Author Archives: tonythomas061

Aunty’s Spoiled Nephews and Nieces

There is no surprise that Q&A stacked its panel with groupthink luvvies going the big spit on Bill Leak’s grave. It is the pay, retirement packages and perks the national broadcaster lavishes on the wretches responsible that is both shocking and, to the detriment of taxpayers, all too typical

their abcABC boss Michelle Guthrie is a whimsical lady. Last October she was  throwing comfort money at her minions — 2% p.a. compound pay rises for 2016-19, plus extra perks contrary to government guidelines. These included back-dated pay rises to July 1,  seven days “domestic violence leave” (huh?), and an extra fortnight on maternity leave (now 16 weeks) and two-to-four weeks partner leave.

But now she’s throwing between 150 and 200 management types out the door by July 1 to generate $50 million to spend on content-making.

That’s ta-ta to about 20% of ABC managers, with considerably more than 20% departing from “support areas”.

It’s high time the ABC’s make-work  management is culled. The ABC spends only half its budget on programs, compared with 80% plus spent by Sky News, for example.

But I’m a caring soul and my first reaction was human sympathy for those to be culled – their mortgages, their grocery bills, their repayments on the Prius and weekly direct debits to GetUp and the Climate Council.

But then I remembered something about the ABC’s uber-generous redundancy payout regime and my welfare concerns for these guys  evaporated.

The   2016-19 Enterprise Bargaining Agreement  says there’ll be a severance payment of four weeks’ pay for each of the first five years’ service, and then three weeks’ pay per year’s service up to a maximum of 24 years. So a 20-year manager would get a total 65 weeks pay.

In addition, there’s the issue of notice. Guthrie wants everything clinched by July 1, so she may well pay out the stipulated five-to-six weeks notice in cash. That would take our 20-year exec’s cheque to 70 weeks’ pay.

The redundancy calculator is unchanged from the ABC’s 2013-16 enterprise deal. The ABC’s union negotiators stuffed up by campaigning (successfully) for family violence leave in the EBA, instead of trying to improve the redundancy clauses. But maybe ABC staffers are plagued at home by spouse-bashers.

So what sort of screw are ABC management types on? We need that data to assess redundancy payouts. Naturally, the ABC is loathe to disclose. But in the case of the BBC, which might give us some guidance here, it is a simple exercise to discover individual managers’ pay. I’ll go into a little detail just to show how far out of line the ABC is with transparency and open governance. The BBC:

Listed below are staff whose salaries and remuneration are published quarterly by the BBC. In 2009 it was agreed with the BBC Trust that the BBC would publish the salaries, total remuneration, Declaration of Personal Interests, expenses, gifts and hospitality for all senior managers who have a full time equivalent salary £150,000 or more or who sit on a major divisional board.” [That’s about $A245,000 equivalent].

These BBC people are listed by name, about 140 of them. Just click the name and up comes the pay, the job description, the biography and most amazing of all, the expense claims and justifications thereof, along with gifts and hospitality accepted and outside roles accepted.

Here’s the first BBC chap on the list, Gavin Allen, Controller, Daily News Programmes.

Total remuneration: £144,500 ($A234,000) at September 30, 2016.

Mr Allen, despite his high pay and onerous responsibilities,[1]  always finds time to put in a  claim for the equivalent of a tram ticket. On March 3, 2016, for example, he successfully claimed a £3.10 train ride, and on March 24, he had a £4.10 “drink on flight” at the expense of BBC licence payers. His tiniest claim (Feb 25) was £2.8 for a taxi (it must have travelled all of 200 yards). But for half the month, his tummy was operating at subsistence levels – he put in 15 claims that quarter for ‘subsistence’ at about £9 a time, after having worked more than five hours, presumably in a state of meal-less famishment. As for gifts, Mr Allen lists in one quarter a dinner hosted by the Barclays chairman, another freebie dinner at the Garrick Club, and tickets to the soccer at Wembley.

The disclosures even extend to “personal interests” of managers, such as outside company roles, shareholdings and “external business interests or relationships with customers/suppliers/direct competitors of the BBC.”  It’s a wicked thought,  but in the ABC context such a clause might force disclosure of the lavish speaker fees ($5000-10,000 a time) showered on ABC talent like Tony Jones, Emma Alberici, Fran Kelly and Barrie Cassidy.

I then had a thought: surely the BBC isn’t disclosing all the intimate pay and expenses details about their very  Director General, Tony Hall? Yes indeedy, the BBC does just that! Apart from being paid £450,000, he claimed in the first quarter, 2016-17 items including a £7 train ticket, and £85 worth of whatever at the Sheraton,  Edinburgh. He takes very few gifts, but in April, 2015, accepted two tickets to a play, The Vote. He lists  close to 20 outside positions, including the House of Lords  and something called Go ON UK.[2]

So Go ON, Michelle Guthrie! Total disclosure is good enough for the BBC Director-General, let’s see you lead from the front at the ABC on manager pay and perks disclosure.

Perusing the 2016 ABC annual report rewards with only thin gruel. [3]

About 320 ABC types were all on higher than $145,000 pay. The ABC has 2856 “content makers” who are somehow looked after by 632 admin/professional helpers and no fewer than 325 “senior executives”.

We learn the bare names and titles of about 85 executives. Elsewhere the report provides the useless aggregate detail that 16 directors and officers got $4 million.

We once did get an indication of management pay from the ABC’s infamous own goal  when a staffer accidentally leaked a spreadsheet of top ABC pay in 2011-12 to Family First Senator Robert Brokenshire. Rikki Lambert, one of Brokenshire’s staffers, in turn leaked the data to The Australian in late 2013. The media’s focus then was on the ABC talent like Tony Jones ($356,000 in 20011-12) and the commercial types were ignored. So let’s take a look at a sample of them. Actually a high proportion of persons listed with those roles have since quit or retired from the ABC so I’ll delete the names.

Assuming a compound rate of increase of 2.5% p.a. for the following five years, the positions today would be paying 13% more.[4] This  list showed

  • “Director ABC International”,  on $301,000 (adding 13%, $340,000).
  • “Director Business Services”   on $260,000 ($294,000)
  • “Director ABC Resources”   on $234,000 ($264,000)
  • “General Manager Sales & Distribution” on $221,000 ($250,000)
  • “Head Entertainment”   on $219,000 ($247,000)
  • Director People and Learning, $255,000 ($288,000).

The median pay on the top 100 list was about $200,000, so let us use that figure for our redundancy doodling. In addition, we’ll assume the main ABC EBA applies, and that the person’s tenure at the ABC was (a) 10 years or (b) 20 years.

Applying our EBA formula, the redundancy payout is 35 weeks for a ten-year veteran, or $135,000; and for 20 years, $250,000. Plus, possibly, $20,000 in lieu of notice.

To further keep the wolf from the door, there’s the gorgeous super deals that ABC types wallow in. The most generous of the schemes involves an effective 20% annual contribution from our ABC, more than double the private-sector norm of 9.5 %.

The gold-plated schemes, closed off to new entrants in 2005, are the   defined-benefit schemes paying lifetime indexed pensions with reversion to spouse on death for the remainder of his or her lifetime. This generosity to the public service in general led to an abyss of a funding shortfall, hence ex-Treasurer Peter Costello’s Future Fund requiring $140 billion by 2020 to finance future payouts.

The ABC makes its own provision for the liabilities. Last year the ABC’s bill for straight salaries was $366 million. To this was added $34 million for the defined benefit liability and $33 million for the defined contribution liability. A defined-benefit employee would need to have at least a dozen years tenure, so a small number  of staffers seem to be racking up what represent very large liabilities.

From the government’s super ready reckoner, our $200,000 discharged exec, aged say 50 with 15 years service, goes out on a lifetime indexed pension of 18% ie., $36,000. On death the spouse continues the lifetime benefit, at the rate of $24,000 to $31,000 (67-85%).

The sacked guy or gal’s pension figures are supplemented by  a payout  based on his or her own contributions (5-10% of salary), plus an employer top-up of a 3% annual “productivity component” (don’t laugh!) for all CSS  super members, plus earnings.[5] That separate payout can involve combinations of  lump sum and non-indexed pension.

Despite super like that, ABC execs also enjoy the special tax breaks for government, non-profit and charity workers, via the ABC’s  flexible salary packaging arrangements.

The ABC directs its employees to  “Smart Salary”, which handles the ABC packaging. Inputting myself as a hypothetical $200,000 ABC person, I discover eligibility for a juicy array of tax-reduced goodies, including novated car leases, child care and airport lounge membership. Inputting $10,000 for child care and $510 for Qantas lounge, I find myself $4974 better off.  It’s a mystery why an ABCer deserves special tax benefits denied to private sector toilers.

As with all the public service, ABC enterprise bargains have lots of minor perks too, though even the ABC has nothing to equal the “DECA Day” leave provision at the Defence Department, “to enable an employee to be absent for a non-specified reason”.

I must say you’ve read a lot by now but aren’t much the wiser about payouts to axed ABC types. That  of course is how the ABC wants it.

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


[1] Gavin oversees all of the daily radio and television news programmes, including Radio 4′s Today programme, World at OneVictoria Derbyshire, as well as the News at Six and Ten.

[2] The BBC is also committed to disclosing the pay of its on-air stars from this year.  Theresa May’s government is amending the BBC’s charter to force the BBC to reveal the pay of all on-air talent getting more than £150,000 ($A240,000). There are about 110 of these high-fliers whose pay will  have to be disclosed in £50,000 bands; after that the bands will narrow.

[3] I was momentarily distracted by the half page glamour pic (page 116) of staffer Marieke Hardy. Ms Hardy earlier wrote in a hate-speech exercise on the ABC’s The Drum that Liberal Minister Chris Pyne was Australia’s most-loathed person globally. She opined that his appearance on Q&A  had caused the nation to “silently pray for him to get attacked by a large and libidinous dog”. After an indecent delay, the ABC (Charter: Impartial) pulled the article off The Drum and apologized to Pyne. Marieke is now not merely forgiven but lauded in the annual report.

[4] The 2013 EBA provided for pay rises of 2.5-2.6% compound p.a.

[5]  In terms of that ABC employer “Productivity Component” of 3% per annum, try this ABC slice of life from Louise Evans about the cadre of ‘lifers’ there in 2013:

“a pocket of predominantly middle-aged, Anglo-Saxon staff … who were impervious to change, unaccountable, untouchable and who harboured a deep sense of entitlement.

They didn’t have a 9-5 mentality. They had a 10-3 mentality. They planned their work day around their afternoon yoga class. They wore thongs and shorts to work, occasionally had a snooze on the couch after lunch and popped out to Paddy’s Market to buy fresh produce for dinner before going home.

They were like free-range chickens, wandering around at will, pecking at this and that, content that laying one egg constituted a hard day’s work…

 Taxi dockets were left in unlocked drawers for the taking and elephantine leave balances had been allowed to accumulate. When programs shut down for Christmas, staff would get approval from their executive producers to hang around for a week or two “to tidy things up”. One editor asked for his leave to be cut back by a week because he’d need to pop into work during the holidays to “check emails”.That constituted work.”

An interesting practice in 2016-17 is the ABC Media Watch team of nine departing for their holidays on November 21 last and the program not returning until February 6. The team comprises Presenter, Executive Producer, Director, Story Editor, Supervising  Producer, three researchers, and a coordinator.

Facts? They’d Ruin the Best ABC Stories

Work for our unsupervised national broadcaster and it seems you can peddle any politically twisted falsehood that strikes your fancy. Case in point: 7.30’s shock! horror! reporting on the wave of hate crimes Donald Trump is said to have unleashed. It’s all rubbish, total and unmitigated nonsense

lies r usThe ABC’s daily campaign to discredit the Trump presidency is swinging along, but could I suggest that you ABC people be a bit more subtle about it?

The ABC’s statutory charter of impartiality is of course a dead letter. But I just think that your Trump-hate would be more effective were it  based on even a skerrick of fact  and logic.

Take, for example, the item on last Tuesday night’s ABC TV 7.30, presented by Leigh Sales and compiled by US-based Conor Duffy (the ABC’s former environment correspondent). Unidentified persons in Pennsylvania damaged 100 tombstones at Mt Carmel Jewish cemetery last month. There have also been a spate of bomb hoaxes to Jewish institutions. These were the salient facts in the 7.30 item.

But as Leigh Sales unctuously introduced the segment: “Some people blame Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric for unleashing people’s worst impulses, something Trump backers of course dispute.”

Some  people also blame Leigh Sales for  bayonetting new-born kittens, something Leigh Sales backers of course dispute.

The same Trump-trashing material was published on the ABC website the same day, under the banner “Trump’s America”. A lead para states that “race hate crimes are spiking in President Donald Trump’s America.” (Obama’s America, by contrast, involved unicorns grazing on coast-to-coast flower-beds).

Somehow the inflammatory rhetoric spewing from the Democrat camp is not on the ABC’s radar. On March 4, Obama’s former Attorney General, African-American Loretta Lynch, made an impassioned video plea for more marching, blood and death on the streets – a video that was later posted on the Facebook page of Senate Democrats as “words of inspiration.” Maybe I need to repeat this – Obama’s former Attorney-General wants anti-Trump rioting, blood and death on the streets.[1]

In her video Lynch says people are experiencing “great fear and uncertainty” over Trump.

“I know it’s a time of concern for people, who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on and even being rolled back. I know that this is difficult, but I remind you that this has never been easy.   It has been people, individuals who have banded together, ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals who have made the difference. They’ve marched, they’ve bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again.”

But Leigh Sales and Conor Duffy know that Trump, not Obama’s henchpeople, is responsible for any and all hate crimes in the US, because he’s used inflammatory rhetoric.  The TV presenters don’t want to say so themselves, because they’re such professionally-objective journalists. But they seek out third-party talking heads to deliver their message. Here’s their line-up:

  • Allen Hornblum,  whose dead relatives suffered tombstone damage. Hornblum blames Trump hot and strong. A quick check reveals that Hornblum is a “political organiser” who thinks George W. Bush escaped jail for invading Iraq because of his money and power. Hornblum is  ex-executive director of Americans for Democratic Action, a Democrat-oriented think-tank.

Omitting to mention Hornblum’s affiliations, the ABC’s Duffy lets him say, “I think some of this (desecration)  can probably be tied to the national political scene and some of the statements by Donald Trump.”

  • Pennsylvania Attorney-General Josh Shapiro, who according to Duffy is  touted as a potential leader of the Democrat Party. Well, Shapiro would relish a free kick at Trump, wouldn’t he.
  • Tarek El-Messidi, a nice Muslim cooperating with Jews to get the damage repaired. He sounds off about “the rhetoric of the campaign” and “an eco-system of hate”.

The item did show Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer condemning the incidents.

The stuff about Trump being responsible for all race hate is Left-liberal media derangement. For example, the FBI has caught one of the alleged anti-Semitic bomb hoaxers in St Louis, Missouri. He’s Juan Thompson, 31, an African-American journalist and anti-white racist alleged to have made at least eight of the threats. Was he inflamed by the toxic campaign rhetoric of evil Donald Trump? Er, no. Thompson had been allegedly stalking a  former white girlfriend. From January he was making bomb threats in her name and concocting other threats to make it look as though she was trying to frame him.  He went to some lengths to defame her as anti-Semitic (and a VD-infected user of child porn etc) but so far there is no evidence that he is personally anti-Semitic. The SMH to its credit reported on his arrest on March 4.

Sales and Duffy knew about Thompson’s arrest and background but didn’t mention it on 7.30. It would have spoilt their Trump race-hate  narrative.[2]

Next, let’s look at Trump’s “inflammatory rhetoric”. The 7.30 report re-played two Trumpisms. The first, from last June, was that Mexican illegal immigrants include criminals and rapists. Typically,  7.30 played that but snipped off his (non-inflammatory) words, “And some, I assume, are good people.”  In the second clip, from December, he called for blocking all Muslims from US entry pending full assessment of the security threat they pose.[3] Almost immediately, he began walking back from that position. He now seeks a temporary ban on immigrants from seven terror-infested countries while US authorities work out better security measures.

I don’t know why the ABC thinks that such comments should set off a wave of anti-Semitic threats. The fake-news brigade wants to stitch up Trump as an anti-Semite, notwithstanding that, for example,  his daughter, Ivanka, converted to Orthodox Judaism on marrying Jared Kushner, currently a key Trump adviser. The feeble evidence proffered of the anti-Semite Trump is that he was a day or two slow off the mark in condemning the cemetery attacks – but he has remedied that in full measure.

These fake-news narratives depend on withholding from the public relevant material, e.g. about Loretta Lynch’s call for riots and death and Obama’s manifest anti-Semitism. Here’s  items putting the Trump-as-anti-Semite narrative into a more balanced context.

  • One of President Obama’s last and most spiteful betrayals was to ensure the passing in the Security Council last December of   Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” This means prima facie that the Jewish state  has no claim on the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, indeed the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, all of which the UN now says belong to Palestine. Israeli officials described Obama’s action as a ‘tailwind for terror and boycotts’.
  • On January 9, 2015, two days after the Charlie  Hebdo massacre, Islamic terrorist Amedy Coulibaly shot and killed four Jews in a kosher grocery. Obama insisted that this was  just a “random” attack on a bunch of “folks” in a “deli”. White House spokesman Josh Earnest maintained Obama’s charade at a press conference soon after, saying the Jews just had the bad luck to be in a Jewish deli when the terrorist began randomly killing people.  Obama dropped this inexplicable farce soon after.

Now it’s true that 7.30 does good work from time to time. But Tuesday’s segment illustrates, yet again, how the ABC’s Left-liberal line-up and groupthink dictate the handling of important political news.

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


[1] I could find no reference to this on the ABC.

[2] Incidentally, The Intercept, from which Thompson was fired for inventing literally fake news stories, happens to specialize in anti-Trump material, e.g. today’s headline, “Women and children in Yemeni village recall horror of Trump’s ‘highly successful’ SEAL raid.”

[3] While the ABC carries on about Trump race-hate, a 2015 poll of 600 US Muslims by the Center for Security Policy showed “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” For similar results from polling of Muslims in the UK and Europe, see here.

COMMENTS [18]

  1. Doubting Thomas

    We can prattle on as much as we like seeking to hold their ABC and other left-colonised instrumentalities to account for their outrageously biassed behaviour, but it’s unlikrly to change anything. People like Leigh Sales, Jon Faine, and other ABC talking heads, Gillian Triggs and her henchpeople, university academics and the entire fly-blown steaming pile of intellectual ordure are immune to criticism. Why? Simply because they never see or hear it inside their hermetically sealed bubble. There they relax, even wallow, secure in the fulsome praise of their like-minded mates. Anyone outside that bubble is a non-person far beneath their notice.

    The only thing that might change them is for their dung-heaps to be comprehensively destroyed. Trump is setting out to do that in the US. It will need politicians of similar determination to privatise or defund the ABC and to defund the universities forcing them to compete in the marketplace for students who will soon demand something other than the PC pap they are currently being fed. Pigs might fly.

  2. Patrick McCauley

    Direct action – Take Ultimo first – send in the homeless to lie about and prevent activity – send in the unemployed and under-employed to demand jobs and housing – send in the misogynists and racists and homophobes to send out socially engineered statements to the people … ” we cannot change gender any more than we can change the climate’ … “The stolen generation were saved” etc. Once we have Sydney and Melbourne secured … move on the the HRC headquarters to build the ash foundations for the proposed Bill Leak sculpture. After that – the Universities must fall.

    • LBLoveday

      I was looking for an hour+ reading matter from a limited selection in a small newsagency and saw Time magazine’s cover “Beyond ‘He’ or ‘She’. The changing meaning of Gender and Sexuality”, and was reminded of why I stopped buying Time years ago. Bought Reader’s Digest thinking that should be safe enough – jokes, short stories, diet/medical fads – but no, even there I suffered an article on changing the climate, written as if there is no question change is due to man and man alone. One suggestion was to cut down all the trees in Siberia so the exposed snow would reflect more of the sun’s rays and cool the earth.

    • Warty

      I don’t see anything changing in Australia any time soon. The Coalition is as ideologically divided as ever it has been, and no amount of platitudes about it being a ‘broad church’ will hide the fact that they are white anting themselves even more rapidly than little Billy Shorten can outwit them on penalty rates; a Royal Commission into banking; the energy crisis; and a parliamentary vote on SSM.
      Shorten’s policies have nothing going for them, but he has energised union support combined with the CFMEU foot soldiers: GetUp and a few bikie gangs. So the ABC and the equally awful SBS can continue doing what they are doing (or not doing) with impunity, because they know the senate won’t lift a finger to help the Coalition, but even better, there are enough of the PC brigade within the Coalition itself to blow any hostile moves towards our beloved Aunty, before such thoughts even filter up towards the mythical light of day. There is no longer any light of day registering in the darkened recesses of their party room though processes.
      The non functioning Coalition somehow brings to mind the Monty Python skit about Polly, the deceased Norwegian parrot.

      • Jody

        I don’t know whether you’ve noticed the increasing numbers of gay MPs now in the Coalition. Quite a lot of them have more recently acquired seats, some of them very safe seats like Berowra and North Sydney. My own family tells me 50% of those in parliament house are gay now. That, or anything like it, is a staggering statistic and the opportunity to ‘progress’ their own agenda is now a living reality.

        • Warty

          Hmm, yes, living in Berowra as I do, I’m lumbered with one of them. Leeser is also opposed to changing s.18C. No matter, I abandoned ship way before the July election.

  3. gary@erko

    It’s such a relief for leftist progressives to finally have some good ole fashioned desecration of Synagoges and Jewish graves to hide behind, masking their own blatant antisemitism and racist identity politics.

  4. en passant

    Drain the Oz Swamp, but do not attempt it with pumps requiring wind or uphill hydro.

  5. Don A. Veitch

    Why does the ABC need to lie? Why make up facts? President Trump is, in fact, doing enough to discredit himself:
    backsliding on election pledges to Israel on Jerusalem;
    backsliding on détente with Russia;
    warmongering, expanding the war in Yemen, boots on the ground in Syria;
    sucking up to the dark ages government in Saudi Arabia;
    retreating on infrastructure promises;
    insults Germany (and Australia);
    bringing down a horror budget that betrays his core constituency;
    failing to drain the swamp;
    cowardly on Flynn versus ‘deep state’.

    President Trump aka ‘The Snowman’, he melts away when the heat is turned up.

    • Jody

      Have to agree with this and it was all totally predictable. Didn’t need the lefty media to tell us any of this.

    • Warty

      I suppose it’d be a bit much asking for evidence of his backsliding on opening up communications with Russia; going back on his promise to be a friend to Israel, or backing down on his promise to drain the swamp. Memory serves me he was inaugurated in January, just a couple of months ago, not four years ago. I’m impressed you feel he ought to have moved mountains in that short short time, but truth is he is only superhuman, not Christ. But you will of course support your accusations, won’t you, Don?
      Now, I may be wrong, but I don’t recall his ever promising to suck up Saudi Arabia (I certainly wouldn’t want them in my digestive system), nor do I remembering him promising ‘boots on the ground’ in Syria.
      I must say I was disappointed he went ahead with the dismissal of Flynn on a point of honour, because he was outmanoeuvred on that one.

  6. Keith Kennelly

    All this negative about Trump was reported in the unbiased leftie elite media of course.

    I heard one report on 4bc that showed Trump’s popularity is still very strong among those who voted for him and they think he was wired tapped and he’s doing what they want.

    Jody if you say he’s undermining himself then that’s most likely wrong. You’re always wrong about Trump.

    Recall your over excited ranting that he’d be ‘gone in days folks’.

    And you still haven’t given those odds for that bet.

  7. padraic

    One good thing arising from the ABC’s obsession on Trump and spouting the US “swamp’s” view of him on their radio and tv news outlets is that it reduces the amount of time they can devote to promoting their favourite activist themes and bashing the present federal government. However, they still manage to fit in those two local obsessions – for example – the daily TV program that appears in newspapers recently showed the following: “8.30 – Newton’s Law – Josephine defends a woman accused of smuggling an asylum seeker out of a local hospital” I think that says it all. The other morning on News Radio a political “commentator” had a crack at Bill Leak, condemning him with faint praise. When they are on an activist-themed roll they often accompany the story with music that suits the victim mentality. These offerings are usually accompanied by a commentary expressed in unctuous, patronising tones.

  8. Keith Kennelly

    There you go again name calling.

    Wrong again.

    I run three business. Two are marginal at present. The other is my retirement and my family’s legacy.

    I have a very balanced life and have sufficient power in my own not to have to put others down.

    You could learn from me.

  9. Keith Kennelly

    What? Don’t you like your ‘facts’ challenged?

    You are behaving like the educated elites … again.

    Name call and abuse the messenger when you are challenged on the things you say?

    You could really learn from me.

    First lesson.

    Be self critical.

  10. Keith Kennelly

    Second lesson: something I read in a quadrant article about truth, right and rationality.

    ‘Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for action: and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.’

    Robert Menzies.

    This is the very best explanation of why it so necessary to challenge opinions of those who express and think ‘fake news’ is fact.

The Natives Are Getting RETless

The Natives Are Getting RETless

According to the Prime Minister, it will take but a few more billions to perfect carbon-capture technology, protect Gaia and win the approval of those who will never vote Coalition come hell or ‘extreme weather’ high water. Alan Moran’s new book delivers the good kicking such thinking deserves

gore with ill-gotten gainsAs you might expect at the launching by Andrew Bolt of a book detailing the asinine inspiration and disastrous consequences of “green” energy policies, all present kept their clothes on at yesterday’s gathering in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Carlton. The surprise — although it isn’t really thatsurprising after all these years of the media’s dutifully parrotted warmist propaganda — is that so many of those who will scoff at Quadrant contributor Alan Moran’s Climate Change – Treaties and Policies in the Trump Era aren’t themselves laughingstocks for the stark-naked exposure of their lies and cause.

Bolt, of course, was citing Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the emperor’s new clothes, casting himself as but one among the legion of rational and observant little boys who have yelled long and loud that the shortcomings of warmism’s priests and pardoners are on full display for all to see. What he can’t figure, he told his lunchtime audience, is why the greater public remains unmoved by the costly peddling of alarmist fantasies, lies, deceits and evasions, not to mention the imposition of unworkable solutions on a non-problem.

However there is hope, he said, as even the warmists’ altar boys in the media must be getting “a little nervy” that none of the prophesied climate catastrophes their breathless reporting so confidently endorsed have yet come to pass, nor do they appear ever likely to do so.

Click here to purchase Alan Moran’s
Climate Change: Treaties and Policies in the Trump Era

“Authorities said things would happen, like the onset of dengue fever and Tim Flannery’s dried-up dams,” Bolt noted. “Well the dams haven’t dried, [Melbourne’s are] more than two-thirds full. On the strength of that expert advice – Flannery is actually a mammologist – most capitals have spent billions to create idled desal plants.

“This suits the Greens, who don’t want new dams either. The Mitchell River catchment was created for a new dam and then was deliberately converted into a national park to thwart any dam,” he continued, referencing as his source Victoria’s former deputy-premier John Thwaites, a Labor man, who also served at Gaia’s altar as the minister for weather, akaclimate change.

Bolt also instanced the IPCC/UN prediction of 50 million climate refugees by 2010. “We’re still waiting to see them. One bloke has claimed climate refugee status and the NZ courts threw him out.”

The tall tale that polar bears would soon be extinct was all the rage a decade ago, he noted, with Al Gore’s omnibus collection of lies and distortions, An Inconvenient Truth, using animations of drowning bears to make its spurious point (and the failed presidential candidate a pile of money). That myth, only this week put to rest once and for all by the news that ursus maritinus is doing just fine, thank you, was inspired by nothing more than the observation from a low-flying plane of four drowned and floating bears that perished after a storm. Naturally the ABC, keen as always to push climate shock and horror, went big on the story at the time. Coca-Cola was moved to “raise awareness”, as they say, by putting polar bear images on cans and bottles, the scare culminating in George W. Bush putting the creatures on the endangered species list. The reality is that polar bear populations overall are thriving, but the non-story remains largely impervious to fact and reason. Indeed, even in December, as researchers were finalising the latest and most comprehensive paper to date on the robust health of polar bear populations, the ABC continued to feature its fake news about polar bears’ looming extinction.

Bolt noted that Moran’s book covers al the other massive fictions and scares, including acid rain, the health of the Antarctic ecosystem and whale numbers. The explanation for those myths longevity is quite simple: absent the panic, those armies of second-rate “scientists” and crusading academics, the rent-seekers, podium hogs and publicity hounds might have to find real work and other sourcs of income. There would be no more turning left when entering jetliners bound for all-expenses-paid international conferences and gabfests where hollow pieties, rather than facts, are the currency of participants. An astonishing 40,000 devotees of room service and free travel tripped to the Paris climate  jamboree in 2015, which makes one think admiringly of the Medici popes, who had the good sense not to parade their mistresses while preaching chastity. But climate “experts”, such as the high-school dropout Leonardo DiCaprio, see no such need as they instruct the world to cut emissions, then climb aboard private jets propelled no less by fossil fuels than their galloping hypocrisy.

morans bookThe reality is that the expensive green energy touted by such people will cause the poor and pensioners to endure unaffordable heating and cooling bills, potentially a lethal issue. As if to confirm Bolt’s point, that very same day Fairfax Media was exploring on its Domain website another aspect of the damage green theology is wreaking. Residents of high-rise apartments, Fairfax informed visitors to the site, will be hardest hit in a future plagued by inevitable South Australia-style power shortages. As if to confirm Bolt’s point about self-evident truths ignored, that same report went on to quote yet another, er, expert, Matt Mushalik of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, to the effect that people would be climbing endless flights of stairs because “few of the existing towers ever invest in renewable energy to make up for shortfalls”. The naked emperor wiggles his craggy bottom and, once again, his green courtiers acclaim cellulite as the richest and most exquisite royal velvet.

Not that apartment dwellers will be alone in their inconvenience, as the burden and imposition go well beyond the exertion of mounting 30 flights of stairs. BHP-Billiton, for example, has said South Australia’s excess energy costs have amounted to $US105 million at Olympic Dam alone, prompting a freeze on plans to expand operations at the site and the jobs that would have gone with it.

“Real money! Real jobs! Incredible!” marvelled Bolt. “Anti-warming measures have cost Australia far more than warming has ever done. Not just lost jobs and lost investment but the huge distraction of the government and bureaucracy from real issues like Aboriginal disadvantage. It’s been a shocking corruption of the public process.”

Yet even as the Liberal Party finally recognises that policies have to shift, it continues to make power systems more expensive while driving businesses to the wall. As today’s Australian Financial Review reports (paywalled):

Hardware manufacturer Alchin Long Group in Sydney’s west has had to agree to a near-doubling of its electricity price and may rethink plans to shift work back to Australia from China as a result, said Graham Lee, national operations manager. The price of the new two-year contract from Origin Energy has surged from $55.30 per megawatt-hour to $109.70.(emphasis added)

The Liberals’ addled ‘solution’ is to spend yet more taxpayer funds on subsidies in a bid to alleviate the ills sown by previous subsidies to green rent-seekers, which have made the production of baseload, coal-fired electricity uneconomic and unsustainable. If Victoria’s Portland aluminium smelter goes under as a consequence of soaring electricity prices, with the loss of 700 direct jobs and many indirect ones as well, official policy will have turned the now prosperous and pleasant Western District community into a second Moe, the Victorian town infamous for welfare dependency and social malaise. Thousands will be trapped there because house devaluations will prevent them re-buying elsewhere. Government reaction? More subsidies.

In the case of the Hazelwood power station’s imminent shuttering, the official ‘solution’ is to subsidise a skyhook technology, carbon capture and storage (CCS), which has worked nowhere else in the world. Unless Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has endorsed the expenditure of yet more millions to develop CCS, and his ministers are entirely brain-dead, they will know in their private conversations that CCS is folly on gold-plated stilts. Yet none dare raise a public voice against such madness, for such is their fear of being branded abusers of Gaia. The supreme irony, the great testament to such cowardice and craven fecklessness, is that those inner-suburban green/left critics will never vote for the Coalition no matter what they do.

Mathias Cormann, for one, knows it is all rubbish and has argued against the renewable energy targets (RET), Bolt said. Yet people like the finance minister now argue that scrapping those mandated goals would raise the spectre of sovereign risk and, as a consequence, prompt a strike of overseas investment. The notion that a healthy, growing economy powered by cheap energy might more than compensate seems never to have occurred to them.

“The final insanity is that, even if CO2 warming were real and dangerous, all the vast spending on emission cuts, and plans to spend more, will achieve no detectable reduction of future warming,” Bolt said.

“If every emitting country adhered to its Paris non-binding commitments,[i] on the IPCC’s own formula, global temperature over the rest of the century would lower by a trivial 0.168degC. Is it worth it? If politicians think it is, I would like them to say so.

“They all know the emperor is naked,” Bolt concluded, “but not one of them has the guts to tell you so.”

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

 


[i] The Paris agreement allows China to raise emissions by 50%, and India to double emissions. The fourth-biggest emitter, Russia, is also permitted large increases.

Chicken Littles Clucking About Trump

TONY THOMAS

Swapping leftist absurdities over coffee is every fashionable nitwit’s democratic right, and fair enough too. What isn’t fair is that taxpayers must underwrite Geraldine Doogue’s faux profundities, not to mention those of her latest Saturday Extra guest

chicken microphone IIMirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the most ardent ABC Leftist of them all? What a tough question! Such a crowded field of candidates, parading their green-left credentials day and night!  The ABC Act (1983) does include the provision that our taxpayer-funded national broadcaster gather and present news and information impartially, but who cares about silly old legislation?

Anyway, I won’t keep you in suspense. My Captain’s Pick for ABC Leftist laurels is Geraldine Doogue, host of ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra, who also hosts ABC TV’s Compass[1].

Her 15-minute 7.30am session last Saturday (Feb 25) was about what a fascist Donald Trump is.[2] Doogue’s interviewee was London University literature academic Sarah Churchwell[3], whose views of Trump-as-fascist were never contradicted and, indeed, sometimes topped by Doogue’s own hyperbolic contributions. In fact Doogue and Churchwell – billed by her university as “one of the UK’s most prominent academics” — spent their 15 minutes competing to paint Trump in direst hues.

Churchwell is still traumatised by the defeat of her idol, Hillary Clinton. As she wrote for the Guardian (UK), “Stop suggesting that Clinton failed us. The truth is, we failed her.”

Doogue sought out Churchwell because of another Guardian article headed, ‘It will be called Americanism’: the US writers who imagined a fascist future”. Churchwell had gone looking for literary references to fascist dictators (e.g. in Orwell’s 1984 and Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism) and claimed they all presaged the arrival of fascist President Trump.

Doogue lauded Churchwell’s lame attempt at a knife-job as both “fresh” and “clever”. Inspired, Doogue went looking herself for literary allusions to fascists and regaled her radio audience with them, sometimes giggling about the parallels with certain recent events (the Trump presidency is now all of five weeks old, let it be remembered).

Here’s a sample from Doogue’s Saturday Extra interview:

Doogue:   You look at comments including Vice-President Henry Wallace quoted in a 1944 article, about American fascism. Quote, “…a Fascist  is someone whose lust for money and power is combined with such intensity of intolerance towards other races, parties, classes, regions or nations, as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.” 

It’s a pretty devastating old quote. You don’t think Trump is a fascist though really?

Churchwell: Yes actually I think he is. I do, I do.

Doogue: Oh you do! OK!

Churchwell:  That description is a very good description. I think Trump is a fascist in the strict sense of the term, a lot more like Mussolini than he is like Hitler.

Doogue: (enthusiastically) or Berlusconi, it  is a very interesting comparison actually.”[4]

Churchwell:  Absolutely! Elements of plutocracy, elements of corruption, he [Trump] is  authoritarian, he has no interest or respect for democracy as a democratic process. He thinks anyone who disagrees with him is not a real voter, and should be in jail. That is a pretty good litmus test for fascism.

Churchwell then cites a checklist by author Umberto Eco about what constituted Italian pre-war fascism, and continues, re Trump, “Yes, reading through it, Tick!  Tick! Tick! Tick!”

Later, Doogue quotes meaningfully from a 2004 novel The Plot Against America by Philip Roth:

To have enslaved America with this hocus-pocus! To have captured the mind of the world’s greatest nation without uttering a single word of truth! Oh, the pleasure we must be affording the most malevolent man on earth!” 

Doogue had a little simper at that, then continued to encourage Churchwell:

Doogue: “You have a few examples of writers imagining the future where alternative facts — what we are told is fake news — sometimes basically outright lying, is at the centre of the rise of the autocrat. Again you say  we should not be surprised.

Churchwell: Yes I think that is right; people recognised that was why this was always going to  work — propaganda was crucial.

Churchwell wafted along to an obscure 1942 Katherine Hepburn film, Keeper of the Flame, in which Hepburn’s character marries a popular politician who is a covert fascist. One of his plots for a US takeover is planting fake stories in newspapers to stir up revolts. Churchwell says, This is the media. It  will be central to any (inaudible – either ‘fashion of’ or ‘fascist’ )  project”.[5]

Doogue respondsAnd the point is these were a few private individuals to whom money didn’t mean anything anymore but who wanted political power. Gosh I wonder who that sounds like, heh heh heh!

In her introductory riff about Churchwell, Doogue incorrectly attributes to a New York Timesreporter a 1938 warning, “When and if fascism comes to America, it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany’, it will not be marked with a swastika, it will not even be called fascism. It will be called, of course, Americanism.”

Doogue: “Now whatever your view is, one thing is certainly under way, millions of Americans and those beyond  are trying to discern what is the true nature of current developments in the US. Can literature help?  

Well, people are voting with their feet to some extent — 1984, Sinclair Lewis, Hannah Arendt, all apparently are back on the top reading lists as people search for answers and solutions.”

Churchwell: You go back and you look at some of the things they said in America during the rise of European fascism, that are terrifyingly apt, they could have been written today.

Churchwell cites the 1935 Sinclair Lewis novel It Can‘t Happen Here, warning how American democracy could give way to a fascist leader:

And again it looks like a lot of what was said in the novel could be written about Trump…That is an aspect of American fascism that was really important;  it has a corporate tinge to it, about providing government of the profit, for the profit,  by the profit.”

Churchwell is really clever, isn’t she![6] She then again quotes Sinclair Lewis

Churchwell: ‘When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross’, and as I was re-reading these novels, I think that it will also have a dollar bill. It is religion, it is patriotism and it is about saying  this will be all about  everyone getting rich.”

Doogue is not to be outdone and has a quote of her own from some Der Spiegel journalist “in  a very big article”, she says.  This think-piece on Trump adviser Steve Bannon was, Doogue says, “deeper than a discussion about current politics,  with a real sense of worrying about  the state of the Judeo-Christian ethic in the US among the cosmopolitan elites,  and actually aligning  with elements of purity and orthodoxy in Russia! Can you see that deeper strand running through any of the literature you have examined?”

After some waffle, Churchwell says,

“Fascism in America has always been recognised as something  that would come with a religious  cast, have an evangelical  flavor to it, which a lot of Americans have responded to…”

The two ladies then make much of Trump posing by a big portrait of himself after winning the Republican nomination. They agree, using their unique psychic powers, that Trump had been inspired by his favorite film Citizen Kane (1941). Director Orson Welles in turn was showing that Kane was in sync with past European fascists who used similar posters.

“People were appalled; why on earth would he [Trump] set himself up to look like a fascist?”Churchwell exclaims. Apart from big portraits now being a mainstay of political campaigning, this doubly-extended analogy seems a stretch.[7]

Doogue, winding down, thinks their analysis of Trump “makes for an interesting way of trying to examine what  is under way. We have not even talked about McCarthyism or Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale.”

This had me wondering to where Doogue would take an excursion into Trump and McCarthyism. As for the Handmaid’s Tale, it is “Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government. (The) dystopian novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency.”

The ABC guidelines on impartiality run to a truly massive 4041 words. The bit I found eerily prescient (to use Doogue-speak) was the sub-head,  “Impartiality – what could possibly go wrong?”[8]

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


[1] Doogue’s personal and subjective perspective is also a feature of Compass. As her September 4, 2016 show had it,

“Are the Brexit vote, the Trump phenomenon and the resurgence of One Nation all signs that democracy and capitalism are under pressure and failing to deliver? If so, what can we do to build a fairer more equitable system?” 

[2] The ABC blurbed it, “George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four; Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here and Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism are back on the top reading lists as people seek insights into to Donald Trump’s America.”

[3]  Churchwell  is professor of American Literature and Public Understanding of the Humanities, and director of the Being Human festival at the University of London.

[4] Silvio Berlusconi was scandal-plagued Italian prime minister from 2008-11. He was convicted of soliciting a minor for sex but this was overturned on appeal.

[5] The transcript is my own

[6] Churchwell was not referring to “prophet” because she had also introduced the word “profiteering”

[7] Churchwell seems to have visions of Trump-style concentration camps for intellectuals like herself.  She has re-tweeted,

Sarah Churchwell Retweeted Arthur Goldhammer

“Funny how many academics, writers, and intellectuals the Trump administration has already encouraged CBP [Customs and Border Police) to ‘mistakenly detain.’ ‪#resist

[8] Sure, Doogue’s next respectful interview on Saturday Extra might be with a die-hard Trump fan who also elaborates on the numerous reasons why Clinton is nicknamed “Crooked Hillary”. But I doubt it.

Spy v Spy in Australia

February 28th 2017 print

TONY THOMAS

Moscow gold or comedy gold? At this distance in time, it’s possible to enjoy the Cold War in Australia as entertainment, even if it was rather serious for forty years.

A bad habit of communist parents in the 1940s was to name their infant sons after Joseph Stalin. An Adelaide friend of mine, Joe Lane, who now does archival research on Aboriginal history, was named after Stalin. A worse case was Patrick Brislan, who became a distinguished player of the tenor horn. Pat’s father Tom in 1940 registered his new infant as Patrick Stalin Brislan. Patrick was mortified whenever asked officially for his full name. After Stalin died in 1953, “he lived on in my middle name”, Pat laments. It was not until he was nearly eighteen that his father changed the middle name officially from Stalin to Sean.

It could be said that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was over-diligent in pursuit of communists. In the November 1950 ASIO file on the feminist Lucy Woodcock is this report: “Mrs Reed very militant, active … Son Johnathon (4½ years old) an active school propagandist … Organises groups away from teacher’s grasp.”

ASIO so riddled the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) with agents that in the 1960s they comprised 10 to 20 per cent of total party membership. ASIO mobilised them to stir up rancour during the Sino-Soviet split in 1963. They would call for party-room debate and then some would take a pro-Soviet line and others a pro-China line.

Another operation, coded “Curried Chicken”, involved ASIO encouraging a wide group of supporters to write letters to the editors of newspapers, supporting ASIO and condemning the CPA. In Perth, two ASIO agents in the CPA, to curry favour with party bosses, were writing to the newspaper supporting the CPA, while other ASIO contacts were orchestrating letters attacking the CPA. None of these letters were published, so “Curried Chicken” was a waste of time.

In the 1950s, through no fault of its own, ASIO found itself with four agents in the Australian-China Society in Brisbane, none of whom were aware of the others. This came about because all four had been infiltrated into the CPA in Brisbane. The party had then selected them to join the small Australian-China Society branch and turn it into a party front. ASIO exfiltrated three of them to other tasks, taking the view that one agent was sufficient for promoting Australia-China friendship.

Mark Aarons is the son of one-time CPA president Laurie Aarons. Mark’s ASIO file started when he was thirteen, when cunning ASIO agents acquired his entry forms for the 100 and 220-yard races at a young communists’ sports carnival. By the time he finished high school in 1969, his file had reached 300 pages, and ASIO operators were conducting spoiling operations against his girlfriends.

I particularly like the way ASIO agents tripped up the CPA’s top-secret leadership school in the bush outside Sydney in 1958. The CPA was annoyed with ASIO’s penetration of its regular meeting places, and bought a property at Minto which it re-birthed as the “Bush Lovers Club” for revolutionaries revelling in Georges River eucalypts. ASIO kept a watching brief on the bush-lovers, who included at least one of their own agents. On a Sunday night, ASIO launched “Operation Black Snake” as a spoiler for an important Marx School seminar on the Monday public holiday.

Agents Ron Richards and Max Monkhouse drove to Minto with specially-prepared signage: “Communist Training School, 10 miles.” They attached these signs to existing street signs on the way in. ASIO telephone taps later found one party member congratulating Eric Aarons, then secretary of the CPA’s South Coast District, on this help with directions. Aarons was nonplussed and the member said, “It is very nice—nice big letters in black and white. The Main Roads put it up I think. It is very handy. I have been trying to find that place.” ASIO tipped off the press, but party president Richard Dixon denied all knowledge of bush-loving Marxists.

The clubhouse, still active in 1971, hosted a weekend conference of anarchists and libertarians. Fifteen of them, including one agent, arrived on Friday night. The agent reported superfluously that Paddy McGuinness (Quadrant editor, 1998 to 2008) was “a big drinker”. He added that the meals were the most “atrocious” he had ever eaten, being “frankfurts camouflaged in three different ways”. The agent continued, “Sex and drugs were blatantly displayed and there were rumours of quite a bit of swapping going on.”

These low-life episodes can be contrasted with a high-life one, or at least a potentially high-life one, from two decades earlier. It involved CPA secretary-general Lance Sharkey. Sharkey was a one-time lift-driver, short, scruffy, stodgy and unsociable. He rose through the CPA ranks before the Second World War as an ardent Stalinist and purveyor of mind-numbing communist dialectics, after occasional setbacks like being tossed into a creek by factory workers during a state election campaign.

While claiming, “We have no personal ties in the Communist Party,” he jostled with Sam Aarons for the hand and other parts of beautiful young member Esme Odgers. Not being a good loser, Sharkey forced her to publish a grovelling Soviet-style self-criticism for the romancing Aarons.

Sharkey would deliver anti-Semitic rants during rum-fuelled binges, which didn’t go down well with the Aarons clan, and at one large CPA gathering he fell on his face dead drunk. He generated his own personality cult, including such improbabilities as “temperate in his habits”.

Nonetheless, in the run-up to the young Queen Elizabeth’s 1954 Australian tour, there was press and ASIO speculation: Would Sharkey be given the opportunity to dance with the Queen at the Royal Ball at Sydney Town Hall? The speculation arose because in similar circumstances in London, the Queen had made a point of talking to communists. ASIO warned, “Possibly Communist leaders would like to meet the Queen in order to further their United Front policy.”

For his part, Sharkey did not want to don black-tie and quick-step with Her Majesty while making small talk about the class struggle and social fascists. Au contraire, he warned members to avoid the royal progress to avert any “red scare” stories in the press.

ASIO ran rings around Sharkey. On one occasion he flew to Canberra to pick up from the Soviet embassy some sensitive documents about the latest Soviet party congress. Two ASIO agents were at Sydney Airport’s carpark to tail him on his return. Sharkey drove off to the city but stopped at a betting shop to put some money on a horse. He left one car window slightly down and the agents used a wire to open the door and remove his briefcase with the documents. By day’s end the briefcase was at ASIO’s Melbourne headquarters and Sharkey was perplexed about what happened to it.

CPA security was often woeful. ASIO checked the garbage after one important party national congress and pieced together close to forty documents from scraps that delegates had torn up. Pat Clancy of the Building Workers Industrial Union left his conference notes in his unlocked car while he went to the pub. ASIO agent Ernie Redford nicked them, got them copied at Sydney headquarters and put them back in the car, with Clancy none the wiser.

An important ASIO target was Sharkey’s secretary Jessie Grant, who was also a central committee member. When ASIO noticed that she was drinking and playing darts regularly at a local hotel, it sought a “darts champion” among ASIO staff to insert at the hotel. While ASIO people had many talents, darts was not one of them and the plan had to be dropped.

I mentioned “Moscow gold” earlier. Happening to read Mark Aarons’s memoir The Family File the other day, even I was surprised at the extent of this gold, and its esoteric transmission routes.

In 1952 the CPA suggested to Vladimir Petrov that the Soviets donate US$140,000 (no harm in asking!). Moscow came good with US$25,000 a year later, partly in US$25 banknotes, Petrov told the 1954 Royal Commission on Espionage. Such $25 banknotes had never been printed but the Commissioners accepted that CPA boss Lance Sharkey got the US$25,000 from an embassy official.

In 1958 Laurie Aarons was in Moscow rattling the CPA can for more fraternal funding. “The Soviet comrades were rather bureaucratic and crude in their methods and I wasn’t impressed,” Aarons confided later. Early in 1959 he got a message to be at his Fairfield home at a certain day and time, Laurie’s son Mark Aarons says. The house had a tall paling back fence with double gates and through them came a car that pulled up in the backyard. Out came a Romanian with a suitcase. He went inside with Laurie and they pointedly shut the door. But the handover hit a snag: the suitcase was full of bank­notes, but they were all five-pound sterling notes, almost impossible to change to Australian money. Laurie had to send them back. Eventually a suitcase arrived with Australian pounds. In that year the Soviets paid over $US112,000, a hefty AU£45,000 equivalent.

The Soviets’ golden showers continued in 1961 (either US$168,000 or US$180,000), 1963 (US$80,000) and 1966 (US$130,000). In 1967, Laurie Aarons wheedled a further large sum out of Moscow, despite knowing that the CPA was about to publish criticisms of the Soviet line on the Czechs. “I suppose you could say it [getting the money] was a rather reprehensible thing to do,” he said later, “but frankly I’m proud of it.” The money helped buy the CPA a new national headquarters in Day Street, Sydney. When the pro-Soviets in the CPA split to form the Socialist Party of Australia in 1971, Moscow sent the SPA US$40,000 via the Romanians.

The Chinese chipped in later with a slush fund for their own Australian followers, involving $60,000 in used Australian notes.

In Life of Brian, you can enjoy the sniping among the various Judean People’s Fronts. The spoof hardly touches the sides compared with the real-world Australian communists. Numbering some 3000 in 1980, they had split into eight camps—two in the mainstream, two pro-Soviet, two pro-Beijing, one ultra-Left group of young radicals and a breakaway among the Stalinists.

It was hard for ASIO people in a small city like Canberra to maintain their cover stories about who they worked for. One section’s officers were young, had money and drove nice cars, and neighbours were convinced they were a clandestine group of homosexuals.

Worried about its image, ASIO in 1959 fantasised about a television fiction series starring one of its own as an antipodean James Bond. In at least one respect, sex obsession, ASIO’s later director-general Peter Barbour (1970–75) fitted the Bond mould. According to Molly Sasson, long-time UK and Australian intelligence agent:

He was a tall male with heavy-lidded eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses, often described as having “bedroom eyes”. His conduct did not befit his position. He certainly was not the gentleman that his high office demanded. He was a creepy individual whom I instinctively avoided … He was a very complex character with airs and affairs. He betrayed his office by chronic mismanagement and exploitation of his position for sexual favours. He had a voracious sexual appetite which offended many people’s moral and professional perceptions …

Whitlam sacked Barbour after Barbour returned from a lengthy but unproductive overseas trip reviewing counterpart agencies, accompanied by his beautiful Eurasian secretary.

CPA offices had their own share of pheromones. Perth’s CPA headquarters in London Court had a “Marx & Boon” or maybe “50 Shades of Red” quality. Sam Aarons arrived in Perth as new state boss around 1948, under yet another cloud in the Party over an affair with a young married woman. “I find him totally irresistible,” wrote playwright and party worker Dorothy Hewett:

A passionate, highly intelligent, charismatic man with a glamorous history … He bends me back on the desk in his office, but before we can consummate our affair we are interrupted by the old Party caretaker, locking up for the night.

Sam tells her, “Sharkey has already told me that if there’s any more gossip about me and other women, I’ll be on the outer. He’s had it in for me ever since I stole his girlfriend in Spain.”

Dorothy and Sam lived in a ménage à trois with Sam’s unwitting wife, until Dorothy found another lover while Sam was on Party business in the eastern states.

Molly Sasson worked for ASIO from 1969 to 1983. She arrived to find Canberra headquarters infested with public service sloths in an ambience of complacency, unawareness, inefficiency, indiscipline and incompetence.

Long lunches were followed by afternoon snoozes until knock-off time. Vital intelligence was tossed straight into unlocked drawers and left there for months. Her suggestions for anti-espionage activity were brushed aside as make-work.

One new recruit was an enthusiastic ex-RAAF wing commander. Sasson gave him the job of delivering a highly secret tape in a box to another department. She watched him from the sixth floor dashing to his car, but the tape fell out of the box onto the road. She got the doorman to collect the tape and the wing commander didn’t return till next morning, sheepish and apologetic about losing the tape:

Flying aeroplanes had been his business, distinctly different from this office where very little moved at all. After this episode, some of his eagerness disappeared and he reverted to reading the newspaper in the office, drinking coffee and doing crosswords before lunch. He kept well out of the way of anybody who was likely to give him a job. He had understood it was the safest way to get ahead without upsetting anyone. This was the way to get promoted.

Sasson’s reference to ASIO drawers full of neglected intelligence had its counterpart at Communist Party headquarters in Melbourne. The Party’s captain of security was its control commission leg-man Ernie O’Sullivan, a shuffling snoop who was dedicated, ignorant and paranoid. Like a toothless version of Stalin’s “bloody dwarf”, the later-executed Yezhov, O’Sullivan scribbled semi-literate “unmaskings” of loyal Party members accusing them of being spies and wreckers.

One weekend O’Sullivan, on orders from chairman Ted Hill, came in and removed 100 drawers from party workers’ desks, to check for security breaches. He parked twenty of the bulky drawers at the Surrey Hills home of CPA executive Bernie Taft, and to this day no one knows where the other drawers went. Party workers arrived on Monday and mourned their lost drawers. Over the years, observant visitors wondered why the party’s desks were all drawerless. Bernie Taft, a one-time state executive member, writes: “I suppose O’Sullivan must have thought that, after the revolution, which he confidently expected, he might be able to put the drawers back in our desks.”

Among Party people in the Victorian branch, perhaps the most heroic was the wife of Bernard Heinz Jr (Heinz Sr was assistant secretary with the Building Workers Industrial Union).

The Party in the early 1950s decided to create, yet again, a secret wing that could carry on if the Party got banned. Bernard was nominated to become a “sleeper”. He had to resign from the Party and cut links with all his leftist friends. What’s more, he was told to accommodate a senior Party sleeper plus a printing press in an underground bunker at his suburban home in outer-eastern Melbourne, where he had just settled in with his new wife. The project meant laying a concrete slab and then digging a big hole below for the literally underground operations.

Initially, Party members dropped by to assist in the dig. But not all the workers’ friends have horny hands, and soon Bernard was left to dig unaided. He dug till the 1970s but his important guest and the printing press never turned up.

This was all very well for Bernard and the Party, but what about Mrs Heinz? Did she mind? Apparently, she never complained, at least officially.

A touch of paranoia in Party offices was understandable, given ASIO’s constant bugging and occasional raids in quest of documents. Similarly, some ASIO paranoia was understandable given Ted Hill’s advocacy of caches of buried weapons, armed struggle and protracted guerrilla warfare in the jungles of northern Australia (wherever such “jungles” may be).

The ninth-floor CPA (Vic) headquarters had a drama in 1952 when Hill pressed an alarm button to signal all rooms that an ASIO raid had started. State President Ralph Gibson emptied his person of all useful documents, and ate them. Party functionary Gwladys Bourke could not work out how to get rid of her sensitive financial records. She prepared to dive out the ninth-floor window with them, a human sacrifice to the betterment of the working class. Just in time, she discovered from Hill that the alarm was only a test.

ASIO bugged Hill’s office and in 1956 leased an office on the eighth floor as a listening post for a husband-and-wife team. This office was disguised as a “market research business”. The bogus firm wrote sheafs of letters to overseas suppliers purely to get letters back that would be noticed by the ninth-floor dwellers. Rather cleverly, ASIO technicians made the cable from the ninth floor to the eighth floor twice as long as required. The ASIO woman was listening in when the line went dead because Hill’s people had discovered it, and she had the presence of mind to disconnect the cable and drop it down the wall cavity. The communists measured the cable and deduced that it went to a firm of investigators on the seventh floor. They not only accused the people there of being ASIO agents, but outed the firm in the party newspaper Tribune. ASIO’s “marketing firm” on the eighth floor continued for a couple of months and then quietly closed down.

ASIO’s snoopy coups against Ted Hill were often ingenious, not to mention illegal. In 1972, for example, ASIO specialists created a duplicate secret key to the Melbourne offices of an accounting firm, W. Alexander Boag, in Goodwin Chambers, Flinders Lane. ASIO was then able to enter secretly at will for the next eighteen months to photograph Hill’s tax and financial records. To aid the exercise, ASIO set up an office on the same floor for a front company, Kalamunda Mineral Reserves.

Not all bugging went smoothly. In late 1960, ASIO bugged the home of two of its main agents in the CPA in Sydney, in the hope of listening in to social conversations there with CPA leaders. There was a microphone in the lounge room wired to a tape recorder in a cardboard box under a workbench in the garage. But as David Horner puts it in Volume One of ASIO’s history:

Unfortunately, dogs destroyed the wires that ran under the house, rats chewed the tape in the garage, wood shavings fell from the workbench onto the recorder, and the fluorescent light in the lounge room interfered with the recording. Nothing of intelligence value was gained …

ASIO never lacked ingenuity. For example, it needed covert photos of communists among Labour Day marchers in Brisbane, but its subjects were facing the wrong way from the camera post. On a pre-arranged signal, an ASIO officer lit a big cracker behind the crowd. All heads turned towards the bang, and the cameramen got their snaps.

ASIO ranks were not solidly conservative. At least one ASIO officer bravely joined the Vietnam Moratorium march in Adelaide in 1970 as a supporter rather than an agent. Instead of getting into trouble, he got knowing looks from the special branch police, who assumed he was “on the job”.

One of ASIO’s constant problems was agents’ expense claims. Its all-time prolific plant was Czech immigrant Max Wechsler (code-named Bosch), who generated 702 reports from 1973 to 1975, meeting his handlers initially thrice-weekly and then every weekday. He passed through communist and Trotskyist security barriers as if they didn’t exist. On February 21, 1973, according to historian Dr Phil Deery, during a single day, Wechsler, then twenty-three, applied to join the CPA, was accepted and was given the task of answering the phone on behalf of Party president John Sendy. Wechsler also acquired the part-time job of cleaner for the Party offices. Penetration doesn’t get any better than that.

However, ASIO had failed to notice that Wechsler’s wife in 1972 had been convicted in Brisbane on thirteen forgery and theft charges as a result of her infatuation with slow horses. Wechsler successfully conned ASIO into lending him $300 in June 1973 to buy a motorbike “to improve his agent role”, but he sold the bike for $200 in a fit of desperation over his wife’s continued losses.

His ASIO pay within two years shot from $10 a month (plus expenses) to $90. He was living better than he should as the Party’s cleaner on $18 a week, and ASIO had to tell him to stop taking taxis. He was also instructed, being “impoverished”, to badger the Party for a pay rise. At one point the ASIO Assistant Director-General noted: “This file is becoming cluttered up with the financial dealings with [Wechsler]. I thought that when the last request was made, this would be the end.”

Wechsler eventually turned rogue and in 1975 sold the story of his exploits to the Sunday Observer for $2000. The newspaper made the mistake of hiding Wechsler at the Wrest Point hotel and casino, where he went on a further spending and gambling binge at the newspaper’s expense.

Wechsler was not the only Eastern Bloc ASIO recruit with personality problems. In 1960 Dezio Rapaics, a former Hungarian general, demanded to see Lord Casey, who had just retired as Minister for External Affairs. The ASIO man present reported that General Rapaics virulently attacked the security service because one of its members had called him a “chap”. “I am not a chap,” Rapaics protested to Casey. “I am a Knight and a General, and I come from aristocracy. I am a member of the Liberal Party in your [Casey’s] district—you know my son-in-law …”

Party membership did not preclude people from becoming part of the establishment. George Zangalis was a full-time organiser for the CPA from 1961 to 1969, then a central committee member, CPA candidate for Brunswick in the 1973 state elections, and president of the communist-controlled Railways Union. With such a background, he was selected in the early 1980s for the ABC’s State and National Advisory Councils and the SBS Board. “Choosing Zangalis for the national council was a sign that the new board wanted to cast its net wide in the search for counsel from the ABC’s audience,” Ken Inglis wrote in Whose ABC?

Zangalis in his early years with the Party was nearly undone by a spelling mistake. He recalled painting “Out with Fascism” signs one night in 1950 on the Russell Street walls of the Queen Victoria Women’s Hospital in Melbourne. “We did the job all right, we thought, but when looking back we realised we had left the ‘c’ out of ‘fascism’. We rushed back to correct it and the cops promptly got us, brushes, paints and all.”

Quadrant readers like a happy ending, and I can supply one from Mark Aarons’s Family File. In 1988, when the CPA/ASIO struggles were over, Laurie Aarons got a friendly “Dear Laurie” letter from his ASIO opposite number, former head of counter-espionage Michael Thwaites:

You may be surprised to hear from me, in view of our former occupations. But I recently heard your interesting interview with Caroline Jones in the ABC series The Search for Meaning, and found myself in agreement with much of what you had to say. Your rejection of a society in which money becomes the measure of all things, is particularly timely. The book which you said you are writing could be a valuable contribution just now … A change in human motivation seems to be the need everywhere. Good luck with your book.

Thwaites’s son Richard confirmed to Mark Aarons in 2009 that he had read Laurie’s reply to Richard’s late father: “I was quite moved by it, knowing the sincere beliefs that had divided our respective fathers along ideological lines, while they shared similar underlying hopes for humanity …”

Tony Thomas includes many Quadrant essays on the Cold War in his book That’s Debatable: 60 Years in Print (Connor Court, 2016).

 

The Climate Cult’s Blackout Brigade

They perch and preen atop their grants, sinecures and self-regard, forever predicting planetary doom unless their addled sermons are heeded and the carbon-spewing sins of our modern world are expiated. When your lights next go out, blame them and the politicians on whose teats they suckle

co2 smokeAs Australia’s electricity systems slide towards unreliability and more blackouts – half a dozen so far, at last count –  let’s pin the responsibility on the true culprits: activist climate “scientists” peddling their dodgy CO2 alarm and insane zero-emission targets.

At their forefront is the climate cabal within the Australian Academy of Science, our peak science organisation.  In  2015, speaking for the Academy, they blithely recommended to the federal government that Australia embarks on “significant, urgent and sustained” emissions cuts. Their desired 2030 scenario — which remains the Academy’s policy — is for  CO2 emission cuts 30-40% below 2000 levels, en route to the Academy’s desired zero- emissions regime by 2050.

I emailed the Academy the following questions about its submission:

1. I don’t see any costing of the Academy’s 2030 and 2050 targets. Can you provide me with best estimates or something on costings anyway — I assume the report authors did some work on that.

2. I don’t see any breakdown of Academy targets into solar, wind, coal, nuclear, hydro, whatever. Can you assist me by detailing such breakdowns?

3. The report has little/nothing to say about how a reliable base load electricity system will operate on your 2030 and 2050 scenarios. In light of recent events, does the Academy have any suggestions on how blackouts will be avoided as Australia moves to the desired RE [renewable energy] targets?

Th reply:

“The Academy has a broad brief across the sciences. Its Fellows step up in a voluntary capacity to write documents such as this… We don’t have the in-house expertise or resources to answer your detailed questions.”

This reply went on to list the contributors to the Academy’s submission, namely Dr John A Church FAA FTSE FAMS;

Dr Ian Allison AO; Professor Michael Bird FRSE; Professor Matthew England FAA; Professor David Karoly FAMS FAMOS; Professor Jean PalutikofProfessor Peter Rayner; and Professor Steven Sherwood.

The Academy of Science itself admits that it lacks the “in-house expertise or resources” to explain why it wants to destroy the country’s electricity security and raise the price of power to all Australians. But wow, it’s great at puffing itself. The same cabal that is clueless about the real-world impacts of its emissions recommendations bragged in their 2015 submission:

“The Academy promotes scientific excellence, disseminates scientific knowledge, and provides independent scientific advice for the benefit of Australia and the world… The Academy would be pleased to provide further information or explanation on any of the points made in this submission.” (My emphasis. But the Academy wimped out when I actually asked for such information).

The Academy has form in pandering to green nostrums.

  • It sponsored and helped bankroll its Fenner Conference on the Environment at UNSW in 2014, themed as “Addicted to Growth? How to move to a Steady State Economy in Australia.” The flier compared the pursuit of economic growth to “the ideology of the cancer cell”.[1] Some speakers urged economic contraction and drops in living standards of up to 90%.[2]
  •  It trumpeted its divestment of shareholdings in supposedly-abhorrent fossil fuel companies in 2015, although the Academy  HQ in Canberra continues to enjoy unprincipled use of fossil-fuel-powered electricity. The Academy lumps in coal-related outfits like Rio Tinto with its other pariah companies in gambling, tobacco, the sex trade, and napalm production.
  • The Academy swept under the rug a damning 2010 audit of the IPCC by the 15-nation InterAcademy Council, although its then-president, Kurt Lambeck, played an important role in the audit process.[3] An Academy office-bearer justified its non-disclosure in an email:“Needless to say, any adverse findings do great damage to the credibility of climate scientists as a whole, especially in the current climate of almost religious opposition to the acceptance of climate change science.”
  • The Academy authored and promulgated climate lessons for high-schoolers, urging them to embrace green activism and political lobbying. Teachers were advised, in all seriousness, to “ask [15-16 year old] students if they have ever taken action or advocated for a cause. Do they know of anyone who has?” The teens were also asked,“Which is more effective, science awareness or advocacy, when it comes to generating 
community action? What cause would you sign up for?”
  • The Academy’s  latest chief executive is Anna-Maria Arabia, formerly Federal Labor Party adviser and climate activist, with a track record of seeking suppression of “denier” views.  She was director of policy/principal adviser to Bill Shorten for three years, earlier spending half a decade as adviser to Kim Beazley and Anthony Albanese.

The Academy  believes that global warming can be explained and predicted by using CO2 emissions as a control knob – turn up the knob (CO2 emissions) and warming occurs proportionately. This childishly-simple relationship enables the climate scientists to imagine CO2 “budgets” and use them to hypothetically keep global warming to some magic 2degC limit. Any other climate complexities, such as multiple superimposed ocean temperature cycles, cosmic rays, or 1000 other factors as yet only sketchily understood, are deemed irrelevant to global-warming forecasting.

This type of thinking fits what eminent Princeton atomic physicist Will Happer described last week as “cult” mentality. Happer said, “It’s like Hare Krishna or something like that. They’re glassy-eyed and they chant. It will potentially harm the image of all science.”[4]

The Academy’s eight authors are also in love with the idea that because Australia is a rich country, it should be first to make sacrifices to its living standards, while so-called “developing” countries like (nuclear-armed) China, India and Pakistan enjoy a holiday to crank out emissions without restraint.[5] The submission cites approvingly “the common but differentiated responsibilities of nations” – this being code from  the UN’s Third World corruptocrats for handing them the developed world’s wealth. The Academy also imagines that “it is in our national interest” to show “international leadership” on emissions cuts. These  dubious and self-damaging propositions are political not science-related and the Academy squanders its intellectual/scientific capital by canvassing them.[6]

Another characteristic of the Academy’s climate scientists is to assume that more global warming will be a bad thing. It will bring, their submission says, more and worse extreme weather, degrade farm output, drown Asian megacities from sea-level rise (if so, when? In 2200?), drown low-lying tropical islands (Charles Darwin scotched that idea in 1837) and, of course, kill the Great Barrier Reef, which mysteriously survived several comparable warming episodes in the  past 10,000 years.

Reality checks

  • The Academy’s “extreme weather” meme is not, in broad terms, even endorsed by the IPCC’s 5th report. The most comprehensive study to date, published last week, “found that the frequency of hail storms, thunderstorms and high wind events has decreased by nearly 50 percent on average throughout China since 1960.”
  •  The less than 1degC of global warming in the past 150 years has been accompanied by record output of food crops, sufficient to feed a global population increased by 2.5 billion  in the past 30 years. With the global food import bill at a six-year low, the amazing rise in crop productivity shows no sign of stalling. Another 1degC of warming would seem, on past form, an excellent thing for food output for the world’s under-nourished.
  • The fertilizing effect of our emissions-caused CO2 increase has greened the planet, creating the vegetative equivalent of two continental United States. What’s the Academy got to say about that?

The Academy-eight’s submission cited only six external papers, one of them co-authored by a “R.K. Pachauri” (who happens to be devoid of science qualifications). Rajendra Pachauri resigned abruptly as IPCC chair in February 2015 (three months before the Academy submission citing him) after a 29-year-old female subordinate at his TERI think-tank  alleged the 75-year-old  had spent the previous 15 months pursuing and sexually harasing her.[7] Soon after, New Delhi police charged the Academy-cited author with molestation, stalking, sexual harassment and criminal intimidation. His initial and wildly improbable defence (later abandoned) was that some “climate enemy” had hacked his phone, computer and whatsapp account to send the woman all those dirty texts and lurid suggestions.[8]

For those in the Academy who would claim Pachauri’s sex obsessions are nothing to do with his IPCC work, please note that while chairing the 37th IPCC plenary in Batumi, Georgia, in 2013, attended by 229 politicians from 92 countries, Pachauri was surreptitiously firing off come-hither notes to his outraged and much put-upon staffer. Prosecutors are yet to have their charges against him tested in the notoriously slow and corruptible Indian courts.

Another of the meagre citations in the Academy’s submission is to a report on “Deep Decarbonisation in 2050” from the Monash/Myer ClimateWorks think-tank (2014) and authored by sundry Climateworks, CSIRO and ANU warmist fanatics.

This document posits a $60 per tonne carbon price by 2020 (current price on European markets, five Euros). The carbon price would rise thereafter by more than 4% a year to 2050, at which happy date Australians will supposedly  bask in unprecedented riches and affordable electricity per capita, along with  zero thermal coal usage.

Climateworks outlines a scenario in which, thanks to “very strong abatement incentives” i.e. subsidies,  cars by 2050 are running on electricity and hydrogen, while trucks, planes and mining machinery are powered largely by biofuels. (The authors also hope to see a return to wooden buildings, rather than old-fashioned brick, steel and concrete). The implications include that Australia would need to plant in the very broad vicinity of between 600,000 hectares and 1.7 million every year of forestry for carbon credits and biomass.[9] Needless to say, the  Science Academy’s climate team took the document seriously, although it more resembles a Greens senator’s wet dream.

A third citation in the Academy submission of  Professor Lesley Hughes, David Karoly et al is to an IPCC document on Australasian warming which, just coincidentally, happens to have been lead-authored by Professor Lesley Hughes and reviewed by David Karoly.

The main citation, however, is to the Academy’s own 2015 booklet, “The science of climate change: Questions and answers”. One of that document’s remarkable feature (citation 45) is the trust it places in Michael Mann’s notorious and discredited 2000-year ‘Hockey Stick’ temperature reconstruction.

The document’s main surprise is that the Academy imagines output of climate models constitutes “compelling evidence” that human-caused CO2 increases are warming the planet.[10]  In fact, the model outputs are “compelling evidence” of nothing other than the assumptions and tweaks chosen by the modellers, such as inordinately-high sensitivity of temperature to CO2 increases. This, and the satellite-measured 18 years of warming hiatus,  have led to models over-forecasting recent warming two- or threefold, and to the IPCC’s acknowledgement that 111 out of 114 model runs have exaggerated actual warming. Yet so-called predictions from these models out to 2100 are the basis for the Academy wanting trillion-dollar decarbonising of the world’s energy usage and prolonged energy poverty for the Third World.

Even more absurdly, the Academy booklet’s “proof” of man-made CO2 warming is that climate models are supposedly poor with 150-year hindcasts (recreation of past temperature trends) when only “natural” influences are included, but more accurate when human CO2 outputs are included.[11]

The reality is that modellers have no idea about the impact of a host of natural and crucial variables such as cloud feedback effects. The IPCC in its 2007 report listed more than a dozen climate forcing factors for which it rated scientific understanding as “Medium to Low”, “Low” or “Very Low”.  In several key passages, the IPCC acknowledged serious defects in the models.[12]Yet the Australian Academy, despite its normal fawning over IPCC findings, continues to assume the models are more or less perfect.

This misplaced trust allows the  Academy to claim that juxtaposing pairs of (flawed and unvalidated) models can   “prove” CO2 impacts. It’s a mystery how the so-called climate scientists have hoodwinked the world with such nonsense for decades.

A particularly lame and incestuous line in the Academy Q&A document reads, “Some models predict that, when the current slowdown [ie warming hiatus] ends, renewed warming will be rapid.” Flip to the citations (No. 87) and you discover that the document co-author Matthew England is citing is his own 2014 paper, which purports to explain away the hiatus with modelled stuff about Pacific trade wind changes pushing heat into the ocean – one of more than 60 different and often contradictory hypotheses to date on the “pause”.[13]

Instead of sledging each other over renewables target levels, the political parties would benefit from auditing the climate science behind the targets – and discovering that it’s tainted and threadbare. And in the case of the Academy of Science, it’s activism.

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


[1] As 95% of Academy Fellows live off the taxpayer, the Academy presumably took the view that the vast unemployment  from a no-growth economy would be other people’s problem.

[2] “(P)resent rich world levels of consumption are grossly unsustainable and we will probably have to reduce them by something like 90% if we are to achieve a sustainable and just world. Most people concerned about the state of the planet don’t seem to realise how huge the changes would have to be.” Ted Trainer, quoted by speaker Haydn Washington.

[3] The InterAcademy Council, representing 15 national science academies, found “significant shortcomings in each major step [i.e. every major step] of IPCC’s assessment process”.

[4] A classic “cultist” example, also common in Australia, is claiming that any unusual weather event – such as the Californian drought – is linked to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The Californian drought has been overtaken in the past month or two by torrential rain. The more brazen climate “scientists” are now trying to link that rain to AGW as well.

[5] China plans for its emissions not even to peak until 2030. In the three years to 2020, it will add  coal-fired electricity generation equivalent to the entire electricity generation of Canada.

[6] The Academy submission is not 100% loopy as it acknowledges (twice) that “it is not possible to avoid all climate change”. Congrats, guys, on that profundity.

[7] “I feel broken and scarred in body and mind due to Dr. Pachauri’s behavior and actions. I get frequent panic attacks due to the constant harassment and being made to feel like an object of vulgar desire from this man, who is old enough to be my grandfather … I was very scared of losing my reputation and employment if I complained to anyone.” 

One of Pachauri’s messages reads: “I find it now very difficult to hug you. What haunts me are your words from the last time that I ‘grabbed’ your body. That would apply to someone who would want to molest you. I loved you in the soul, mind, heart…”

[8] The Academy-cited Pachauri previously published a sari-ripping novel, Return to Almora, featuring orgies, masturbation and unsettling descriptions of sex with reluctant women.

[9] Climateworks: “The analysis suggests that the total biofuel use would amount to about 15GL in 2050, which is equivalent to about 44 percent of today’s domestic petroleum refining capacity.”

[10] The Academy: “Together with physical principles and knowledge of past variations, models provide compelling evidence that recent changes are due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. They tell us that, unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced greatly and greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilised, greenhouse warming will continue to increase.”

[11]  The Academy: “Models can successfully reproduce the observed warming over the last 150 years when both natural and human influences are included, but not when natural influences act alone. This is both an important test of the climate models against observations and also a demonstration that recent observed global warming results largely from human rather than natural influences on climate.”

[12] (a)       ”There may also be a contribution from forcing inadequacies and, in some models, an overestimate of the response to increasing greenhouse gas and other anthropogenic forcing (dominated by the effects of aerosols).” [WG I SPM, section D.1, page 15, bullet point 2, and full Synthesis Report on page SYR-8).

(b) “This difference between simulated [i.e. model output] and observed trends could be caused by some combination of (a) internal climate variability, (b) missing or incorrect radiative forcing and (c) model response error”. (WGI contribution, chapter 9, text box 9.2, page 769)

[13] Rather than vainly trying to account for the pause, “pause-buster” climate people at America’s NOAA now alter past data to remove the pause from the climate record.

COMMENTS [2]

  1. Peter OBrien

    Tony, your last paragraph is the clincher. It is beyond me why the sceptics in the Coalition, such as Craig Kelly, aren’t singing this from the rooftops everyday. What better way to bolster your case for coal fired power than to expose the dubious nature of the CAGW scam. There is more than enough evidence for, even, Turnbull to say there’s not enough evidence.

  2. Ian MacDougall

    Going by this Tony Thomas revelation, it would not surprise me to learn that (a) the Australian Academy of Science is a total cesspit of sexual predators, unfit even for the company of the present POTUS, and that (b) it has been moved in on by the Flat Earth Society and the Von Daniken League, and is flogging homeopathic remedies as a sideline.
    I honestly don’t know what this whole wide world is coming to.

    It’s a mystery how the so-called climate scientists have hoodwinked the world with such nonsense for decades.

    I would not stop there, and the scam won’t either. That strange gurgling sound coming from every point of the compass these days has to be not rising seas, but the whole world drowning in the snake oil it has been talked into buying.

Reporting Islam in the Approved Way

When I get ‘mindful’ about Islam, as urged by a think-tank at Griffith University, I recall the fire in a Mecca girls’ school that saw religious police force children back into the flames because they were deemed insufficiently modest to warrant rescue

beheaded corpsesWith help from lslamic community leaders, the Reporting Islam think-tank at Queensland’s Griffith University  re-educates journalists nationally to report Islamic issues “more mindfully” (whatever that means).  It’s not as though the ABC, SBS and Fairfax need any encouragement. 

The unit, billed as a world-first flagship in terms of educating journos about Islam,  got at least $445,000 grants for 2014-16 from the Attorney-General’s department in the Abbott government era. The AG’s top-level contractor for service delivery is the Queensland Police Force. Predictably, the unit won a Multicultural Award from the Queensland Government and SBS last year.

Like most of our universities, Griffith swarms with Islam-friendly academics (except, maybe, in the LBGTI etc safe spaces).  Griffith University’s funding has also included $100,000 direct from Saudi Arabia, that bastion of academic freedom and respect for women, gays and Christians. This $100,000 a decade ago went to Griffith’s Islamic Research Unit (GIRU). Graham Perrett, Labor MHR for Moreton and a Griffith U fan, told Parliament, not altogether re-assuringly, that  “Griffith University is just one of many institutions throughout the world to receive funding from the Saudi government.”

When I get “mindful” about Islam, as urged by Reporting Islam, I recall the episode in 2002 when a girls’ school in Mecca caught fire. The religious police, instead of helping the young girls to escape, locked them in or forced them back into the blaze. Why? Because the girls weren’t in proper Islamic dress; were not necessarily escorted by male guardians; and might create sexual frissons with the firemen. Fifteen girls burned to death.[1] Saudi’s public beheadings and all that? Watch if you dare.GRAPHIC material

However, nothing the Saudis get up to is as horrific as the deeds of the self-described Islamic State, which are nothing to do with Islam. There was an (STRONG CAUTION: GRAPHIC MATERIAL) ISIS video published a month ago showing a prisoner hog-tied to playground equipment. A boy of about six years is given a large knife and saws the live prisoner’s head half off.[2]

Close to home, nothing-to-do-with-Islam incidents have included

  • In 2006 Shaykh Taj El-Din Hamid Hilaly, Mufti (or Grand Mufti) of Australia, gave a sermon in Arabic to a 500-strong crowd in the Lakemba Mosque describing  immodestly-dressed women as ‘cat’s meat’  inciting rapists. [3]  Hilaly also quoted approvingly an Islamic scholar who said women who were raped should be arrested and jailed for life for provoking males. Hilaly, who was appointed Mufti by the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils in 1988, had a subsequent history of anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist statements.
  • Melbourne Muslim cleric and terror cell leader Abdul Benbrika was convicted in 2008 of leading a terrorist network which wanted to blow up the 2005 MCG Grand Final crowd and blow up Crown casino on Grand Prix weekend.
  • The late Farhad Jabar, 15,  in 2015 was allegedly handed the gun which he used to kill Parramatta police worker Curtis Cheng, in the female section of the Parramatta mosque. Jabar shortly before had listened to a sermon in the mosque from extremist Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
  • Four men are under arrest in Melbourne for allegedly planning a Christmas Day attack on St Paul’s Cathedral,   Flinders Street Station, and Federation Square.

These sorts of things make it hard for earnest reporters to keep up the positive spin on Islam. But Griffith’s Reporting Islam unit will be their coach, with the backing of the journos’ union, the MEAA. Key people on the team include   leader Associate Professor Jacqui Ewart,  and Professor Mark Pearson, a one-time reporter for The Australian.[4] They are supported by manager Dr Abdi Hersi, and other Muslim researchers and trainers.

Ewart says the unit started in 2014 after research showed routine negative stereotyping of Muslims in the media.  The team laments that anti-Islamist reporting not only isolates Muslims but inspires “ violence and vitriol against law-abiding Australians who are Muslim, and encourag(es) youth radicalization.”

The unit’s main message is that the great majority of Australian Muslims are decent, law-abiding and worthy citizens. Hersi puts it, “Muslims are not terrorists. Islam is not a religion of terrorism. We need to be very responsible in the way in which we cover stories of certain individuals engaging in criminal activities.” (My emphasis).[5]

Reporters need to promote inter-cultural harmony, the team says, so that fewer Muslims will get annoyed at negative media coverage and “become radicalised” – and we know what that can lead to.

Among the questions journos are meant to ask themselves are, “Does my proposed angle make the basic error of portraying Islam and Muslims as a threat to national identity and a particular way of life?” (My emphasis). It might not be such a “basic error” had the alleged Christmas triple-bomb plot in Melbourne succeeded.

The Reporting Islam philosophy had its apotheosis in Cologne on New Year’s Eve a year ago, when police reported the night had been “relaxed”, notwithstanding mass sexual assaults on German women by asylum entrants. The public broadcaster ZDF had the sensitivity to put a news blackout on the assaults for four days, until that strategy of suppression by omission became unworkable.

A local equivalent for sensitivity came during the 2014  Lindt café siege. NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Cath Burn later explained she had been concerned about community harmony and conveying tolerance “so as not to fuel anger which might have led to bias-motivated crime” [ie hypothetical anti-Muslim backlash]. Interesting priorities while an actual maniac with a shotgun held 18 hostages.

Griffith’s Mark Pearson concedes that local bomb plots, outrages and the like have to be covered, but journos should handle them “fairly and accurately, and perhaps even offer solutions that might actually help heal wounds in a community, rather than exacerbate or inflame community tensions.” Note the elitism here. The hallmarks of poor reporting, he says, include a tendency to link terrorism to Islam and focus on negative stories creating community alienation – a known risk factor for radicalisation.

One improvement, the team believes, would be for media to employ more Muslim reporters who will provide the Islamic perspective, as well as using more Muslim sources and writing up “the good stuff” going on in the Muslim community. The team’s materials make passing mention of sharia law but I could find no details there about its Dark Ages mindset and misogynist aspects.

The site does, however, warn reporters covering Islamic issues about not just violations of the “offend, insult etc” provisions of Section 18C, but also reminds them of eight sets of state-based anti-discrimination legislation. Be nice, reverential and choose you words with the utmost care.

The team’s handbook projects Islam becoming the world’s largest religion by 2070. By 2050, one million more Australian Muslims will have lifted today’s proportion of the population from 2.2% (about half a million) to 4.9%. Globally, Muslim numbers will rise from 23% to 30% — some or 2.76 billion adherents — and by 2070 Islam will be the world’s largest religion, it says.

Politicians, academics and Muslim leaders in Australia and the UK have argued (without evidence) that extremists are only a tiny minority of the Muslim population. But a detailed UK poll presented on Channel 4 last April — “What British Muslims Really Think” – showed radical views are in fact widespread among Britain’s 3.5 million Muslims (5.5%; cf Australia 500,000 and 2.2%). In other words and put simply, Britain’s 30-year experiment with multiculturalism has created a chasm dividing religion, one religion in particular, and democracy. The same disturbing results have appeared in earlier, less rigorous polls in the UK and in polls in Germany and Western Europe.

No equivalent poll has been run in Australia, where a few small-scale exercises have instead focused on Muslims’ experience of racism and other victim-narratives. Australia’s Muslim population may be a completely different set of liberal and tolerant citizens compared with Europe, although that possibility has not stayed local authorities from forewarning of much the same terror incidents here that afflict the EU.

UK pollster ICM  in mid-2015 surveyed 1081 Muslims at home in face-to-face talks with Muslim interviewers, plus a control survey of 1008 non-Muslims by phone. The Channel 4 presenter was Trevor Phillips, a Guyana–born black man and former head of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission.[6]  That made it hard for bien pensants to shoot the messenger.

The UK survey’s findings include:

  • Only 34% would inform the police if they thought somebody they knew was getting involved with people who support terrorism in Syria.[7]
  •  4% (i.e. an indicative 100,000 UK Muslims) sympathise with people who take part in suicide bombings
  • 4% (100,000) sympathise with people who commit terrorist actions as a form of political protest
  • 32% refuse to condemn those who take part in violence against those who mock the Prophet
  • 23% support the introduction of Sharia Law.
  • 66% completely condemn   people who stone those who commit adultery, but 5% are sympathetic with the stoners
  • 31% think it’s acceptable for a man to have more than one wife (illegal in the West)
  • 39% agree that “wives should always obey their husbands”
  • 52% do not believe that homosexuality should be legal in Britain.

The results also showed what Jewish lobbies called “shocking and thriving” anti-Semitism, and a very low prevalence of social mixing with non-Muslims outside work.[8]

Young Muslims showed little difference in non-liberalism compared with older Muslims. Phillips interviewed a female Muslim primary school teacher who said the small boys were acting as thought police and hitting girls on the head if their heads were not well covered.  The teacher said, “I even had one boy, one nine-year-old boy, say to me, ‘Why haven’t you covered your head? It is only slags who don’t cover their head’.”

Liberal-minded Muslims were only about 20% and dwindling. These Muslims wanted Western values on women, gays and democracy to be enforced nationwide, said Phillips, who told the Daily Mail,

“There is one truly terrifying finding. Muslims who have separatist views about how they want to live in Britain are far more likely to support terrorism than those who do not. 

Liberal-minded Muslims have been saying for some time that our live-and-let-live attitudes have allowed a climate to grow in which extremist ideas have flourished within Britain’s Muslim communities. Our politicians have tried to reassure us that only a tiny minority hold dangerous views.

All the while, girls are shipped off to have their genitals mutilated, young women and men are being pressured into marriages they do not want, and teenagers are being seduced into donning suicide vests or becoming jihadi brides.

We have ‘understood’ too much, and challenged too little — and in doing so are in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims.

In my view, we have to adopt a far more muscular approach to integration than ever, replacing the failed policy of multiculturalism.”

The survey does show that 88% of British Muslims believe Britain is a good place for Muslims to live. According to Philips, this is because the tolerance they enjoy allows them to practice their religion however they want.

“For centuries we have managed to absorb people of many different
backgrounds. But the integration of Muslims will probably be the hardest
 task we’ve ever faced,” Phillips said. He urged halting the growth and expanding influence of Sharia courts, placing them under regulation, and opening them to public scrutiny: “It will mean an end to the silence-for-votes understanding between local politicians and Muslim leaders,” he said, “the sort of Pontius Pilate deal that had such catastrophic outcomes in Rotherham and Rochdale.”[9]

A BBC survey of 1000 British Muslims in February, 2015, found that 93% believed they should follow British laws. But 27% said they had some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. A  quarter thought violence against those who published images of the Prophet could be justified, and 11% were sympathetic to Muslim fighters against Western interests.  Nearly half  (45%) had sympathy for Muslim clerics preaching  violence, and did not consider the preachers were out of touch with mainstream Muslim opinion.

A 2008 study by Ruud Koopmans,  director of Germany’s WZB Berlín Social Science Centre, surveyed 9000 Europeans in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Sweden, to compare Muslim and non-Muslim religious fundamentalism.[10]  Koopmans found 40-45% of the European Muslims were fundamentalists, compared with 4% of Christians. Almost 60% of Muslims surveyed would return to the roots of Islam, 75% thought Muslims should heed only the one interpretation of the Koran, and 65% said that religious rules over-rode the legal framework of their adopted state.  There was marked hostility towards gays, Jews and Westerners among 70% of Muslim fundamentalists. The study found that in Germany, 47% of Muslims considered the Koran over-rode German law.

Other studies claim that between 10% and 15% of EU Muslims are prepared to use violence to defend their faith.

Dutch Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders, under serious beheading threat from jihadis for the past half-decade, quotes Koopmans as telling the Dutch media that “of a billion Muslims worldwide, between ten and twenty percent are willing to accept violence, even against civilians, to defend Islam.” I was unable to verify the Koopmans quote, which is likely in Dutch.[11]

A study from the German Interior Ministry in March 2012 found nearly a quarter of non-German Muslims there rejected integration, questioned Western values and tended to accept violence.

The survey showed 48% sought separation from mainstream German culture, or 22% if those who had gained citizenship were included.

The survey also exposed a 24% subgroup of 13-32 year old non-German Muslims who were extremists holding anti-West and pro-violence views (15% including German Muslim citizens). With 2 million Muslim non-Germans, the 24% suggested 100,000+ young extremists.

A study of Salafi-jihadism propaganda in 2015 for the Tony Blair Foundation by the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics, cited polls that:

  •  Over two thirds of the populations of three large Muslim-majority countries agreed with the need for a caliphate.
  •  Three-quarters of respondents in four large Muslim-majority countries agreed that there was a need to ‘stand up to America and affirm the dignity of the Islamic people’. Today, jihadis fight the West and its allies to ‘deliver’ the ‘Muslim world’ from a ‘Zionist-Shia-Crusader’ conspiracy, it said.

The study said that the broader Muslim culture and jihadi ideology overlapped significantly, but the broader culture was not necessarily extreme or condoning violence.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the jihadist propaganda studied involved Islamic creedal values. The authors said,

“We know that this does not make for comfortable reading…  Unless we are honest about the nature and appeal of the jihadi ideology, we cannot uproot it… Political leaders must not shy away from identifying ideology and warped understanding of theology as a cause of modern terrorism.”

Many overt government responses have been particularly weak.  They are at best mocked by jihadis and at worse, used by them to back up their own messages, it said.

It can be argued that Western critics of Islam are in more danger than Western Muslims, with state apparatus in many Western countries eager to suppress criticism of both immigration and Islam per se. As a local example, know that The Australian’s  cartoonist, Bill Leak, has been forced to secretly relocate his family residence after death threats.

In Germany, authorities are prosecuting critics of Merkel’s  immigration free-for-all by labeling them with “hate speech”. A married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted and convicted in July, 2016, for criticizing  online the government’s migration policy. Their page stated, “The war and economic refugees are flooding our country. They bring terror, fear, sorrow. They rape our women and put our children at risk. Make this end!” Last July, 60 homes of such allegedly hate-speaking people were raided by German police.

But other parties who had anti-Semitic views were not merely left unchecked, but at times officially facilitated. In July, 2014, Frankfurt police let mainly Muslim “protesters” use the police van’s megaphone to shout in Arabic that Jews were “child murderers”.  Two German Arabs who firebombed a Wuppertal synagogue in July, 2014, were given suspended 15-month sentences (i.e. no jail time) for arson. The judge ruled the fire-bombing was not anti-Semitism, but  a mere “act of protest” against Israeli’s response to attacks from Gaza.  As if anyone firebombing a Western mosque would get comparable leniency.

German officials, according to a leaked memo, have been urging their federal government to act fast to enforce “authentic political communication” before the upcoming elections. The government, of course, would define what is “authentic” and what is “fake” news, especially about its immigration policy.

In an interview with Deutschlandfunk public radio, retired public media personality Wolfgang Herles admitted that public broadcasters receive “instructions from above” when it comes to reporting the news:

“We must report in such a way that serves Europe and the common good, as it pleases Mrs. Merkel. There are written instructions … today we are not allowed to say anything negative about the refugees. This is government journalism, and this leads to a situation in which the public loses their trust in us. This is scandalous.”

In Finland, Finns Party politician Terhi Kiemunki was fined 450 euros last November  for writing of a “culture and law based on a violent, intolerant and oppressive religion.” Finns are  now legally required to make a distinction, whether real or fictitious, between “Islam” and “radical Islam,” to avoid fines for “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith.”

In Holland, a hotline run by the state-funded anti-discrimination bureau MiND refused late last year to act on a complaint about death threats to gays. A Muslim commenter online called for gays to be “burned, decapitated and slaughtered”. The supposed watch-dog group said it couldn’t intervene, arguing, “The remarks must be seen in the context of religious beliefs in Islam, which juridicially takes away the insulting character.”  Outraged Dutch MPs called for MiND to be defunded, at which point MiND’s bureaucrats changed their collective mind about the case. In contrast to MiND’s initial ruling, Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders was fined last December merely for saying Holland was admitting too many Moroccans.

I agree that most Western Muslims are upright people and worthy citizens. It’s the minority (how large?) who aren’t nice that are the problem. Plus politicians, officials and academics who don’t see any problem.

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

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[1] As of now, Saudi adult women must obtain permission from a male guardian—usually a husband, father, brother, or son—to travel, marry, or exit prison. They may be required to provide guardian consent in order to work or access healthcare. Women regularly face difficulty conducting a range of transactions without a male relative, from renting an apartment to filing legal claims. All women remain banned from driving cars in Saudi Arabia.

[2] As if no horror can be great enough, another ISIS video shows boys aged about 10 armed with pistols hunting a dozen ‘bad guys’ in an abandoned building, except that it’s not a computer game. The bad guys are prisoners with bound wrists but able to move about clumsily.   When cornered or trapped, the prisoners cry and moan until the children shoot them down, sometimes shooting the legs first. On the roof, a terrified prisoner backs away and then chooses to throw himself down six-storeys.

[3] In the translated text of Hilaly’s full sermon, which I can no longer locate on internet,  he had a broader definition of women as ‘cat’s meat’ inviting rape. They were not just immodestly-clad women but women who go outside the home without a male escort.

[4] He wrote that the Abbott government’s anti-terror laws “represent the greatest attack on the Fourth Estate function of journalism in the modern era. They are worse than the Gillard government’s failed attempts to regulate the press.”        

[5] Pro-refugee, Islamic-friendly academic centres have a bad habit of getting things wrong. For example, in October, 2015, “terrorism expert” Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College in London, said that there was not a shred of evidence of ISIS people smuggling themselves to Europe among refugees, and that ISIS had prohibited this form of infiltration. Within weeks, exactly such ISIS people killed 137 in the Paris massacres.

[6] In 1997 as commissioner, Phillips wrote a  report, “Islamaphobia: A Challenge for Us All”,  which brought the term “Islamaphobia” into the language.

[7] Critics of the survey note that even in the control group of all Britons, only 30% would inform police. But 57% of the control group thought the hypothetical situation was irrelevant to them (Muslims, 27%). Muddles could have resulted.

[8]  For example, 35% of British Muslims – compared to 8 per cent of others – believe Jewish people have too much power in Britain.

[9] In 2014, the government’s Jay report found that more than 1,200 girls from Rotherham had been raped, trafficked, and abused by mostly Muslim gangs. The abuse was allowed to go on for a decade because authorities were scared of accusations of racism, the report found. In Rochdale,  an Asian grooming gang  preyed on girls as young as 13.

Despite destroying the lives of dozens of young girls, paedophile Shabir Ahmed claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy to scapegoat Muslims.

[10] WZB, with 160 researchers, was founded by all-party German parliamentarians and is federally and Berlin state-funded.

[11] Australian Muslim preacher Feiz Mohammad in an internet chat room in September, 2010, called for the beheading of Wilders for insulting Islam.