Author Archives: tonythomas061

The ABC’s Agenda-Bending ‘Nobelist’

Penny Whetton was once Peter and a nob catastropharian at the error-prone IPCC, where his shtick was global calamity. Now that she is on the gay-marriage bandwagon, the national broadcaster came calling to bolster its pro-SSM coverage with the view of a Stockholm laureate. He wasn’t and she isn’t

penny whettonAbout climate change, the ABC displays  pitiful ignorance. Holding its tax-fed reporters and producers to account is about as productive as chiding toddlers for wet nappies.

Still, someone needs to supply some elementary  instruction and it might as well be me, although I was planning to wash to dog this morning.

Through yesterday (Sunday) the ABC news site was burbling about Melbourne climate scientist Penny Whetton as a “Nobel Prize winner” a la Albert Einstein and our locals such as Macfarlane Burnett, Peter Doherty and Brian Schmidt.[1] [2]

The story was actually focused on Whetton’s legal same-sex marriage to Greens federal senator Janet Rice. When they married 31 years ago, Whetton was the male and the couple now have two  adult sons. Whetton transitioned to female, while  two females continued in what they say is their loving and legal marriage. All well and gender-good, albeit a tad confusing.

On the flagship 7pm TV news last night, reporter Elias Clure (should that be “Clureless”?) intoned, “Senator Rice and Miss Whetton, a Nobel Prize recipient, are one of the few same sex couples in a legally binding marriage…”

The ABC film crew then cut to a certificate on the couple’s wall, with a replica of the official Nobel picture and screed. The clip moved to a close-up to show the text reading, “Presented to PENNY WHETTON for contributing to the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE for 2007 to the IPCC.”[3]

The certificate is signed by the  IPCC’s  then-chair (2002-15), the porn-novel author and alleged (very) dirty old man Rajendra Pachauri. Now 77, he resigned abruptly in February, 2015, when accused by a 29-year-old female subordinate of an 18-month sexual harassment onslaught.[4] The Whetton certificate is counter-signed by the IPCC’s then-secretary, Ms Renate Christ. It’s a rare example of the ABC taking Christ’s words seriously.

The Peace Prize also has been awarded to the corrupt and murderous late  billionaire Yasser Arafat (1994)[5]  and the tottering and terror-traumatised European Union (2012)[6].

The Peace Prize in 2007 went jointly to electricity-guzzling CO2 hypocrite Al Gore[7] and the IPCC itself for pumping out fake climate-catastrophe warnings (the IPCC’s climate models continue to over-forecast actual warming by two to three times).

IPCC Chair Pachauri wrote on October 16, 2007, to the hundreds of lead authors of the IPCC’s 2007 report saying that they could all now call themselves Nobel laureates:

“I have been stunned in a pleasant way with the news of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for the IPCC. This makes each of you Nobel Laureates and it is my privilege to acknowledge this honour on your behalf.”

Among the patsies who fell for Pachauri’s hype were our own CSIRO and Monash University, neither of which thought to check Pachauri’s claim with the Nobel secretariat in Oslo. Deakin Univerisity’s vice-chancellor, Jane den Hollander, awarded Nobel Prize status to Pachauri himself. Penny Whetton, then leading the CSIRO’s Climate Change Impact and Risks group, joined the 2007 self-congratulation at the Nobel for herself and her colleagues.[8]

Pachauri hot-footed to the local Snap-Print and ran off personalized Nobel certificates for posting to thousands of contributors to the IPCC since its foundation in 1988, including reviewers, panelists, technical geeks and bureaucrats. For what it’s worth, a Jewish historical society has estimated Australia’s 2007 “Nobellists” alone at 100 to 200 climate careerists.

These certificates have the unimpeachable authenticity of a Zimbabwean 100 billion dollar note, or of the incessant forecasts since 1988 of an ice-free Arctic (current sea ice extent: about 8 million square kilometres).

The epitome of such pomposity is world-leading climate alarmist Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann, who in an affidavit   accused his detractors of the brand-new crime of “personal defamation of a  Nobel Prize recipient.”[9]

Certificate recipients include those, I suppose, who fantasised in the Fourth Report (2007) that the Himalayan glaciers would melt in 2035 and leave billions on the Subcontinent bereft of fresh water.[10] A top member of the IPCC cabal, Kevin Trenberth, emailed his pals that Christmas:  “Season’s greetings to all my fellow Nobel Laureates, even if we did not get to go to Oslo.”[11]

This   posturing about “Nobels” got so all-pervasive that someone (I assume the Nobel’s secretariat in Oslo) read the riot act to the IPCC. This forced the IPCC in October 2012 to tell its Nobel-winning myriads  to back-off:

The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner.” (My emphasis).

Understandably, this IPCC missive was not signed by Pachauri, who had falsely lent his authority to the original fake-Nobel proliferation. The IPCC has also warned,

“No individual, no matter what their involvement with the IPCC, can pass themselves off an a Nobel Laureate. Not even Dr Rajendra Pachauri  is an individual laureate.”[12]

No wonder Oslo was worried. If pseudo-scientists on the IPCC could claim Nobel Laureate status because the IPCC got the Peace Prize, then every one of the 500 million citizens of the European Union is also a Nobel laureates (via the EU’s 2012 Peace Prize).

I have previously urged the IPCC to issue a recall notice for its Nobel  certificates, as these bits of paper continue to befuddle the media innocents at the ABC and elsewhere. Penny Whetton could replace the blank spot on her wall with an equivalent poster, say, of mermaids frolicking with dolphins in a coral wonderland.

Tony Thomas won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his book of Quadrant essays last year, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print. Purchase it here.


[1] Through a stealth edit, the news item today now calls Whetton “a renowned climatologist”.

[2] SBS also treats Whetton as a Nobel laureate

[3] IPCC = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

[4] New Delhi police ever since have been trying to get him into court to answer their charges of molestation, stalking, sexual harassment and criminal intimidation. If convicted, he could spend seven years in jail.

[5] Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize parchment is now held by Hamas gunmen, who grabbed it when looting his house a decade ago.

[6] The EU’s prize was “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”. Europe is such a peaceful place these days, just ask any culturally enriched London train passenger. In the case of Australia, the measures mentioned are inducing world-topping electricity prices and the odd blackout.

[7] The swimming pool at one of Gore’ mansions consumes as much electricity for heating as six normal houses in total.

[8] The eight “Nobellists” celebrated by the CSIRO on October 16, 2007 were Penny Whetton, Kevin Hennessy, Roger Jones, Ian Watterson, Barrie Pittock, Bryson Bates, Nathan Bindoff, and Mark Howden.

[9] Mann’s “Hockey Stick” paleoclimate study of 1999 was adopted by the IPCC in 2001 as its landmark justification that current warming is unprecedented in 1000 years, but thereafter became one of the most debunked studies in climate history. Two decades later Mann is still fighting court orders to disclose his underlying data.

[10] This furphy, based purely on a magazine’s scuttle-butt, passed through all IPCC review processes and later led to nine “erratas”, even conceding dud arithmetic.

[11] Trenberth wrote the all-time classic Climategate email:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”

[12] The Punch (5 February, 2010)

 

COMMENTS [9]

  1. ianl

    Yet again the propensity of the MSM, in particular the ABC, to control and censor the public “information” flow to suit a propagandising agenda.

    Now a brief recount of an egregious example of this from last night’s 8pm Sky News (Tuesday Sept 19th 2017) that even Cassandra (my alter ego) had never thought to see (just lacked the imagination, you see). To understand the perniciousness of this incident, one need only know that Foxtel has an “R” rating application it uses for (mostly) films on its’ World Movies channel it has deemed as requiring R-certificate censorship. A screen suddenly fronts that requires a 4-digit code to be fed in before any broadcast is allowed to continue – the TV screen is black-blocked, sound off, with only this code requirement showing until you dutifully obey or change channels to something apparently less deemable.

    So, most unusually, I tuned into Jones & Credlin (Channel 601) a few minutes prior to 8pm because the promos had said something like Credlin and guest Abbott would be robustly discussing the energy mess we have. Although Credlin is not much on hard policy detail (at least the few times I’ve seen her), she does have access to the public megaphone for cross-examination of the slimy ones.

    Suddenly, just before the Jones/Credlin segment was due to start, the sound from the TV stopped. I turned around to see what had gone wrong (not paying attention till then), and there was the deemable R-certificate censorship screen, demanding I feed in the release code so I could watch a segment of political commentary (not some soft-porn film).

    For me, a minor inconvenience and a large belly laugh at the juveniles running Sky. But it seems likely that the more casual of the audience may have concluded that violence/sex unacceptable to family life was about to be screened and so changed channels, or even not noticed for some time that the broadcast was stopped.

    Foxtel and Sky News deemed a political commentary segment to be of R-certificate content, in the same category as pornography or highly graphic portrayals of violence. As I’ve noted, this censorship possibility had never occurred to me – obviously, I just lacked the imagination. And no, this wasn’t a “mistake” or a programme “glitch”. It was meant by Sky as a pathetically jejune attempt to censor its’ own broadcast segment. This is the abysmal bottom level we have reached on the road to Disenlightenment. The MSM is toxic, repulsive.

  2. StephenD

    The ABC should be privatised or better still just closed down. There is no justification for a government-funded media outlet in this day and age. The ABC was established to ensure there was a media outlet free of commercial influence. However that is the least of our worries now. What we have got instead is taxpayer-funded Green-Left media dinosaur. Like the AHRC, which is also blatantly biased in the same direction, the ABC is tireless in promoting an outdated ideology not shared by at least half of the people who are being forced to pay for it. This is an abuse of government funds.
    I pay for Quadrant, without government assistant. Let people stupid enough to like the ABC pay for the rotten thing themselves. It worked well for the Climate Council, which continues to offer indispensable advice to its adoring public, such as that they should eat their leftovers to help save the planet. The ABC operates at a similar intellectual level, and no doubt has many supporters among the intelligentsia of Australia who will prove more than happy to pay for its indispensable services.

    • Doc S

      What an excellent idea. They could transition to a public subscription service like the US’ PBS (the American ABC equivalent) To quote the Wikipedia entry: “PBS is an independently operated non-profit organization and is the most prominent provider of government-funded educational television programming to public television stations in the United States… PBS is funded by member station dues, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, government agencies, corporations, foundations and individual citizens.” So not entirely off the taxpayer’s teat as it were, but near as dammit AND a perfectly good model for dare I say it, ‘our’ ABC! Just think of the money the government would save – a $billion or two a year – certainly help pay our half-a-trillion deficit nes pa? Get Cory or Pauline to put a private member’s bill up (or one of the more spine-possessing Coalition MPs). Now wouldn’t that be a thing to see?

  3. Jody

    These gender benders only get a glimpse because we live in the ‘Age of the Abnormal’ (my GPs words).

  4. padraic

    The ABC types just make it up as they go along and they do not appear to do any background research. Their pronunciation of rural Australian place names is appalling. That could be because most of their staff are from the northern hemisphere and or possibly because they have never got beyond Newtown railway station.

  5. Patrick McCauley

    Hahahahahahahahaha. Lovely TT … what a lovely mind you have … such a light touch on such heavy things is rare indeed. Thank you. Made my day.

  6. colman moloney

    TT, I bought your book and thought it was sensational. If you keep writing this stuff, you might have to whip out another.

  7. Doubting Thomas

    If he does, I’ll buy it.

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Miserable in Mexico

The offer of a free trip to the land of conquistadores and Aztecs, bullfights, bargains, mariachis and margaritas airlifted an eager traveller from his newsroom desk and deposited him in a country no less well known for mindless officialdom, lost bags and loose bowels

aztec tongueOne of the perks of journalism used to be the junkets to foreign lands. Embassies, airlines, and resorts were happy to give us a good time, all expenses paid. The quid pro quo was puff pieces about our delightful experiences. This soft corruption ended for me about 1990 when Fairfax banned junkets.

In 1983, for no good reason, I scored a junket to Acapulco, Mexico. It remains my lifetime’s most ulcerous  travel experience.   Even 34  years later, I still flinch about that trip.

The saga began with a shout from our editor, “Who wants a week in Acapulco?”

“Me!” I shouted back across the desks, expecting a torrid  tussle with  colleagues.

But I was the lone applicant. It was a travel agents’ conference in Acapulco, followed by a sampling of Mexico’s terrific archaeological/historical sites — a nice break from  cranking out stories about tax.

All I knew about Acapulco was Elvis Presley’s Fun in Acapulco movie of 20 years earlier, where he co-starred with Ursula Andress (I’ll waive the easy pun). Actually Presley never set foot in Mexico, doing his scenes on a Hollywood lot because he’d  become persona non grata after an earlier visit.[i]

My glitches on departure from Melbourne AIrport were not dire but not good omens either. My wife driving, we set off along the freeway in good time, with a detour to collect a stack of   reporters’ business cards from the home of a colleague en route. We got lost, had sharp intra-car altercations, and arrived late at the Departures ramp red-faced and no longer on speaking terms. I exited the car   giving wife a perfunctory peck on the cheek, and she burst into tears. A  parking official ordered me back to deliver a more romantic farewell, probably not part of his job description.

I hastened through formalities and with a sigh of relief, settled into my TAA  seat for takeoff.

A call: “Is Mr Anthony Thomas on this flight?” I raised my hand. The hostess   handed me – for heaven’s sake! – my pad of travellers’ cheques.   I had dropped the bundle in the ticketing queue.   A Good Samaritan had picked them up and the airport staff had tracked me down,   minutes before the plane shut its door.

At Sydney I  rang wife to complain that I had previously asked her to sew up the rip in my jacket’s inner pocket. This had not been done and the travellers cheques had slipped through the gap. Wife did not take kindly to being scapegoated. Most women can intuit her retort.

Nothing untoward happened at transit at Los Angeles, except that my short-term US visa carried a coded notation that I had been an Australian Communist Party member (from age 18-22), which aroused   surliness from officials.

I changed to Mexico’s official carrier, Aeromexico, for the leg to Mexico City. It turned out that the entry airport for immigration was Guadalajara. We landed at 4am and by then  I was in a long-haul travellers’ zombie state. We shuffled in  a queue for our entry stamp and somehow I exited to the domestic transfer gate without the clerk’s bang of his  stamp on my passport. The omission was a time-bomb because there was now no evidence I had entered Mexico legally.

But I had no premonition of this catastrophe to come. I finally settled into my hotel in Acapulco and dutifully attended  talks for travel agents about why Acapulco exceeded any other of earth’s delights­.

I scanned my welcome pack. It offered delegates a free add-on flight to another Mexican tourist destination plus several days free hotel accommodation there. This looked promising. I needed to justify my BRW Magazine trip with a business story or two. There was nothing in the add-on’s terms to prevent me nominating Mexico City, where I could do some serious interviews.

I explained my odd preference to a couple of young Mexican travel officials at the conference desk. They   grudgingly  conceded that the terms permitted it technically but not in spirit. They kept me waiting lengthily while they attended to other people and then told me to come back at noon next day. When I did, the desk was closed. I finally cornered them and  they  did sign my   free-hotel stay in the capital’s swanky Zona Rosa district.

“Could I please get a room that’s not near the lift?” I asked.

After more discussion the older man said “Sure!” and scribbled a note in Spanish.  “Give it to reception,” he said.

Their hostility abated. They wished me a great trip, and we split up with friendly handshakes.

Back at my  hotel I evinced the repulsive conditions of “Montezuma’s Revenge”. I’d avoided bug-ridden water but the buffet’s salads had been washed from the kitchen tap. Bodily fluids rocketed incessantly out of my every bodily exit. Everyone thinks their gastro is the worst ever survived,  and mine was like that. Two days went by.

Somehow in a fevered and dehydrated state I staggered onto my plane for Mexico City. I lunged for an orange juice, downed it and it stayed down. My gastro was over.

At the new hotel I handed reception my signed accommodation warrants and  the hand-written note. The desk clerk briskly checked and ticked the form but did a double-take at the note. He conferred with peers and then in a sorrowfully polite and sympathetic way told me, “This note says that under no circumstances are you to have any free accommodation.” Yet another gringo outsmarted by the natives.

As it turned out, prices in Mexico were ridiculously cheap for holders of dollars. That’s because Mexican governments had way overspent their prospective oil revenues and   defaulted on USD80b of   debt. This led to    three  peso devaluations  totaling 500%.  Tourists with dollars could spend like royalty. For the locals, it was not so pleasant. Everyone   who had borrowed dollars now owed five times as much. Businesses went broke, workers got fired and the economy was flat on its back.

I’ve forgotten what the hotel charged, but   dinner at its best restaurant was $A12-$15 and amazingly, a domestic air trip was barely $A20.

I went on a shopping binge and bought a suitcase-load of presents for my short-suffering wife, including a Parisian-style sky-blue satin nightie; suits and shoes for myself; kids clothes, you name it, at what were like charity-shop prices.

I went to an optician’s  shop for new specs. They were delighted to have a customer and made a big fuss of me.

For work, I interviewed a Chamber of Manufactures boss at his large factory. En route to his office we passed a room with a couple of women workers, and I asked what he was making in the main factory. “Nothing,” he said.   His workforce was now just the two ladies.

At another executive’s home, I commented on the old rifle on pegs above his mantelpiece. “That belonged to my grandfather,” he said. “If ever things here get too bad, I’ll   load it and serve my country.” I was  used to the idea of Leftist revolutions but he was readying for a coup from the Right.

My guide Leticia drove me about, cheerfully pointing out the neo-Gothic mansion of ex-police chief and cocaine-trafficker Arturo Durazo   which the new government had opened as a “museum of corruption”.[ii]

After a day at the glorious ruins of Teotihuacan I was ready to fly back to Los Angeles and  home. I had my old suitcase full of old clothes and unwashed underpants, plus a new-bought suitcase   stuffed like a   treasure chest with  finery.

It was early on Sunday and the  airport was somnolent. At the check-in desk a bored male clerk assessed my ticket, passport and US visa. Ticket: OK.  Visa: OK. Passport: he thumbed through the pages, getting irritated.

“There is no entry stamp, senor. How did you arrive?”

“Through Guadalajara.”

“I’m sorry but I have no evidence of that. Kindly go to the Immigration Office.”

I vaguely remembered that  4am mix-up at Guadalajara. How could I have been such a damn fool?

At Immigration, bored officials conferred and advised that my departure  to Los Angeles was out of the question until the entry issue was sorted out. “How long?” I asked. They shrugged. “A week? Maybe a month. It depends.”

A further horror dawned. Even if  my entry snafu got sorted out, my US Visa   would have expired.

In forlorn tones I thanked the immigration people. Lugging my old and new suitcases, I   roamed through the sleepy airport in near tearful state, hoping like Micawber that something would turn up.

Most offices were shut. The few people on duty couldn’t be bothered with my self-inflicted problem.

I had only one resource: my status as a guest of Aeromexico. I discovered the airline’s  office, and   two   officials sat up in surprise. I flung myself at their feet, metaphorically and very nearly literally. Their English was not good but my faulty passport told its own tale. They   took an interest in this rare predicament and tossed around  scenarios, none sounding hopeful.

I’d arrived with several hours to spare but by now boarding calls for my plane were adding to my panic.

The officials explained that the immigration crisis point would be at touchdown at Mazatlan en route, where passport formalities took their final form.

They came up with a stop-gap measure. They would telex  to Mazatlan   and request   some leeway for a befuddled and none-too-bright Aeromexico guest from Australia. The Mazatlan   people might or might not be sympathetic.  Depending on their mood, I would either exit Mexico or sink into a Sargasso Sea of insoluble problems. One of the chaps walked  off to the telex office and came back with a copy for me.

I rushed back  to the ticketing desk, suitcases clattering. This time I got a boarding pass and the  suitcases disappeared down the chute.

We rumbled skywards. With most bad shocks, the onset is sudden and there’s not   an hour of foreknowledge.  But with each minute in the air, I felt my whole body tensing and warping at the crisis to come. My imagination pictured hide-bound   officials unwilling to budge an inch.

I was like an adrenalin-filled animal poised for fight or flight, or the third choice often overlooked, frozen to the spot.

At Mazatlan I joined the shuffle to  the small and non-descript terminal. We formed a queue to immigration, passports in hand, plus, in my case,   the telex.

The room had its immigration counter on one side  and a booth opposite with tourist tat of the sombrero kind, and some duty-free liquor.

A young official took one look at my  telex and waved me aside  to be dealt with last. Every other person got processed and drifted out the door to the transit gate.

The young man  now gave my case his attention. He locked eyes with a colleague, they conferred, shrugged, and BANG! he brought down his EXIT stamp.  It was done so casually.  I couldn’t believe it.

I tried to sincerely thank the officials, but they seemed unimpressed. The elder made a gesture towards the liquor counter. I took the hint, raced over and returned with  a Black Label whisky which they palmed under the counter.

Now I was treading on air. A dead man had been brought back to euphoric life.  And so I returned to Los Angeles,   and headed to baggage collection. After the usual wait, my No 1 suitcase of old clothes  materialized. I waited for my treasure-filled No 2.   Everyone else got their bags and left. No more bags came out, especially not mine.

It’s human nature, after surviving one crisis, to get worked up about some new trifle, e.g. the fate of my plunder from Mexico City.  I fought back   waves of anger and self-pity.

At the missing-bag counter, they   said the bag was probably still in Mazatlan. It would turn up eventually and they would ring my Los Angeles hotel.

I knew better. The bottle of whisky had just been a down payment on the exit stamp. Some lucky stud in Mazatlan was now got up in  my Saville Row-quality suit and heading for the hacienda where a  senorita in a pale-blue satin nightie lay panting.

A homeless person took up residence under my hotel window and for two nights howled like wolf. I felt the same.

On the phone the lost-bag people gave the standard response, “Nothing yet”. On my final morning, with departure to Melbourne at 2pm, I took a call from the airport,  “Your bag has arrived, it’s here for collection.”

Well I never! It was a piece of cake to grab it, put the two bags down the Qantas chute, and make my uneventful return home.

Little remains to tell. The lingerie items and especially the sky-blue satin nightie, were all too  small  for my wife, who in any case was expanding through pregnancy. The new gentleman’s shoes   pinched and    I had to throw them out unworn.

I wanted to reward somehow the Aeromexico officials at Mexico City whose help had saved my bacon. I didn’t know their names but from their telex, one was called Nuno. I drafted a letter on best BRW letterhead to the director of public relations at Aeromexico, showering Mr Nuno with praise for unparalleled  customer service. I visualized Mr Nuno’s delight at this unexpected fillip to his personnel file.  After I posted it, a colleague pointed out that “Nuno” was just the telex operator.

Some months later, I thought   the new Mexican specs needed a check and  dropped in to a Bourke-St optician. He tested them and asked, “Where did you get them made?”

“Mexico City.”

“Well, the centres of the two lenses are out by nearly two centimetres. I’m surprised you haven’t gone cross-eyed.”

Now an optician might get such a measurement wrong by a millimeter or so, but   two centimetres was no accident. I imagined the Mexican opticians exchanging winks as I left their shop. Every patriotic Mexican resented  free-spending gringos profiting from their distress.

I deserved worse: the Acapulco junket was just a near disaster. And getting stuck in a Mexican-US no-man’s-land would have made a  better story. For all that, I was happy to get back to writing tax and accounting revelations.

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, “That’s Debatable – 60 Years In  Print”, is available here.

 

 

 

 

 


[i] Some high-up had posted Elvis a signed blank cheque which he could fill in for  the amount, provided he came and sang at the mogul’s daughter’s 15th birthday party. He declined the  offer, whereupon the mogul invented calumnies about him that led to riots and burning of Elvis records.

[ii] Durazo had brought in a 2% “voluntary” levy on policemen ‘s wages, ostensibly for his mausoleum.  The police budget was so straightened that cops had to pay for their own bullets and motorbike petrol. They in turn practised the “mordida” or private-enterprise fining of motorists.

Durazo’s reform-minded successor had the right idea, saying,“ The police cannot be an island of purity in a society like ours, but we will try to reduce corruption to the level of the rest of the country.” 

 

A Museum Makes an Exhibition of Itself

To be fair, there really is a lot of good stuff on display at the National Museum of Australia, but that value for the taxpayer dollar is hugely diminished by the distortions and sheer bastardry of the institution’s promotion of ‘stolen generation’ myths and slanders of self-sacrificing missionaries

NMA buildingCan a leopard change its spots? The National Museum of Australia (NMA) in Canberra can’t. From inception it was captured by the Left’s social justice warriors and they’re still cementing their long march through the joint today.

The original  design for a wall  included some irregular dots and bumps. As an in-joke, the NMA crowd organized some of the dots to read, in braille, “Forgive us our genocide”, and “Sorry”. These were  stealthy insults to then Prime Minister Howard, who was scheduled to open the NMA in 2001. The plot was exposed and the braille words were made illegible.

I happened to visit the NMA last weekend, including the Aboriginal rights display.

It includes a 1997 poster featuring a hideous caricature of Pauline Hanson with “Pauline’s Menu of Truth” concocted by the cross-cultural “Campfire Group” of Brisbane artists. The pompous NMA caption says the group

harnessed  satire as a means of addressing issues negatively affecting Indigenous people in order to maintain a dialogue and challenge the veracity of information disseminated as fact. Fish ‘n Chips is a commentary on the policies and personalities of the late 1990s.”

pauline poster IIThe NMA has adopted here the ABC trick of deriding and insulting Hanson (e.g. as “Redneck Emperor”) using the pretext of “comedy”, as in the ABC’s “Pauline Pantsdown” shtick or an earlier ABC stunt of broadcasting filthy and defamatory songs about her.[1]To spot the agenda, try to imagine the NMA letting rip with comedic and insulting exhibits from a right-wing group about Julia Gillard, Penny Wong or The Green’s Sarah Hanson-Young.

Nearby in the NMA show, one of the larger (if not largest) historical posters was from the Communist Party of Australia, circa 1982. It included the party’s red flag and the wording, “You’re on aboriginal land…Pay the rent…Land rights now!”

The NMA-written caption reads

“At the time of the 1967 referendum, the Communist Party of Australia gained support from indigenous rights campaigners for their vocal stance against racially discriminatory policies.” The poster was “donated by Mr Peter A Murphy, Sydney District Committee, Communist Party of Australia.”

Bravo the Communist Party of Australia, except  that its Soviet parent and financier had a  habit of murdering racial minorities en masse. Mongolians (100,000 out of 2.4m), Chechens (up to 200,000 or 33-50% of the total), Volga Germans (160,000  dead) and Cossacks spring   to mind.   I’m not saying this NMA caption was inaccurate, just that it seems a bit unbalanced –   other, larger groups – Christian lobbies for example – were also campaigning for Aboriginal causes.[2]

I took a few more steps and another NMA caption literally stopped me in my tracks.

NMA CPA poster“Missions and Reserves” was the heading. The text began with a quote from a Gracie Bond of Cherbourg’s Barambah Mission (Qld) dated 2008:

“Growing up on ‘the mish’ was hard and life was tough. The way my family were treated is heartbreaking – especially the kids. That anyone could think that missions were about ‘protecting’ or ‘benefiting’ Aboriginal people is unbelievable.”

The main text reads:

“Between 1860 and 1978 there were over 200 registered government-controlled missions and reserves across Australia. These were compounds established to contain or control Aboriginal people and restrict or prevent their movement across their traditional lands. Originally, missions differed from reserves in that they were established by church groups rather than secular authorities, but later the word ‘mission’ came to refer to both.

“Those living on missions had their lives controlled by government officials. This could result in residents being unable to leave the mission without written permission, having little or no control over their money, and having their mail censored or withheld, for example. Often they faced the fear of having their children removed. The mission experience was so pervasive that it affected lives and families well after the dismantling of missions in the late 1970s.” [My emphasis].

I am deeply suspicious about the NMA’s attempt to conflate government-run settlements (mainly oriented to welfare distribution) and church-run missions with a philanthropic emphasis on education, protection of vulnerable girls and boys, job-training and Christianising. This mixing-up of the two types implies that the worst paternalism and neglect at the government-run establishments (e.g. at Moore River Settlement in WA’s south-west) were just as prevalent in the church-run stations.

Also, note the sheer bastardry of the NMA in wiping off the generations of self-sacrifice and charity of those church stalwarts who dedicated their lives to Aboriginal protection and betterment. NMA people drawing their fat public service salaries in Canberra (and many of the staff seem to be on the gold-plated public service super schemes)[3] would find it hard to identify with earlier Australians living for  decades amid the heat, flies and isolation of the outback. These missionaries and helpers were ministering to people suffering frightful diseases and disadvantages. The indigenous girls rescued by missions were saved from  violent cultural practices such as rape by mature and old men, including sexual tearing of girls hardly beyond toddler stage.

Moreover, the NMA’s caption does its best to liken the missions to closed compounds (or even a mild form of concentration camp), supposedly forcing Aborigines to stay there despite the  alleged appalling conditions inflicted by monstrous white overlords and overladies.

What bunk! First, the norm was that groups drifted in seeking better food and lifestyle than the bush offered (especially during drought). Missions, often staffed by a  bare handful of people, were  keen  to return them to their own lands rather than have them idly consuming mission resources. Second, when a group felt like returning to their lands, they just went. Who or what could prevent them?

To the extent women and children were in locked dormitories at night, it was for protection against the male black uniapon IImarauders, especially young men whose normal sex partners were monopolized by polygamous elders, with powers of witchcraft and payback to enforce their authority.

The would-be young marauders included David Unaipon, 25 at the time and whose portrait in suitcoat, winged collar and tie now graces our $50 note.

I include this anecdote thanks to the wonderful researches of Joe Lane in Adelaide, who   spent  years patiently re-keying and posting on-line at www.firstsources.info hand-written  early documents from SA’s missions and archives.

On May 27, 1898, the superintendent of Point McLeay Mission on Lake Alexandrina, Thomas Sutton, wrote to the Rev. Dalton, secretary of the Aborigines’ Friends’ Association in Adelaide, the mission’s agent. Sutton’s letter concerned Unaipon, who was Point McLeay-born:

“We have had a rather startling experience with some of our young men, and I regret very much that David Unaipon has been the ringleader of it all.

Last Monday night, about 11 o’clock or later, voices were heard in the dining room of the Dormitory but before it could be ascertained who they were, they made their escape. I set to work at once to investigate the matter, which resulted in proving most conclusively that David was the leader of three others, viz., Willie Butcher, Pat Williams and Mansell Tripp; first of all David persuaded P. Williams to leave his bed in the young men’s room to join them, then he tried to persuade Tom Lawson to do so but he refused; and subsequently led the above band; we found that he had a key that would open the young women’s door – (that is why I have sent for patent locks) – and if they had not been surprised and hindered, I don’t know what would have happened.

“I can only hope that no entrance has been previously made. I tried them on Wednesday morning and sentenced David to 6 months banishment from the station and from subsequent revelation am going to make it 12 months; and the other two who, I believe, were foolishly led into it but did not go to the extent of the others, I gave them the option of one month’s work without pay or 3 months’ banishment. I think they will choose the former. It has been a great worry to me especially the part that David played, but I believe the prompt punishment will be a good lesson to others.”

Sutton’s discipline didn’t prove very effective, as Unaipon and his co-conspirator simply camped just outside the station boundary. Three weeks later (June 18), Sutton was writing again to Dalton:

“D. Unaipon & W. Butcher I regret to say that these two fellows are now camping on the reserve just outside our ground; if we cannot get control of reserve, it is no use trying to carry out our regulations; the natives will only laugh at us.”

This Unaipon episode is just-by-the-way.[4] The missions generally had far more serious issues to deal with. For example, a prime purpose of many missions was to save children from infanticide, or save half-caste girls from the vilest prostitution,  leading to  rapid death from disease.

As mentioned, the NMA caption starts with the 2008 quote from Gracie Bond from Cherbourg, which is now a self-governing Aboriginal community (population 1300) three hours’ drive north-west of Brisbane. In that very year – though the NMA doesn’t mention it – Cherbourg was so dysfunctional that one in ten inhabitants was bashed severely enough to be recorded on police statistics. (The next year the rate fell to “only” 7%). Police rated 60% of the assaults in the “serious” category. The rate of hospitalization from assaults was more than 30 times the  Queensland average.

As for the children in Cherbourg, at least one in 20 at that time were  involved in substantiated notifications of being at risk of harm.[5]

I’ll repeat Gracie Bond’s allegation in the NMA but now in this black-on-black Cherbourg context:

That anyone could think that missions were about ‘protecting’ or ‘benefiting’ Aboriginal people is unbelievable.”

Moving along the NMA walkway, one gets the full “stolen generation” message, including that children were still being removed and traumatised as late as 1970, to be “better off raised as whites”, alleges the NMA. In other words, Prime Ministers Chifley, Menzies, Holt and Gorton presided over racist child-stealing regimes (federally); as did such decent state individuals as WA Premiers Bert Hawke (uncle of Bob) and Dave Brand (Lib).[6]

In Queensland the policy was to corral Aborigines away from the white community, not to integrate them. From 1908 to 1971, separations of Aboriginal children in  Queensland from their parents averaged four per yearand that was for all reasons, including neglect, incapacity etc.[7]

In South Australia the law explicitly forbade child removals without parental and judicial consent. The Victorian government from 1996-2003 ran six investigations seeking “stolen generation” evidence and individuals and found none, other than 300 informal adoptions and fosterings-out in the 1960s, which earlier governments had discovered, condemned and corrected.

In the Northern Territory, two “stolen generation” individuals sued for compensation, these being the best examples out of 550 prospective cases that phalanxes of lawyers could turn up. Both claimants lost – one case had involved possible parental consent and the other, re Peter Gunner, evinced the horrific evidence that his mother, Topsy, had abandoned the baby Peter on an ants’ nest or stuffed him down a rabbit hole, the finer details vary.

In  NSW, of 2600 children removed between 1912 and 1968, two-thirds were simply teenagers boarded out for apprenticeships (as also occurred with white teenagers) and the other third were largely welfare cases, such as orphans, destitutes and abused children. The NSW cases that involved weakly ambiguous support for the “stolen” thesis totaled three persons.[8]

The NMA display strongly features PM Kevin Rudd’s 2008 apology to the “stolen generation”, in which he said,

“We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians. A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.”

Tragically, since Rudd’s 2008 pledge, the number of indigenous children in out-of-home care has actually risen by two-thirds, to 15,455, as of June, 2015, such that these children represent 35% of all those in out-of-home-care  and 5.25% of all indigenous children – and the rate is rising. Even SBS TV wonders if there are more of these removals now than at “any other time in Australian history”.

Historian Keith Windschuttle estimates the total removals nationally (for all reasons) from 1880-1970 at about 8250, an annual rate of about 90 that is totally dwarfed by removals today.[9] The NMA could mount quite an interesting display on this contrast, if it chose.

I wasn’t intending a critique of the NMA, which is chaired by business man David Jones (VGI Partners; Kudos Energy) and  run by Dr Mathew Trinca, costs taxpayers $41m a year and gets  1.35m visitors annually
. Just for the rcord, Trinca had this to say about his institution when interviewed by the ABC:

“The one thing good about the cultural institutions of Canberra and elsewhere around the country is that they can be sources that people can trust.”

I just wanted to enjoy myself before my plane took off for Melbourne. Instead, I found myself choking on the NMA’s hotbeds of identity politics, notwithstanding that most of the NMA stuff is pretty good.

I notice that conservative columnist and Institute of Public Affairs board member Janet Albrechtsen is on the NMA’s council, along with gender-Valkyrie and journalism academic Catharine Lumby.  Surely Albrechstsen needs to rock the NMA boat a bit?

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, “That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print” is available here.


[1] “Before the Chamber Judge, [Hanson] contended that the broadcast material gave rise to imputations that she is a homosexual, a prostitute, involved in unnatural sexual practices, associated with the Ku Klux Klan, a man and/or a transvestite and involved in or party to sexual activities with children. The [ABC] essentially contended that the material amounted merely to vulgar abuse and was not defamatory.”

[2] Another caption does refer to “academics, Christians, trade unions, peace activists, women’s suffrage groups…A broad range of political interests and parties, including the Australian Liberal and Labor parties, the Communist Party of Australia and the Socialist Party of Australia, also offered support.” Note that ‘Christians’ are listed second behind ‘academics’.

[3] NMA expenses last year for the gold-plated defined-benefit and the defined-contribution super were roughly the same.

[4] Put Unaipon’s shenanigans down to youthful indiscretion. Wiki says he was later employed by the Aborigines’ Friends’ Association as a deputationer, in which role he travelled and preached widely in seeking support for the Point McLeay Mission

[5] A child involved in multiple notifications was counted only as one case

[6] I was a reporter in Perth from 1958-69 and from a household active on Indigenous causes, but recall no such allegation of child-stealing ever being raised, let alone creating any controversy.

[7] This data is from the Qld Govt’s own submission to the “Stolen Generation” inquiry.

[8] Details from Keith Windschuttle’s “The Stolen Generations 1881-2008” or my “Pocket Windschuttle” summarizing his 660-page book.

[9] Ronald Wilson’s Bringing Them Home report (1997) implied up to 100,000 forced removals of half-caste children. Rudd’s apology halved that to “up to 50,000”. Neither cited any documentation for their wild estimates.

COMMENTS [8]

  1. pgang

    Years ago I visited a friend who was pastor at a very old mission. At that stage it had already been taken over by the authorities, and it was falling inevitably into decay. Anyway he told me a harrowing tale of an adventure he had recently had. A young man had been murdered (I can’t remember the details), and his tribe or family were rampaging and the situation was quickly fomenting. The police and school teachers were under siege in their compound, frightened for their lives. In desperation, a policeman phoned the pastor to ask if there was anything he could to do help. With extraordinary courage, this young family man left his house and went amongst the crowd, and found the dead youth’s mother or grandmother, who was in mourning. He started praying with her, and eventually the crowd calmed down and joined in with reverence, then dispersed. That is an example of what the missions did for these communities by bringing the truth into their lives and displacing their dreadful superstitions.

  2. joelane94@hotmail.com

    The meanings of words change: ‘late’, in the nineteenth century, didn’t necessarily mean ‘passed away’, simply that the former holder of an office or position was no longer in that position. ‘Removed’ meant’ moved’, or ‘transferred’, or ‘went from/to’. A policeman might be ‘removed’ from one place to another. Children ‘removed’ – especially if they were fourteen or fifteen – may have been apprenticed, or engaged, at some place away from their family. A hundred years ago, what we would now regard as children were employed at far younger ages: my grand-father went to work at nine in the 1880s, which wasn’t uncommon. School leaving age before 1914 was twelve, and in fact even in the 1950s, fourteen was the school leaving age. Old-age pensions weren’t available until around 1908. Unemployment benefits were unknown before the Depression. Single mother benefits didn’t come in until about 1971. Times certainly do change.

  3. Alistair

    Tony, Your articles are always so brilliant they make me feel ill!
    The problem is these ignorant ….. know that they must do everything in their power to vilify everyone from the past in order to misdirect away from the REAL crisis that is happening today, courtesy of poorly thought out self-determination policies of Nugget (and thats pretty much how I think of him) Coombs and his ilk. During the missionary period there was zero youth suicide, zero child sex abuse, low levels of Aboriginal incarceration, zero phoetal alcohol syndrome, low levels of domestic violence, low levels of drug and alcohol addiction, and on and on. The missionaries simply would not tolerate it. In these “enlightened” times though, the progressive government bureaucrats not only tolerate all these, but supress any disenting voices vilify anyone who attempts to correct the record.

Inconvenient Truths for a Gore Groupie

Inconvenient Truths for a Gore Groupie

The literary editor of The Australian’s weekend Review section is a gifted journalist, but it seems he couldn’t grasp a single key element about Al Gore and climate profiteers if a polar bear fell on him. In an effort to foil an otherwise decent newspaper’s promotion of piffle, here’s a remedial primer

typing underwater IIWollongong University senior lecturer in journalism Dr David Blackall lamented in a recent journal article  about the ignorance and bias of  journalists reporting on the global warming scare. The Australian is the country’s most rigorous newspaper by far when it comes to climate reporting, its environment reporter, Graham Lloyd, doing a masterful job in covering even-handedly  the controversies.

So how and why does The Australian elsewhere make itself a laughing stock as an advocate of climate ignorance? There’s more than enough climate drivel  being daily pumped out by the Fairfax press and ABC.[1] So why does The Australian allow itself to sink to the level of addled and withering former broadsheets and the national broadcaster’s taxpayer-funded alarmist collective?

The media’s handling of climate stories is hardly a trivial issue. Britain’s leading alarmist, Lord Stern, is calling for $US90 trillion spending to cut CO2 emissions. In the Third World, the lives of countless millions of peasants will remain nasty, unhealthy and short as we deny them the life-giving benefits of cheap, coal-fired power. In Australia, as Liberal MHR Craig Kelly correctly points out, some among the elderly poor will die from the cold because they can’t afford to pay their power bills.

Turn now to the most recent Weekend Australian and its arty insert Review section.

Suppose a section editor at the News Corp publication wrote that Hitler invaded Poland in 1959, D-Day took place in June, 1964, and Hitler hanged himself in his bunker in 1965. Surely someone, whether a junior sub or a top-level manager, would notice at proof stage and prevent such gross ignorance being published? No such supervision occurred last Saturday, when an equivalent howler on climate made it into print.

The matter was  under the by-line of Stephen Romei, literary editor, who only a fortnight earlier was encouraging his book reviewer Claire Corbett to froth that

“for the average person in the affluent West, soft drinks pose a far deadlier threat than terrorists.”

This time it was Romei himself who bent a shoulder to the wheel of ignorance in his review of Al Gore’s latest scare film, An Inconvenient Sequel, writes in his second paragraph, “Perhaps this film will, like its 1986 predecessor, An Inconvenient Truth, be a slow-burner. Made for $US15 million, that film made $US50m, won an Oscar and delivered Gore the Nobel Peace Prize…”

As anyone even slightly acquainted with the climate debate would know, Gore’s first film was not released in 1986 but 20 years later, in 2006.  A typo on the date would be forgivable, but date typos don’t involve three wrong digits out of four. Note also that, within a single  sentence, he peddles a second error. No-one “delivered” to Gore “the Nobel Peace Prize”. That 2007 award was shared 50:50 between Gore and the IPCC as an institution.

That mistake is not a hanging offence – shared winners of (genuine) Nobel Prizes typically ignore the “shared” element.[2] But in context, Romei is writing like a Gore fan-boy who can’t be bothered googling the facts.

Romei is actually proud of his ignorance of the climate debate. “I’m not going to pretend to know how right or wrong Gore is about climate change,” he writes. So why is he  reviewing the film rather than giving the  job, ideally, to a pair of expert reviewers with opposing viewpoints? Immediately, in self-contradiction, Romei then announces that Gore’s new film is “not a polemic, not a rant, not dominated by political dogma or personal anger.”

A conscientious reviewer would at least have revisited Gore’s 2006 Inconvenient Truth, which was indeed a polemic, a rant, and dominated by political dogma, not to mention its progenitor’s commercial interests and profit making imperatives.  Look up the judgement of Burton J. in the UK High Court. His Worship noted nine significant errors, including Gore’s utter nonsense that Pacific Island populations had been evacuated to NZ to escape their drowning isles. Because UK school education must eschew political propaganda (our Australian school system offers no such safeguards), the judge ordered the film not be shown to UK children without the teacher first alerting them to the film’s mistakes and its “partisan political views” of a “one-sided” nature.

Gore’s snake-oil ethics were such that he never re-edited to correct the film’s errors or issued his own errata. Australian teachers have continued to screen its error-laden propaganda to their captive audiences of millions of Australian children.

Romei ignores Gore’s  hypocrisy in telling the hoi polloi to cut their emissions while the failed presidential contender’s Nashville mansion – one of three –  uses as much electricity to heat its pool, as six normal houses in total. This palace in total consumes 21 times the energy of a normal US home. Solar panels account for only 6% of the power used. Gore has also made hundreds of millions with his   Big Green energy trading and through the 2013 sale of his “Current TV” channel to the Qataris’ Al Jazeera, who paid for it with their carbon-steeped oil revenues.

As for whether An Inconvenient Sequel is a rant, I haven’t seen it but I have watched the trailer (“This is climate  change,” Gore lies about random storms).  I also sat through and recorded his 75-minute Melbourne lecture last July 13, publishing a 6000-word transcript to alert the global community to Gore’s fake claims and phony science. To Gore, any and all wild weather is “climate change” happening before our very  eyes,  notwithstanding that the IPCC itself, and numerous recent studies, have found that extreme weather damage is on a falling trend.[3]  Gore is ignorant, a liar or both.

But Romei lacks the energy or smarts to run a check on the readily available studies that refute Gore’s claims. Romei writes:

It’s at ground – and sea and sky – level that a disturbing thriller movie unfolds. We see devastating  natural disasters, including Typhoon Haiyan in The Philippines in 2013, which killed more than 6000 people, and unusual weather events such as ‘rain bombs’ and flooding  in US states such as Florida. Australia wades in, too, with widespread flooding in Victoria[4]…Gore believes such wild weather is due to, or exacerbated by, climate change.

Gore  also suckers Romei in to the fairytale about Georgetown, Texas, as poster-city for supposedly 100% renewable energy.  Georgetown draws its electricity from the Texas grid  powered by 44% natural gas, 29% coal, 12% nuclear and a mere 16% renewables.

By now the public – Romei excepted – is cynical about Gore’s perpetual wolf-crying. Romei is perplexed that the cinema he attended  was “near-empty”. Again, if he’d done any homework, he’d know that the film bombed in its US opening, ranking  15th on its first US week,  or a mere $US5000 per screen.

Getting back to Romei’s initial howler about Gore’s “1986” first film, one has to wonder what Romei believes went on in climate between 1986 and Gore’s 2007 award of half a Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe, like Einstein and Stephen Hawking,  Romei has found mathematical warps in space-time. But let me do him a favour with the actual climate time-line for the modern period. Romei and his fellow climate-media kids  can pin the timeline to their office cubicle partitions as a handy reference.

January 1975: Because the scientific consensus of that era feared a  global cooling phase, PM Gough Whitlam demanded a report from the Australian Academy of Science on the potential cooling threat to Australian agricultural output.  The Academy – which at that time, but not now, avoided political activism – reported in 1976 that climate changed so slowly (over many centuries) that there was really nothing to worry about.[5]

June 23, 1988: the global warming scare was launched in testimony to a US Senate committee by James Hansen of NASA.[6] To make the congressional session more  dramatic, Hansen’s Democrat ally, Senator Tim Wirth, scheduled the hearing on a day forecast to be the hottest in Washington that summer. In addition, Wirth sabotaged the air-conditioning the previous night to ensure the TV cameras could show everyone sweating in the heat.

1988: Maurice Strong, executive director of the UN Environmental Program, helped get the IPCC set up as a combination of UNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation. Strong also organised the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, which woke up the West’s politicians to a new, feel-virtuous campaign involving vast potential tax inflows.[7] In 2007, while investigating corruption in the Iraq Food for Oil program, the FBI came across a cheque to Strong for $US998,000 by a corrupt  South Korean business man via a Jordanian bank. Strong hastened to the first plane for Beijing, China having no extradition formalities with the US, and lived there until his death in 2015 at 86, the cheque still unexplained.

1999: To make its warming story stick, the IPCC needed to show that 20th-century warming was ‘unprecedented’, but the Medieval Warming Period (when Greenland grew grapes) was a fly in the IPCC ointment. A then-youthful scientist, Michael Mann, constructed a 1000-year temperature record using proxies such as tree rings. This graph, the infamously inaccurate ‘hockey stick’, erased both the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age (1550-1850) that followed.

The IPCC featured the Mann chart seven times in its 2001 report, the graph becoming for a while the virtual logo and icon of the organisation. But Mann refused all requests to make his data and algorithms public for verification. In the IPCC’s 2007 report, the hitherto famous ‘hockey stick’ was downgraded to one mention of its controversial nature. In 2017 Mann was still hiding his data, even in defiance of a Canadian court ruling last July that it be provided to defendants in a libel suit Mann himself had  initiated. In Washington, where another libel suit against columnist Mark Steyn has been bogged down down for years, he has been no less coy about revealing the secrets of his climate modelling.

2004: In response to requests for his original data, Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia, co-creator and custodian of the HADCRUT global surface temperature record replied with the classic line, “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” After also advising colleagues to unlawfully delete official emails subject to Freedom of Information requests, Jones later confessed that his raw data no longer existed because he hadn’t stored and backed up the originals.[8]

2007: The IPCC Fourth Report was published claiming warming would melt the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 and deprive billions on the sub-continent of fresh water. The claim was based on a chat between a supposed glacier expert, Syen Hasnain, and a magazine reporter. The relevant page of the IPCC report now contains no less than nine “erratas”, even conceding dud arithmetic. When a genuine glacier scientist, Vijay Raina, challenged the 2035 claim, notiong that melting would actually take many centuries, IPCC chair and dirty old man Rajendra Pachauri derided him for ‘voodoo science’. Pachauri then appointed Syed Hasnain, the original source of the eroneous 2035 claim, to his think-tank and secured millions of dollars in grants to study the faked melting-glacier crisis.

2009: The release of the Climategate emails showed top members of the climate-alarm industry conspiring to keep dissenting science out of the peer-reviewed literature, even boasting of getting a journal editor sacked for publishing such papers. While they publicly denied significant flaws in their warming narrative, they admitted in private that the flaws were real. They boasted of their shoddy practices, such as “using Mike’s (Mann’s) Nature trick… to hide the decline” (i.e. concealing inconvenient results generated by their tree-ring  temperature proxy series).

2010: Unwilling to further endorse the IPCC’s credibility, the InterAcademy Council (the executive composed of 11 national science bodies) ordered an audit of the IPCC.  It urged Pachauri to quit but he refused. The audit found “significant shortcomings in each [i.e. every] major step of IPCC’s assessment process”.

The audit results were swept under the rug by the Australian Academy of Science, notwithstanding that its then-president Kurt Lambeck, was a prominent member of the international audit.[9]

November 14, 2010: Ottmar Edenhofer, then a top-level co-chair of IPCC Working Group 111, is quoted by the Zuricher Zeitung:

Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

February 3, 2015: Christiana Figueres, then executive secretary of the UN body governing the IPCC, announces,

This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.

Presumably, Figueres has some sort of socialist or world-government model in mind.

February 24, 2015: IPCC chair (2002-2015) Pachauri, 74, quits abruptly on being charged by New Delhi police with multiple counts of sexual stalking and harassment involving a 29-year-old female employee. Pachauri denies guilt, initially claiming that hundreds of smutty texts to the fixation of his frustrated affections were written by a hacker who somehow took over his emails, text-messaging  and WhatsApp accounts. The case has been winding its way through Indian court  procedures ever since. He had claimed in 2010 that his IPCC chair work was honorary and that all his incidental TERI think-tank earnings went to TERI, not to his own pocket. But he told a court  hearing this month that the charges had destroyed his personal earning capacity as a climate guru, which had previously run at $US376,000  a year.

1998-early 2017: The establishment fought to deny any “hiatus” or pause in global  temperatures was occurring, and retrospectively “adjusted” various past temperature series to create the look and feel, if not the substance, of ongoing warming. They also adduced more than 60 explanations for the failure of their models to replicate actual temperatures. Their rearguard action collapsed a month ago with the publication of a paper by Ben Santer, Michael Mann and other leaders of the orthodoxy,  “Causes of differences in model and satellite tropospheric warming rate”.[10]

2017: Because the narrative of sharply rising global temperatures has failed, alarmists scientists have switched their narrative to “extreme weather” and its alleged hazards. This new story flies in the face of the IPCC’s own SREX special report of 2012 on extreme weather, which conceded that warming could well reduce extremes, rather than increase them. Further, it would be 20-30 years before any climate effects on extreme weather would even be detectable against natural climate variability.[11] The 2013 IPCC report broadly endorsed those findings.

Alarmist scientist Dr Andy Pitman is now claiming that post-2011 research has made the 2013 IPCC findings obsolete.[12] The definitive work on extreme-weather insurance losses is by Dr Roger Pielke Jr., showing a halving of disaster costs as a percent of GDP in the past 27 years. If Pitman wants to claim that Pielke’s work has been rebutted, he should put up or shut up.

If I may conclude with some advice for The Australian:

1/ Ensure your reporters covering climate have some background and expertise in the subject, and a willingness to fact-check purportedly scientific claims

2/ Ensure the climate copy of  loose cannons like Stephen Romei is vetted against howlers such as last week’s issue, and

3/ When the likes of Romei write that they have no idea about distinguishing climate facts from fictions, believe them.

Tony Thomas’ book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here

 


[1] The ABC Science Show on June 24, to be fair, ran a reasonable debate between warmist and sceptic scientists, after years of suppressing  sceptic views

[2] Our Nobel-winning astronomer Brian Schmidt, for example, shared the 2011 Nobel for Physics with two other scientists.

[3] After normalization to account for more sizeable assets at risk in coastal zones, for example.

[4] Romei seems to believe Victoria never had floods before 1940

[5]We conclude that there is no evidence that the world is now on the brink of a major climatic change. There is ample evidence that the world’s climate has changed widely during the geological past, and while there is every expectation that it will continue to change in the future, the time scale of these changes is in the range of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years rather than decades or centuries.”

It cannot be too strongly emphasised that year-to-year variability is an inherent feature of global and regional climates and that…large fluctuations leading to severe droughts and floods are bound to occur from time to time.” (My emphasis)

[6] Hansen later compared coal freight trains to trains carrying victims to  extermination camps.

[7] As Strong said at Rio, “It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class— involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work place air-conditioning, and suburbanhousing — are not sustainable.”

[8] Only Jones’ ‘adjusted’ data remained

[9] The Academy gave the damning audit results no publicity at the time but made a glib mention of them in its annual report seven months later,  “The report released on 30 August 2010 concluded that the process employed by the IPCC had been successful overall but recommended a range of reforms particularly in relation to management structures to strengthen procedures.”

[10] “We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.”

  1. From the SREX: For the next twenty to thirty years, man-made warming effects on climate extremes will be swamped by natural climate variability;
  2. the man-made warming may even be beneficial by reducing the number of extreme events; and
  3. neither IPCC models nor emissions forecasting are good enough to forecast extreme weather events up to the end of the 21st century.

[12] Pitman :  “…a lot of that work that has come out since 2013 has clearly established that heatwaves are getting longer, more intense and more frequent. Rainfall is becoming more extreme, and there is ongoing research looking at whether tropical cyclones, for example, are intensifying.”

Amazing! A Solid Journalism Academic

TONY THOMAS

The adage that ‘those who can’t do teach’ might have been uttered with our universities’ media faculties in mind. There is at least one exception, however, a Wollongong lecturer who gets students to check facts, especially about climate-change claims. Sadly, he is retiring

blackall smallCan you even imagine it! A  journalism lecturer  shows students how to fact-check the climate alarmists’ wild claims and doom-laden forecasts. And he publishes a peer-reviewed commentary, Environmental  Reporting in a Post Truth World,analysing how the media ignores research that runs contrary to the alarmist narrative.

Lordy! How can this fellow get away with it in our all-pervading Left-alarmist academic establishment?

Meet Dr David Blackall (above), senior lecturer in journalism at Wollongong University. His paper is in the journal Asia Pacific  Media Educator. But since he’s in the process of retiring after 25 years with the university, he can rock the boat without fearing for his career prospects.[1]

“I’m packing up my office right now,” he tells Quadrant Online. “I haven’t had any backlash, even though the climate debate seems to be getting increasingly toxic and nasty. Younger academics can’t call out the fake news on climate like I can, because they’d risk their jobs and mortgages.”

The Wollongong Bachelor of Journalism course takes in about 80 entrants a year, plus others from an allied course, Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies. Blackall’s first degree is a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture), and he taught senior HSC agriculture, biology, physics and chemistry for ten years into the 1980s. This broad science background advantages him over non-science journalism academics, and over scientists so over-specialised that they miss the big picture.

Blackall is an ardent conservationist of biodiversity. He has his own 16ha wildlife  refuge reserve ‘Nadjunuga’ at Cambewarra  Mountain, previously a university field station, which he has managed for nearly 40 years. He has also taught and practiced investigative journalism, and last year co-authored an FOI-based study in the Lawyers Alliance journal Precedent on the Ponzi-style fraud and collapse of the Trio Capital Group during 2003-10.

The Blackall Post Truth paper has been re-blogged by leading European sceptic Pierre Gosselin, who asks, “Would it be so difficult for journalists to actually seek scientific verification of their claims before publishing? Or is the pursuit of real-world scientific confirmation too much to expect from journalists and media sources bent on advancing an agenda in this ‘Post Truth World’?”

Blackall writes that journalism students can be defensive about climate because they want careers in corporate media where the “greenhouse warming” narrative holds sway. “Contrary but accurate science journalism  must be generated for balancing societal discourse and demonstrating the Earth’s natural variability,” he writes. Journalists fail to verify facts, including that polar bear populations are increasing, contrary to what he calls the ‘emotional propaganda’ and ‘fake news’ of alarmists.

To deflect being labelled a ‘climate denier’, he gives students assignments on hypotheticals such as the impact of deforestation on clouds and climate. “In previous epochs, CO2 levels were around 400ppm, as they are now, but never in human history has the Earth’s surface been as denuded,” he writes. He cites a study this year that CO2 emissions from land-use changes –  such as tree harvesting and clearing for shifting  agriculture – have been substantially under-estimated.

“However, as a journalism educator, I also recognise that my view, along with others, must be open to challenge both within the scientific community and in the court of public opinion,” he continues.

“It is my responsibility to provide my students with the research skills they need to question – and test – the arguments put forward by key players in any debate.  Given the complexity of the climate warming debate, and the contested nature of the science that underpins both sides, this will provide challenges well into the future.  It is a challenge our students should relish, particularly in an era when they are constantly being bombarded with ‘fake news’ and so-called ‘alternative facts’.

“To do so, they need to understand the science. If they don’t, they need to at least understand  the key players in the debate and what is motivating them. They need to be prepared to question these people and to look beyond their arguments to the agendas that may be driving them. If they don’t, we must be reconciled to a future in which ‘fake news’ becomes the norm.”

He alerts his students to fake climate pictures, such as the use by Reuters of a 2010 photo-shopped image of two Adelie penguins on a block of melting Antarctic ice. The same faked picture (below) had also been used in 2013 to illustrate arctic warming (notwithstanding that penguins aren’t found in the Arctic). He also directs students to look into the  dubious ‘pause-busting” paper by Tom Karl of NOAA, timed to influence the 2015 Paris climate summit. “There are many agendas at play, with careers at stake,” he says.

penguins on ice

Blackall’s paper queries why journalists fail to report the widening gap between climate models’ temperature forecasts and actual temperatures. Similarly, they don’t report the non-acceleration of sea-level rise, a big problem for the alarmist narrative.

His main argument is that human-caused greenhouse gases are not the main source of climate change, as claimed by the climate establishment.  The flat-lining of global temperatures in the past two decades despite massive CO2 increases is an obvious problem for the orthodox narrative, he says. There are multiple interacting and little-understood natural causes, but computer modelling is privileged over other relevant disciplines, such as geology. Alarmists play down the major uncertainties and use ‘consensus’ as a culture of gatekeeping  against contrary views. “Then, and dangerously, dissenters are silenced so that chosen and ‘necessary’ discourses arrive in journals, conferences and boardrooms,” he writes.

Blackall outed himself as a climate sceptic nearly a decade ago. In a 2010 paper also published in Asia Pacific Media Educator   (“Anti-terrorism, climate change and ‘dog whistle’ journalism”) he wrote of the compliant mainstream news media fanning fears on behalf of governments about imaginary climate catastrophes.[2]

Educators of journalists need to give students double skills – of integrity and fearlessness, plus the ability to maintain employability in the mainstream media, he wrote. The students need to become ‘highly adept chameleons’ to further their careers. They are given ‘hypotheticals’ requiring checking narratives against science literature. But the drafts must also be written conservatively. “No newspaper would run anything too removed from the dominant view on climate variability,” Blackall continued.

The media seemed unable to do routine internet searching to act as a ‘watchdog’ on government. This was reflected in its ‘advocacy journalism’ about the 2009 Copenhagen summit and downplaying of the Climategate email leaks, he wrote. [3]

In this paper he was prescient in highlighting the corrupted temperature  data relied on for the alarmist narrative and modelling –  including data from non-existent weather stations and stations affected by the non-CO2 urban heat island effects. In contrast, rural stations typically showed decades of consistent temperatures, he said. “News media have failed to explain or examine  these simple anomalies,” he complained. He also instanced floods being blamed by media on climate change when  the immediate cause was irresponsible local activities upstream, including tree-felling and mismanagement of dams.

He argued that without acutely educated scepticism, journalism graduates fall prey to the seductive and political tune of the dog whistle, such as believing the myth of a ‘climate consensus’.

Blackall’s arguments can be verified by  journalists’ climate ignorance in their use of the nonsense propaganda phrase “carbon pollution” when they actually mean “CO2 emissions”. Not one in a hundred journalists who quote the so-called “97% consensus” on climate alarm would be aware that the John Cook (UQ) study actually found that only 0.3% of 12,000 studies supported the IPCC line that more than half the past 60 years’ warming is human-caused.

Blackall’s critique of journalists can be tested against The Age (Garry Maddox) and The Australian(Rosemary Neill) stories last weekend about Al Gore marketing his climate-alarm film An Inconvenient Sequel in Melbourne.  Neither thought it worth mentioning that anti-emissions campaigner Gore inhabits a 20-room house (one of his three homes) whose pool heating alone uses as much electricity as six average US homes, and whose total electricity consumption is that of 21 normal residences.[4] The Age’s Maddox did not mention that Gore and his business partner from Goldman Sachs, according to Forbes, made nearly $US220m in carbon trading profits from 2008-2011.

The Australian’s Neill commendably reported the accusations of Gore’s enrichment via green schemes, and unlike Maddox, she drew attention to the UK High Court’s 2007 finding of nine scientific and other errors in Gore’s first film. The court also ruled that the film’s partisan stance made it inappropriate for UK school children unless accompanied by balancing  material. Neill should have queried why Gore had not corrected the nine errors or issued an errata, instead permitting the flawed film to mislead further millions of students. The film even asserts in its ignorance that some Pacific nations “have all had to evacuate to New Zealand.”

The Australian, via ex-ABC chair Maurice Newman, reported that Gore’s opposite number, top US sceptic blogger Marc Morano, was in Melbourne concurrently with Gore and promoting his own filmClimate Hustle. The Age and the ABC ignored Morano (while the ABC gave Gore blanket coverage) but Andrew Bolt (Herald Sun) gave Morano a prominent interview.

Dr Blackall’s retirement is a loss to journalist education. Let’s hope there are others like him out there, with the guts, smarts and integrity to take on the “kindergarten science” of climate alarm.

Tony Thomas’ book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here.


[1] He was previously an investigative documentary filmmaker with SBS, and an independent filmmaker, to which he is returning in retirement.

[2] Co-authored with Seth Tenkate, formerly of the NSW Transport Workers’ Union.

[3] This paper includes citing a 2009 ABC blog post by ABC political editor Chris Uhlmann – soon deleted – as follows:

“Climate science we are endless told is ‘settled’ … but to make the perfectly reasonable  point that science is never settled risks being branded a ‘sceptic’ or worse a ‘denier’…one of those words like ‘racist’ which is deliberately designed to gag debate…You can be branded a denier if you accept the problem and question the solutions.”

[4] Only 6% of Gore’s home’s electricity is from solar power.

COMMENTS [9]

  1. Bill Martin

    And in spite of all that, so many otherwise seemingly intelligent, rational people – including at least one QOL reader – continue to be obsessed with the false narrative. It boggles the mind!

  2. Ian MacDougall


    Blackall’s paper queries why journalists fail to report the widening gap between climate models’ temperature forecasts and actual temperatures. Similarly, they don’t report the non-acceleration of sea-level rise, a big problem for the alarmist narrative.

    Why should that be a ‘problem?’ Sea level has been trending upwards in a sawtooth pattern since 1993. Some years it rises sharply; some years not so sharply. But the overall trend is ever upward, indicating continuing ice and snow melt, and a global warming bad for coal and other established business.
    Journalists’ failure to report this or that is a problem for journalism; not for science.
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    • en passant

      MacBot,
      Still quoting the same tired mantra you always Omm! Omm!, but never answering the questions concerning the destination you seek?

      If CO2 is such a problem, what is the ideal concentration you would like? I know you cannot, will not, answer as that would provide the climate realists with an objective target to investigate and demolish – and that would NEVAAA do, would it? The answer is that it is easy to prove that we NEED at least 2,000 – 4,000ppm of CO2 to help the planet, plant-life and species generation.

      If increasing temperatures (by a horrendous tipping point of 2 degrees Kelvin {0.63%}) are is such a problem, what is the ideal global average temperature you would like? I know you cannot, will not answer as that would provide the climate realists with an objective target to investigate and demolish – and that would NEVAAA do, would it?
      The answer is that it is easy to prove that we NEED an increased temperature of at least 2 degrees Kelvin for life to flourish and for people to love more comfortably. This increase would help the planet, plant-life and species generation.

      We had a 3-day storm that required me to turn on the coal-fired electric air conditioners for the whole period and observe it through the panoramic plate glass window just metres. I have no idea how much wonderful life-giving CO2 we pumped out, but I hope it was a lot. Curiously, the sea was still where it was before the storm, and just where it was 47 years ago when I took a photo on the same spot. If there has been a rise at all, it is unnoticeable, which YOU, unfortunately, are not.

      Finally, I note in another pseudo-science alarm that we are in the middle of the 7th mass species extinction with 1 million species becoming extinct each year. Complete rubbish, naturally, but you can no doubt name five of them? No, I thought not. I wonder how many NEW species came into being last year?
      You really are an annoying racist troll, but if you did not exist, we (the only friends you have, except the Archangel Gabriel and some cattle you talk to) would have to invent you.

      As it is 300 degrees Kelvin today (plus or minus – 0.5K) the air conditioners are off.

  3. ianl

    Since 1807:

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/tide-gauge-sea-level

    Hard geological evidence dates trivial sea level rise from at least 12,000 years BP

    Tide gauges have had GPS chips attached for 20 years now to help account for isostasy.

    Next !! …

    • Ian MacDougall

      “Tide gauges may also move vertically with the region as a result of post-glacial rebound, tectonic uplift or crustal subsidence. This greatly complicates the problem of determining global sea level change from tide gauge data. Differences in global sea level estimates from tide gauge data usually reflect the investigator’s approach in considering these vertical crustal movements. Tide gauges also monitor meteorological factors that affect sea levels, such as barometric pressure and wind speed, so that these variable factors can be eliminated from long-term assessments of sea level change. Although the global network of tide gauges comprises of a poorly distributed sea level measurement system, it offers the only source of historical, precise, long-term sea level data.”

      http://sealevel.colorado.edu/content/tide-gauge-sea-level

      This tide gauge stuff gives historical data on sea level where none better is available: ie from before satellite altimetry, the latter being far and away the most accurate: to +/-0.4 mm/yr (CSIRO)

      • en passant

        MacBot,
        “Accurate to +/-0.4mm/year”. OK, I will go with the -0.4.mm.

        Do you realise how stupid this level of supposed accuracy sounds given tectonic shifts, the fact that Earth is a misshapen block of cheese and the gravitational anomolies due to various orbits? You seriously think we should be Chicken Littling because of 4mm sea rise per year? Better send another few $Bn to the kleptocrats and kill every farting cow.

  4. Ian MacDougall

    Readers,
    I post the link below in the faint hope that it might enlighten Eyn Pyssant, trapped as he is in his mental dungeon of compulsive denialism.

    Remember, I did say hope. No guarantees.

    And faint. Please do not forget faint.

    http://www.snopes.com/nasa-data-global-warming/

    • en passant

      Clearly you have not been following the saga that is Snopes (being revealed through a nasty divorce case)?

      Now are you going to tell the world the ideal concentration of CO2 and the ideal average global temperature?

      Just joking as I know you cannot and therefore have no idea of the destination you seek for all of us.

      How about a challenge for you?
      You name seven benefits of +3 degrees and a doubling of CO2 and I (as I have an open, sceptical mind and no mantra) will list seven detrimental effects.

      I predict you cannot accept.

  5. Ian MacDougall

    The Mikkelson’s marriage problems prove something to what passes for the mind of Eyn Pyssant: probably including that the world is flat. Certainly that anything published on Snopes cannot possibly be taken seriously.
    That it appears to be how what passes for the Eyn mynd works.

From Ragged Centre to Flush Left

August 01st 2017 print

TONY THOMAS

The Australian has largely resisted the smothering green/left orthodoxy that banished all dissenting perspectives from the Fairfax rags and ABC. When age or ailment sees Rupert Murdoch’s guiding hand lifted from his paper’s helm, don’t expect things to stay that way. The Weekend Review is the sad preview

australianThe Australian is normally a voice for sanity in this country’s political debate. But Editor-in-Chief Paul Whittaker really ought to  take a look at what goes into the Review magazine inside The Weekend Australian – editor Michelle Gunn.

On the same day the paper hit the streets on Saturday, July 29, Sydney counter-terror operatives were arresting four Islamists over an alleged plot to bring down a domestic airliner with an explosive device. This alleged plot was the thirteenth thwarted in the past three years. Had it succeeded, hundreds of deaths would have traumatised the country .

Now turn to page 22 of Review (editor Tim Douglas, and Literary Editor Stephen Romei, who staff say selects the book reviewers)), in which fantasy novelist and journalist Claire Corbett reviews three books on counter-terror units, including Sons of God about the Victorian Special Operations Group and two about the US Navy SEALS, The Killing School and The Operator.  She writes,

“As historian Yuval Noah Harari points out in his 2015 book Homo Deus terrorists have almost no capacity to threaten a functioning state. The danger comes most from our over-reactions.

‘Whereas in 2010 obesity and related illnesses killed about three million people,’ Harari writes,’ terrorists killed a total of 7697 people across the globe , most of them in developing countries.’[1] He notes that for the average person in the affluent West, soft drinks pose a far deadlier threat than terrorists.” (My emphases).

Thanks for that, Claire Corbett, and thanks for your second-hand imbecility about soft drinks’ deadly threat. But no thanks, Review editors, for allowing Corbett/Harari to trash The Australian’s reputation for intellectual rigor, let alone common sense.

Let’s see what else Harari’s on about (not mentioned by Corbett) besides deadly soft drinks. He’s a history professor of repute and celebrity at the Hebrew University,  Jerusalem, “probably the most fashionable thinker on the planet right now,” according to the Daily Mail.

Writing only a month ago, after the Manchester slaughter, he claims that  Britons need to accept that terrorists may kill a few people a year.

‘The most dangerous thing about terrorism is the over-reaction to it. I mean, the terrorist attacks themselves are of course horrific, and I don’t intend to minimise the tragedy of the people who are killed, but if you look at the big picture it’s a puny threat…

For every person who is killed by a terrorist in the UK there are at least 100 who die in car accidents. Nevertheless, terrorism manages to capture our imagination in a way that car accidents don’t. You kill 20 people and you have 60 million people frightened that there is a terrorist behind every tree. That causes them to over-react. To do things like persecute entire communities, invade countries, go to war, change our way of life in terms of human rights and privacy, because of a tiny threat…

We have to give up this idea that we can completely abolish terrorism and that even the tiniest attack is completely unacceptable. You have domestic violence or rape and we don’t say, “Let’s have a curfew: men are not allowed on the street after eight o’clock.” If we could have such an attitude towards terrorism – “OK, every year there are two, three or four incidents of terrorism, a couple of dozen people get killed, it’s terrible, but OK, we get on with our lives” – it will be a far more effective response.’

In 2015, he was saying “Most terrorist attacks kill only a handful of people.”

“In 2002, at the height of the Palestinian terror campaign against Israel, when buses and restaurants were hit every few days, the yearly toll reached 451 dead Israelis. In the same year, 542 Israelis were killed in car accidents. A few terrorist attacks, such as the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, kill hundreds. The 9/11 attacks set a new record, killing nearly 3,000 people. Yet even this is dwarfed by conventional warfare: if you add all the people killed and wounded in Europe by terrorist attacks since 1945 – including victims of nationalist, religious, leftist and rightist groups – it will still represent many fewer casualties than in any number of obscure First World War battles…”

If in 2050 the world is full of nuclear and bio-terrorists, Harari wonders, their victims will look back at the Western world of today with longing tinged with disbelief: how could people who lived such secure lives nevertheless have felt so threatened?

A vegan, Harari  considers “industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history“  – an unusual claim by an Israeli. He lives with his husband, Itzik, in a co-op outside the city, is seriously into Vipassana meditation, and lacks a smart phone. He thinks superhuman cyborgs of the future will have the potential to live for ever – barring violent accidents, he says, but only the richest could afford the immortality treatment. People were happier in the Stone Age. Our biggest ever mistake was cultivating wheat, according to the professor.

Getting back to author Corbett’s page  last weekend, Review arts content over the years has stuck in my craw for its relentless ABC-style green/Left slant and selections.

Corbett manages to fill her page with 32 paragraphs about “the secretive world of special ops” without once mentioning the “I” (Islam) word. But by para three she’s saying, “No matter how stressful, no training can truly prepare soldiers for combat or police for shootouts with neo-Nazis”(my emphasis). Well, it was news to me that neo-Nazis (undefined by Corbett) are a shootout problem, but has this woman ever compared the threat of our ‘neo-Nazis’ with, say, ISIS?  I suppose she’s more concerned with  soft drinks’ deadly threat.

She ticks all the boxes: Abbott derangement syndrome, feminist, environmentalist, and drowning-city catastrophist (coached by one of Al Gore’s myrmidons/ambassadors).[2]

Corbett says she had been a policy adviser to a NSW Premier – cross-checking dates[3] indicates this was under Bob Carr, circa 2003. She’s dabbled in film-crew work, published two well-received novels and many short stories and done four or five long-form features for  Morry Schwartz’s The Monthly, the last in mid-2015.

Her first book When We Have Wings (2011) is yet another future dystopia where a malign regime has everyone under surveillance (maybe it’s a parable about Obama, who sooled the most advanced surveillance agencies onto his harmless opponents, even sympathetic journalists).[4]

Corbett’s plot twist is that elite people can acquire wings and fly like birds. But ominously, “only the rich and powerful can afford the surgery, drugs, and gene manipulation to become fliers.”  The down-trodden poor people remain non-fliers. No wonder  Bill Shorten is campaigning on inequality. Naturally the book was hailed by the literary set, and was even named “Highlight of the Year” by writer Lisa Jacobsen. [5]

In my office career, I was in plenty of flaps but not of  Corbett’s literal kind. She starts with heroine Peri doing circuits over Salt Grass Bay in a future climate-changed world. My first thought was that Peri was scavenging for discarded fish and chips. But instead she spies her shot-down winged pal Luisa dead in the surf. Peri lands and makes sure her own feathers don’t get wet. “No time to dry them, not now,” Peri thinks, bringing cormorants to my mind.

However, Peri’s take-off technique seems more pelican-like. “She starts her run along the sand, gulping air. It takes all her strength to run fast enough to get off the ground…  Peri’s flying now… Peri flies higher, banks, turning for home.”[6]

Peri should wear aviators’ L-plates. On landing on a clifftop house platform she bangs into the rock wall and beats her wings and rattles her feathers to recover. Once she’s inside the house, in a welcome touch of   realism, her wings tend to knock stuff over when she turns around.

I’d tell you more  but I only got a free read of  Chapter One. With a bit of further cribbing I found the nearest city was Sydney-like but rather taken over by Buddhists.  I couldn’t discover if these monks were also blowing up airliners and scheming to inflict megadeath on Grand Final crowds.[7]

Corbett’s avian expertise would suit her  for Review book reviews on the RAAF. But how has   she has morphed into Weekend Australian’s special-ops expert who thinks soft drinks are far deadlier than terrorists?

Turns out that from 2014-15 she did four features in The Monthly on the RAN,  the last in mid-2015. Three were about what was then the ‘which-submarine’ choice. Like some other fiction-writers, she can bring original touches. Her public service experience helped her winkle out some information.  And she commendably sat through two high level open conferences on the choice. Her features on subs are reasonable, although hindsight does not treat them kindly.

Her overview on perceptions of the RAN starts well and degenerates into an ABC/Fairfax-style rant about the Abbott iniquities of (successful) Operation Sovereign Borders and how navy people tortured African asylum seekers during tow-back  by forcing their hands onto hot engine pipes. I could find on-line in The Monthly no later clarification that the torture claims were fake, not even after the ABC’s then-boss Mark Scott said, “We regret if our reporting led anyone to mistakenly assume that the ABC supported the asylum seekers’ claims.”

Corbett also managed to condemn our intelligence people’s listening-in on the Indonesian President’s wife’s mobile, without mentioning it was done in the Rudd-Gillard era. “Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s handling of the fallout rubs salt into the wound,” she grouched.

None of this makes her much of a choice on special ops expertise, and she writes some really strange stuff – deadly soft drink consumption included. As the details emerge daily about the alleged  horrific airliner bombing plot, the Australian’s Review standards look increasingly tawdry. What’s up, Whittaker?

Tony Thomas, who has a UWA Master of Arts in Australian literature, has a book of essays That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, available here


[1] The Religion of Peace register says that in 2010 there were 2023 Islamic attacks in 48 countries, in which 9233 people were killed and 17461 injured.

[2] For example, she quotes a tweet, “Climate Change Could Lead to Disappearance 
of 1500 Indonesian Islands”

[3] Her name is on a 2003 NSW Health document

[4] See NYT best seller  Stonewalled by Sharyl Attkinson, ex-CBS investigative reporter.

[5]  Corbett short stories also made Best Australian Stories 2014 and ditto, 2015.

[6] “There is no magic in my book. I don’t ask the reader to believe anything that I haven’t researched. There’s nothing that breaks the laws of physics,” Corbett says. I don’t believe her.

[7] Her latest novel is Watch Over Me (2017), which is yet another  fantasy yarn about people under oppression by a malign regime.

Climate Science Comes Up Short

July 28th 2017 print

TONY THOMAS

Temperatures refuse to rise, exterminate polar bears, melt the icecaps, engulf coastal cities or make Tim Flannery seem rational. Not that there isn’t company in the upper ranks of ratbaggery. Meet Professor Matthew Liao, who yearns to bio-engineer smaller, drug-ready humans

shrinking manPeople unwilling to act on the climate-crisis narrative should be assisted with drugs that improve and promote conformity, according to eminent bio-ethicist Professor Matthew Liao, of New York University, who also wants to see parents dosing their children with hormones and diets to keep them shorter and less of a burden on the planet.

He wants such people to be given  the ‘love drug/cuddle chemical’ oxytocin. This would increase their trust and empathy and make them more ready to change to emission-saving lifestyles.

As his peer-reviewed study puts it, “Pharmacologically induced altruism and empathy could increase the likelihood that we adopt the necessary behavioral and market solutions for curbing climate change.” He emphasises there would be no coercion. The drugs would merely help those who want to be climate-friendly behaviour but lack the willpower

Once sufficiently drugged, parents would be less likely to reject notions of “human engineering” techniques that will be needed to create Humans 2.0. These amended species will be 15cm shorter than now, hence more energy efficient and less resource-demanding. His study,  Human Engineering and Climate Change, is in  Ethics, Policy and the Environment.[1]

Some US reaction to Liao has been adverse. Investor’s  Business Daily used the headline, “Global Warming Fever Drove This Professor Completely Mad”.[2] It said that warmists are “bummed they can’t find enough naive people to buy into their story”. The looniest tune yet played is Liao’s, it said.

Liao’s study theorises that shorter humans could be achieved through embryo selection during IVF, plus drug and nutrient treatments to reduce birth weights. (High birth weight correlates with future height; low weights obviously correlate with risk to the baby).[3]  Anti-growth hormones could be fed to toddlers by climate-caring parents to create earlier closing of their bubs’ epiphyseal (growth) plates. Oh, and he also wants ecocidal meat eaters bio-altered to induce unpleasant reactions if they put pleasure ahead of planet and tuck into a T-bone.[4]

His paper, although now five years old and sometimes mistaken for a sceptic hoax, features today on his personal website. It merited him a gig at a recent Leftist-stacked Festival of Dangerous Ideas at Sydney Opera House, where he spoke  in front of  a banner, “Engineering humans to stop climate change”. His compere was the respectful Simon Longstaff, boss of Sydney’s  Ethics Centre, who introduced his guest as a “really great speaker…He is on the up, this guy. He is on the up!”

Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Moral Philosophy, Liao is chair of bioethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at New York University’s philosophy department — ranked world No 1 for philosophy, Longstaff said. Liao was earlier deputy director in the Program on the Ethics of the New Biosciences in the philosophy faculty at Oxford University. Longstaff said it was ranked world No 2. The mind boggles at what must go on those university philosophy/bioethics units ranked from third to 100?

Liao began his Opera House talk with a visiting speaker’s typical home-town warm-up, in this instance about Sydney being such a beautiful city. After that, warming to his topic, he fretted that the city “might go underwater” because of rising seas.

Many environmental problems, such as climate change, need collective action, he continued, but humans remain stubbornly individualistic, which why drugs that increase empathy and altruism might bestow the benefits of societal cooperation and engagement. Test subjects given oxytocin hormones were more willing to share money with strangers, behave in more trustworthy ways, and better read other people’s emotions, he said.

He continued,  “Making children smaller may be unappealing, but so is the prospect of having our children grow up in a world blighted by the environmental consequences of our choices and lifestyles…

“To combat climate change we can either change the environment or change ourselves.  Given the enormous risks associated  with changing the environment, we should take  seriously that we need to change ourselves.”

Liao insists his human engineering  is all voluntary, but should be incentivised by tax breaks and health-cost discounts. What he failed to explain is how toddlers could volunteer to restrict their adult height to say, 5ft (152cm).

Liao asked, “Is it ethical for parents to make choices that would have  irreversible effects on their children’s lives? Not all human engineering involving children is necessarily controversial. For example, many parents are happy to give their children [anti attention-deficit disorder] drugs, such as Ritalin, to concentrate better in school.

“Making children small is more controversial so proceed with care. But parents  are permitted to give hormones so a daughter likely to be 6ft 6in (198cm) could instead be 6ft (183cm). On what ground should we forbid parents who want to give hormone treatments so that children become 5ft tall rather than 5ft 5in tall? If climate change would  effect millions of children including one’s own children,  then these children may also later appreciate and consent to the parents decisions.”

Liao’s paper says tall people create energy waste by their food intake, extra fuel for their cars, more fabric for clothes, and more wear and tear on shoes, carpets and furniture.[5] “Think of their lifetime carbon footprint, it is quite a lot,” he told interviewers during his Australian sojourn (he must have arrived by row-boat).

To curb planet-hurting population growth, a  UK doctors’ group had recommended that Britons confine themselves to two children. Liao instead suggested each British family be given emissions targets and within that, be incentivised to have either two normal-height children or multiple smaller ones.[6]

“We think we now have optimal height, and that  we should not do anything to mess with our height, but the reality (can be) much more fluid,” he said, noting that everyone was much shorter in the 19th century with no harm done. He said height is seen by many as a social advantage but that was not a reason to scratch the shortness-creating idea.  As his paper says, bungee jumping, tattoos and running marathons are also minority tastes but legitimate activities.

Ever-hopeful, Liao believes that once a few people started shortening their children, others might be similarly inspired, especially if given tax breaks. He conceded that poorer people are already shorter on average, and should not be encouraged to further shrink their offspring.

He told his audience that many people wanted to give up eating meat but enjoyed the taste too much.  To assist, their immune systems could be  primed to react to meat “and induce some sort of unpleasant experience, very mild. (Laughter). Even if the effect was not for a lifetime, the learning effect could persist a long  time.”

A safe way to induce such intolerance could involve a “meat patch”, akin to a  nicotine patch, that people could wear before going out to eat, he said. Liao concedes that the present “tackling” of climate change by changing behaviour (less travel, LED bulbs etc) and by top-down emissions schemes are inadequate. This has led to drastic and risky geoengineering proposals like   mirrors in space and seeding oceans with iron filings. Better and safer to use existing bio-medical techniques to alter humans instead, he says.

Liao dropped political correctness to remark that US women “of lower cognitive ability” bred faster under 18 years. If they could be cognitively enhanced with Ritalin or Modafinil, which some parents already give their children to improve concentration at school, these women might have lower birth rates. He also pre-empted Pauline Hanson by saying various public health measures are similarly taken, despite risks. He said, “People routinely vaccinate  to prevent acquiring diseases even though vaccinations have sometimes side effects and can even lead to deaths.”[7]

He agreed that bio-engineering against obesity would be climate-effective, “but  I focus on height because the issue of obesity is very politically sensitive,  raising a lot of issues and, on top, some discriminatory aspects –  talk about obesity, you know…a tricky situation.”  So Liao put this planet-saving measure aside because of potential backlash from “obesity identity” activists. Anti-height measures, however, are politically safe because tall people are already advantaged.

Liao wants each person to become carbon neutral, otherwise we should spend more money on space exploration – presumably so mankind find a new home on some other planet. “Scientists tell us we are close to the point of no return,” he said, apparently unaware of the hundreds of failed tipping point predictions.

Question time produced one ripper from an elderly lady, Margaret, who seemed a warmist sympathiser: “What percent of the  population would need to adopt any of these measures before they became effective  in altering the rate at which we are going through climate change?”

Liao, hitherto a picture of confidence, fumbled and stalled, saying it was empirical and had no idea in lieu of further and needed research: “So right now I am just sorting out ideas … we would need to figure out these further questions.”

I can tell him now: if the 7.5 billion people on the planet all shrank by 15cm, it wouldn’t lower global temperatures one jot.

The   climate-catastrophe evidence Liao cites for his Humans 2.0 makeover is the notoriously-flawed UK Stern Report (Stern is now calling for US$90 trillion funding for climate change) and the melting-Himalayan-glacier 2007  IPCC report run by then-IPCC chair and Rajendra Pachauri. [8] This report was so howler-laced that the InterAcademy Council ordered a forensic audit. The report found “significant shortcomings in each major step of IPCC’s assessment process”.

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here.


[1] Two co-authors are from  Oxford, where Liao did his Ph.D.

[2] September 30, 2015. Broken link but text cited.

[3] The paper says, “Birth weight at the lower edge of the normal distribution tends to result in the adult’s being ≈5 cm shorter. Birth height has an even stronger effect for adult height. If one is born at the lower edge of the normal distribution of height, this tends to produce ≈15 cm shorter adult height.” It continues that certain drugs could potentially regulate birth size and weight.

[4] The paper says “While eating red meat with added emetic (a substance that induces vomiting) could be used as an aversion conditioning, anyone not strongly committed to giving up red meat is unlikely to be attracted to this option. A more realistic option might be to induce mild intolerance (akin, e.g., to milk intolerance) to these kinds of meat.”

[5] The paper says, “Reducing the average US height by 15 cm would mean a mass reduction of 23% for men and 25% for women, with a corresponding reduction of metabolic rate (15%/18%), since less tissue means lower nutrients and energy needs.”

[6] British children were singled out because they each put 160 times more demand on the planet than an Ethiopian child, his paper says.

[7] No Leftist outrage ensued

[8] Pachauri, then 74, in 2015 was charged in New Delhi with sexual harassment and stalking involving a woman staffer less than half his age.  He resigned abruptly from the IPCC, was fired from his own think-tank and   the trial has been delayed via   costly procedural stages.  Strongly asserting his innocence, he is also suing the staffer for defamation.