow and China were showering him with millions.

Bevan touts Russian conspiracy:

“Then, starting at the beginning of 2020, reports emerged [huh?] that Russian government hackers had gained access to the emails of Hunter Biden, and were planning to release them before the 2020 election, timed to do maximum damage to his father’s campaign, in a direct re-running of their 2016 US election interference campaign… Journalists [un-named] at the New York Post have told the New York Times and New York Magazine that they are concerned about the veracity of the story.” [That’s weird because the story was correct.].

There are a few possibilities for what has happened here. One is that Mr Giuliani, despite his recent record of lying about this story repeatedly [no, it’s the ABC lying repeatedly], really did by incredible coincidence come into possession of these materials. [The repair shop owner, after long FBI indifference, turned to Giuliani to make something happen. That’s not an “incredible coincidence”].

The other is that Russian intelligence hacked into Hunter Biden’s information and then laundered what they found through a laptop and a drop at a friendly computer shop. [Yeah right, Matt, taxpayers ought to dock your ABC salary for that nonsense]

Either way, the information on the laptop is highly questionable. [No, it’s accurate].

Which is why American news outlets have been hesitant to touch it. [No, it’s because they are in bed with Democrats and the Bidens].

But Australian media has shown no such qualms. [You mean, the Australian Murdoch media has run rings round the cowardly, truth-suppressing ABC on this affair]

Bevan’s piece required two incidental corrections by the ABC itself.

October 24:

ABC’s David Lipson surprisingly concedes the laptop is not Russian disinformation. But then he  spins it as “more sideshow than showstopper” because Biden probably didn’t attend that Hunter dinner (he did).

Lipson even mentions laptop emails describing Joe Biden “as the ‘Big Guy’ in business deals being sought in China”, but forebears the detail that this “Big Guy” was to be cut in for a secret 10 per cent of the money warehoused by Hunter and Co. Lipson spins: “But the emails are dated May 2017, when Biden was no longer serving as vice-president.” In other words, the Hunter Biden/China financial sleaze was just during Joe’s private capacity, so who cares? Lipson approves Joe’s zinger in the third debate that  his tax returns show no “untoward” money. Actually, Matt,  politicians keep dirty money out of their financial records and the laptop provides how-to examples.

November 1:

 The ABC’s Echo Hui and Hagar Cohen do a long “investigative” piece about a wealthy Chinese expat  blog “New Federal State of China” touting the laptop. The ABC narrative thus associates the scandal with a bunch of what the audience is encouraged to regard as odd/crazy Chinese diaspora activists. This group’s anti-CCP stance is a particular black mark:

Dr Anne Kruger, the director of Asia Pacific at the fact check organisation FirstDraft, studied the group’s operations and said followers flood the internet with questionable material. “Their main tactic is really to try to appeal to people that might have a gripe against the Chinese Communist Party and to push conspiracy theories,” Dr Kruger said

This blog became, say the ABC duo, “the centre of Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal” (what nonsense!). The duo add that “most mainstream US media have not reported the allegations because the source and substance of the material could not be verified.” This Chinese blog, according to ex-members cited, is “very, very dangerous to any country, and the misinformation it recklessly spreads will seriously harm democracy.”

November 3:

The ABC’s “music and pop culture reporter” Paul Donoughue brazenly instances the “discredited” laptop story, and says Twitter “briefly” stopped users from sharing the “misinformation”. (“Briefly” meaning two of the crucial three weeks until election eve).

Donoughue quotes UWA academic Michael Douglas likening Twitter/FB’s crackdown to legitimate censorship of child exploitation material: “In my view, suppressing dubious content designed to influence an election is also justified.”

Donoughue also cites another deluded academic: “Professor Bruns and other researchers say there is no evidence that social platforms are biased against conservative voices.” Reality: Twitter censored the Trump campaign 625 times from May 31, 2018 to Jan 4, 2021, the Biden campaign, zero.[9]

March/April 2022:

Despite their favourite sources, the New York Times and Washington Post, now admitting the laptop is bona fide, the ABC reports nothing about it. Another angle the ABC ignores is that Leigh Sales’ chum Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were fined $US8000 and $US105,000 respectively on March 30, 2022, for lying about their $US1 million funding of the anti-Trump  “pee” dossier.

Maybe the (hopefully) next-term Morrison government will set up a Truth & Justice Commission into the ABC. It seems needed.

Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] Devine, Miranda, Laptop from Hell, Hunter Biden, Big Tech and the Dirty Secrets The President Tried to Hide, Post Hill Press, 2021, p247-8

[2] Ibid, p61

[3] “Hunter Biden had business associations with Ye Jianming, Gongwen Dong, and other Chinese nationals linked to the Communist government and People’s Liberation Army. Those associations resulted in millions of dollars in questionable transactions.” Republican-chaired Congressional Investigation Report, September 23, 2020

[4] Devine, p72

[5] Ex-VP Joe Biden, wife Jill, brother Jim and Ye Jianming even had keys to Hunter’s business office in Washington DC. — Devine, p184

[6] Devine, p125

[7] Hunter referred to another CEFC official as “the f***ing spy chief” and told cronies that CEFC was “coming to be MY partner to be partners with the Bidens.” (Devine, p191). The Bidens windfall from CEFC cash was $US5 million. CEFC founder Ye Jianming gave Hunter a 3.16 carat diamond after their first meeting. In Hunter’s later divorce suit, its value was put at around $US80,000. (Devine, p54).

[8] Devine , p102

[9] An October 2021 Media Researh Centre study even found that Big Tech giants overwhelmingly censored Republican members of Congress by a rate of 54-to-1 compared to congressional Democrats.

How the UK Combats Activism in the Classroom

Tony Thomas

This essay, the first of two, looks at the UK education system and its praiseworthy laws under the Education Act 1996 against teachers pushing partisan views. The ban prohibits not just touting for political parties but promoting contentious ideas in a one-sided way – trashing Winston Churchill as an imperialist, for example (let alone “Critical Race Theory”). The law would require teachers to also discuss Churchill’s positive achievements. The Ministry issued 9000 words of further and comprehensive “guidance notes” for teachers on February 17 on interpreting these laws.

Indoctrination by schools is also a boiling political issue in the US. School board elections are now political battlegrounds across states. In Virginia, anti-indoctrination candidate Glenn Youngkin became the first Republican to serve as governor since 2009.[1] Florida Republican governor Ron DeSantis is a likely presidential nominee, on a platform that includes condemning Critical Race Theory, explicit sex materials and other “woke” indoctrination by Democrat brainwashers in schools.

Part II: Why Australian teachers are free to brainwash kids

Do the Australian states’ education systems have similar laws? My second essay will spell out these policies plus examples of how they are violated continuously and with impunity.

The UK ban on classroom indoctrination

Under the heading “Political Indoctrination’, Section 406 of the UK Education Act forbids

(a) the pursuit of partisan political activities by any of those registered pupils … who are junior pupils [under 12],[2] and

(b) the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school.

 Section 407 is headed, “Duty to secure balanced treatment of political issues” and comes with sub-sections that enable teachers to advocate fundamentals such as rule of law and religious tolerance. But the key clauses ban partisan political teaching of any subject or distribution of partisan material, and require that teachers give kids a “balanced presentation of opposing views.”

February’s guidance notes provide teachers with about 20 illustrations of contentious situations in class. Clarification was needed because many schools have been convulsed by angry parental protests about teaching and withdrawals of kids from state education.[3] At the sharp end is the teaching of issues like Black Lives Matter and “white privilege”, LGBTQI+ affairs in Muslim-heavy schools, #metoo, statue-trashing, “Critical Race Theory” and of course, the supposed climate apocalypse. Even if a topic like net-zero is bi-partisan in Parliament, UK schools must give it balanced treatment if it remains contentious in the UK community.

The Guidance was precipitated by an adverse Commons education committee report last June and a dossier to Parliament from the Free Speech Union last November, citing partisan teaching in 15 schools, described as ‘the tip of the iceberg’:

“They [teachers] are so far down the woke rabbit hole, they think these claims are incontestable facts rather than contentious political positions and regard anyone who challenges them as completely beyond the pale,” the Free Speech secretary said. Examples included a history teacher comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler and diatribes against the police, racism and colonialism. The earlier Commons report said teachers preached against “white privilege” even though their working-class white students were low-achieving and disadvantaged. Tory MP Jonathon Gullis, an ex-teacher, said teachers pushing “white privilege” racism should be disciplined and reported to counter-terrorism programs as extremists. The Ministry agreed any such teaching was contrary to the Education Act’s impartiality clauses.

UK teachers hit back at the government’s ‘awful’ Guidance, calling it a “war on woke” while dismissing it as patronising and gratuitous advice to schools. Some teachers argued the guidance is “non-statutory” and could be ignored.

The Minister for School Standards, Robin Walker, explained in the Commons, “Pupils must form their own political views, and schools should not indoctrinate or encourage children to pin their colours to any particular political mast.” Similarly, the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, says in the foreword to the Guidance,

Parents and carers want to be sure that their children can learn about political issues and begin to form their own independent opinions, without being influenced by the personal views of those teaching them.

The Guidance says, “Given the changing nature of political issues and how they are taught, schools may wish to consider reviewing their approach to political impartiality even where issues have not already emerged.” The department clearly expects schools rife with parental complaints will rigorously review and reform any illegally-biased teaching.

“Teachers are role models and authority figures, and hence should seldom share their personal political views,” the Guidance says. If they do, they should alert pupils to equivalent contrary views. Schools should consider whether or not to ban teachers altogether from expressing personal political opinions.

Third parties, including charities and campaigners are welcome to supplement teaching, but schools should ensure in advance that speakers or materials do not undermine schools’ legal impartiality, and visitors should represent a fair cross-section of views. The guidance instances an external agency invited to speak on economic challenges of the Global South, but the agency wrongly promotes partisan free-market economic reforms like privatisation and deregulation.

On climate, the guidelines cite the 2007 legal challenge by citizen Stuart Dimmock[4]against schools airing Al Gore’s 2007 Inconvenient Truth disaster movie. The UK High Court, ruling against the Education Department, defined “partisan” as “one-sided” and defined “political views” as “those expressed with a political purpose, such as to further the interests of a particular partisan group, change the law or change government policy. This could be on a wide range of matters such as economic and social issues at a local, national, or international level.”[5]

The High Court ruling was that Gore’s movie was politically partisan and the court required teachers to alert kids about this and provide balancing material, as well as obliging them to point out nine major errors in the film (which Gore has never corrected).[6] [7]

The UK guidance notes define climate change as “scientific fact” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) and not political, but says correctly that discussion of causes and policy responses to it might well be politically influenced. Teachers and pupils should distinguish between climate facts, solutions and opinions. Teachers need not reference misinformation that “anthropogenic climate change is not occurring,” it says. [A straw-man as the controversy is over how much is occurring and why].

An inquiry by the skeptic-minded Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2014 picked up these examples of UK teachers’ partisan preaching on climate:

♦ A mind-map (schematic) suggests global warming will be worse than famine, plague or nuclear war. The mind-map was sourced to a pamphlet from a “passionate” green activist.

♦ “Scientists believe that a 1◦C increase in world temperature is all that the world can tolerate before climatic chaos sets in.”

♦ “Explain why developed rich countries should provide money to poorer, developing countries so that they can reduce their CO2 emissions.”

Academics and renewables executives invited to a Norfolk school did a futuristic presentation:

♦ As the day begins, the students are informed that the Earth’s remaining reserves of fossil fuels have finally been exhausted and, as a result, the fabric of what we consider normal life has immediately started to crumble. No more light, no more heat, no more iPods. No more anything, in fact, meaning something needs to be done – and soon – before the world falls into total chaos.

♦ Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, will we realise that we cannot eat money. Is it all about money?

UK teachers’ comments to a draft survey suggested that even half a decade ago UK schools were overdoing the climate scare:

♦ “It’s done to death in UK schools across a range of subjects and in nearly all year groups. We risk turning them off it.”

♦ “Blimey, it is virtually impossible to do any science topic without some reference to greenhouse effect/global warming/climate change having to be included.”

♦ “It has become a bit of a joke in my higher groups that on the long exam questions the words carbon dioxide and global warming will always get a mark regardless of the question!

GWPF said the “sustainability” teaching isn’t improving kids’ scientific and economic knowledge.

Our research for this report suggests, perhaps unsurprisingly, that having unqualified primary school teachers explain complex physical phenomena to primary school children has not been a successful strategy…

The slant is on scares, on raising fears, followed by the promotion of detailed guidance on how pupils should live, as well as on what they should think. In some instances, we find encouragement to create ‘little political activists’ in schools by creating a burden of responsibility for action on their part to ‘save the planet’, not least by putting pressure on their parents… Children are being treated as political targets by activists who wish to change society in fundamental ways…

The fact that children’s ability to pass their exams – and hence their future life prospects – appears to depend on being able to demonstrate their climate change orthodoxy, is painfully reminiscent of life in communist-era Eastern Europe or Mao’s China. Politicians seem to have given the nod to this process, effectively handing much of the curriculum to green activists.

Many kids — possibly most — became upset and frightened for their future, GWPF added.

The UK Ministry now urges teachers to thoroughly review third party material on all controversial topics. It instances fact-sheets about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which might seem balanced and helpful but omits historical and other contexts. It welcomes anti-racist views but warns that organisations such as Black Lives Matter can have partisan policies — ‘defund the police’ for starters — that teachers should not promote.

Teachers are encouraged to talk politics but not to promote their own, or anyone’s views, as worthy or factual, instead to use a ‘fair and dispassionate’ approach. Teachers should not offer mere variants on their preferred views, and instead should give kids “at least two significantly different perspectives.” Pupils’ engagement and interest in political issues should be encouraged, on an age-appropriate basis. Political/environmental activity by senior pupils is acceptable and should be encouraged, providing staff do not incite or direct them. Teachers should ensure a dominant group of pupils doesn’t over-influence others.

It would not be appropriate for a teacher to suggest that pupils join a certain campaigning group or engage in an upcoming protest. Teachers and staff can, however, explain to pupils how they can get more actively involved outside of school. This might be by:

♦ explaining the different partisan political views campaigning groups advocate

♦ telling pupils where they can find out more about this

♦ providing a balanced account of political issues related to the environment.”

Reading the Guidance, I got the impression that the opposite can apply in Australian schools. This will be documented in Part 2 on Australian State policies.

 Tony Thomas’ latest essay collection “Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars” ($29.95) is available from publisher ConnorCourt

[1] The Democrats and media brazenly lied that “Critical Race Theory” was not being taught in Virginia schools.

[2] That is, within school or outside school with school involvement

[3] Up 34% in 2021, but with COVID an important factor.

[4] A school governor and father of two schoolboys

[5] This appears to be the ministry’s paraphrasing of the judgement

[6] In Australia, literally millions of kids have been force-fed Gore’s film.

[7] For example, Gore lied in the movie that entire island populations had been evacuated to NZ to escape rising seas from climate change.