Spy v Spy in Australia

February 28th 2017 print


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.


  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.


[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.

Earth Hour in 3D: Dim, Dark and Dopey

For the past decade legions of the gullible have been signalling their eco-virtue by candles’ glow, turning off the lights for 60 minutes as an offering to poor, overheated Gaia. It makes little sense, but promoters are delighted the faithful can still write cheques in the gloom

earth hourWorld Wide Fund for Nature (Australia) is gearing up for its tenth idiotic Earth Hour at 8.30pm on Saturday, March 25. Once again it will be urging people to turn off lights  (but not fridges, freezers, TVs, dishwashers, computers, aircons and smart-phones). If WWF is aware that satellite data shows no atmospheric warming for the past 18 years, that information figures nowhere in its literature.

Of course, any large-scale lights-off actually increases CO2emissions because generators have to do inefficient ramping-up of power when the lights go on again. Such quibbles have never worried   WWF.

Earth Hour is run by national manager Anna Rose. She is co-founder and former head of the Youth Climate Coalition, and spouse of Simon Sheik, former national director of GetUp, failed Greens candidate and, most recently, promoter of a fossil-fuel-free superfund.[1] Rose claims, on the basis of sample surveys from consultancy AMR, that a quarter (nearly 6m) of the Australian population took part in Earth Hour 2016.[2] That’s a big call. In 2015, she was claiming one in three Australians (7.7m)  took part in 2014.

The media-savvy WWF has been theming its annual Earth Hours. Last year’s theme was “Protect the Aussie places we love” with sub-texts about global warming destroying the Barrier Reef by 2050 and other alarmist mantras (the Reef made it safely through previous eras of strong warming). The 2017 Earth Hour theme is “the voice of the future generation”, taking into overdrive WWF’s propaganda assault in schools.

WWF’s partner in the schools’ Earth Hour exercise is Cool Australia, a green/left outfit founded and run by Jason Kimberley of the  wealthy Just Jeans clan. Cool Australia claims more than 52,000 educators whose lessons reached more than 1,050,000 students in 2016. (It is a national scandal that schools have become such hotbeds of green/left indoctrination).

The Cool Australia material has much in common with the views of the Left Renewal faction of the Greens Party, and its “fight to bring about the end of capitalism”.  Cool’s anti-capitalism curriculum is based on the rantings of far-left Canadian author Naomi Klein and her agitprop book, This Changes Everything.  Klein  views conventional green policies as way too conservative. Her goal is to marshall a green activist horde to subvert Western civilisation at grassroots level.

Cool Australia offers Years 9 and 10 no fewer than ten lesson units based on the Klein book and video. One lesson, for example, is titled,“This changes everything – climate change vs capitalism”. Cool Australia counsels the kiddies, “…an opportunity for a new economic model that accounts for both people and the planet in a just and sustainable way.” The film of the same title has Klein saying, “I’ve spent six years wandering through the wreckage caused by the carbon in the air and the economic system that put it there.” A title comes up, “Capitalism” with a voiceover, “We are going in completely the wrong direction.” It ends with a narrator’s question: “What if global warming is not only a crisis? What if it is the best chance you are ever going to get to build a better world? Change or be changed!”

Cool Australia provides these “thought-starting” keywords for the climate/capitalism lessons:

global warming, floods, drought, carbon dioxide, weather, resource use, coral bleaching, bush fires, carbon tax, humans

In regard to cpitalism, keywords provided are

profit, money, private wealth, rich, poor, winners, loser, consumption, stuff, resources, economic systems, private ownership, humans

Teachers are exhorted thus:

Hot tip: Repeat this activity at the end of the unit to assess students’ understanding.”[3]

There is no reference to capitalism and free trade lifting billions out of poverty in the past half-century.

WWF’s president is another mega-millionaire, Rob Purves of the Purves Environmental Fund. Purves’ fortune derived from Clyde Industries and billion-dollar diagnostics/aged-care group DCA. WWF in turn is a “curriculum partner” of Cool Australia. Purves is also a sponsor of Earth Hour, governor of the Youth Climate Coalition and director of Tim Flannery’s Climate Council. Prominent on the Earth Hour web pages is WWF’s “Donate” menu, donations being tax deductible.

This appeal inspired me to look up WWF’s local 2016 accounts. CEO Dermot O’Gorman, his conservation director Gilly Llewellyn, and their CFO took in $632,000 in combined pay, but WWF doesn’t disclose what each received.WWF employment benefits

WWF fund-raised $22.8 million — but, oh dear, $9.2 million, or 40%, was burned by the costs of fund-raising. (In the past three years, WWF has spent an amazing $29 million on fund-raising costs. That includes about $10 million in the past two years alone for on-going  “supporter acquisition programs”  aimed at an “appropriate return” from its givers over three to five years. Do regular donors understand how much is going to  third-party professional fund-raisers?

Of the $29.5 million in latest income, WWF managed to spend only $16.4 million — 56% on what it calls “conservation”.[4]  [5] Still, WWF Australia with its $30 milion annual revenue is small beer compared with the US-based  World Wildlife Fund Inc. (latest revenue: $US249m). That group’s five-year revenue comfortably tops ten figures, at $US1.1b. The 2016 fund-raising expense ratio is 11%, compared with the 40% for WWF Australia.

Saving the planet is a responsible job andCEO Carter Roberts pulled in $US941,000 last year, up more than 100% compared with his pay in 2009 of $US455,000.  President Obama is paid only $US400,000. Roberts’ chief operating officer, Marcia Marsh, gets $US576,000. Both state their working weeks as 40 hours. Nearly 200 staff are on six-figures, and a dozen on $US300,000 plus.  A couple of PR flacks are on $US260,000 and $US315,000.

WWF in the US is also gearing up for Earth Hour to help save our hapless planet. “Even a tweet can make a difference,” it says, demonstrating near-clinical inability to separate fantasy from the real world.

I had a thought that WWF India might not be promoting Earth Hour, given that 300 million Indian peasants are eking out short and brutish lives in no-electricity squalor. Regardless, WWF India is urging Indians  to “switch off your lights” and invest in solar power.[6]

In Australia, WWF, lacking all sense of the ridiculous, asks students to analyse global warming impacts on their spaghetti bolognaise   (wheat, beef, cheese and tomato) and pavlovas (egg, sugar, rasberries, blueberries).[7]

Last year WWF globally set out six key goals, ranked as: forest conservation; oceans conservation; clean water; protecting important species; doubling net food availability and freezing its footprint; and last-listed, “Creating a climate-resilient and zero-carbon world powered by renewable energy”. WWF Australia seems over-focused on the last item.

I mentioned the annual theming of Earth Hour in Australia. The 2015 theme was of special interest: how global warming imperils Australia’s “fresh healthy home-grown food”, and how we should “make a stand for our food and farmers”. These farmers allegedly had their backs to the wall as they valiantly battled global warming’s adverse impacts.

Anna Rose declaimed, “Aussies are proud of our farmers for feeding the nation but they are on the frontline of global warming and are already feeling the effects of rising temperatures and more extreme weather.”

Mike Hirst, managing director of long-time Earth Hour sponsor Bendigo Bank, chimed in, “Across this land, thousands of farmers are grappling with the challenge of global warming while producing the food which we and millions of people around the world depend on.”

WWF/Earth Hour figured it could get some traction with this story because many farmers were having a bad season. For 2014-15, by value, wheat was down 11%; cotton down 52%; rice down 16%; veges down 5%; milk static and total crops down 5%. The WWF publicity asserted that “Global warming is challenging our farmers and affecting our supply of good-quality fresh food.” WWF had little trouble getting hard-luck stories from 55 assorted farmers about how climate change was doing them in.

WWF also whistled up its pet catastrophists such as David Karoly at Melbourne University to do a report, Appetite for Change: Global Warming Impacts on Food and Farming Regions in Australia.  Here’s Karoly’s  insights about southern NSW, Victoria and Tasmania:

Continued substantial warming is expected over the rest of this century, from 0.6°C to 1.3°C by 2030  and up to 4°C by 2070 with ongoing high greenhouse-gas emissions. A warming climate will be associated with more hot days and nights, including more summer heat waves, and fewer cold days and nights, including fewer winter frosts. The number of days hotter than 35°C is expected to increase by about 20 per cent by 2030 and possibly more than double by 2070… The reduced rainfall and higher temperatures are expected to lead to more frequent and intense droughts and bushfires, and greater stress on water resources.” (My emphasis).[8]

Other specialists then weighed in with predictions about how 50 food items – from wheat and beef to octopi[9] and zucchini — will be trashed by Karoly’s “expected” global warming. We learn from the  authors that carrots are doomed to tastelessness and poor texture; toast and raspberry jam will be in short supply; avocado and Vegemite will taste worse; beetroots will blush less red; fruit trees will be stunted and heat-struck chickens will have nervous breakdowns.

WWF’s poster woman for the Earth Hour book on how warming will degrade farming was South Gippsland dairy farmer Marian Macdonald. However, her writings a year later rather subvert her message:

The big question still remains for this farmer: how common will this type of season be in the future? The climate modelling is just not detailed or accurate enough. All we know is that it will be drier, warmer and more unpredictable than ever. And that’s nowhere near enough information to make good decisions. To be frank, we don’t even have a worthwhile forecast for the next fortnight or the three months ahead. The Bureau of Meteorology’s oft-reported seasonal outlook is so unreliable here, it is literally the equivalent of tossing a coin – by the Bureau’s own admission.” (My emphasisTo paraphrase, the BOM can’t forecast a fortnight ahead but is great at those 100-year forecasts).

The climate gloom in regard to farming was all early 2015.[10] How about now? Well, I never! Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says agriculture is entering a “golden era” of prosperity and growth that will last at least five years: “We haven’t seen anything like this right across all regions and sectors — beef, lamb, grains, wool, sugar, kangaroo meat, live cattle, chickpeas, even the dairy industry is recovering — for almost a century. The good times are finally here.”

As The Australian’s rural correspondent Sue Neales puts it, “Last year [2016] was an extraordinary one: record farmgate prices for sheep and cattle, rising wool prices, a magnificent season yielding a record 52 million tonne grain and pulse crop.… farming is seen as a profession with a bright, unstoppable future.”

National agricultural production will be a record $60 billion in value this year for the first time and is tipped to go to $100 billion in the next decade. (CSIRO chief Larry Marshall has made the obvious point that to meet Asian food demand, we’ll need to double our water usage. This hardly suits the green agenda of no-dams).

The bumper crops are not just in Australia but global. The Food & Agriculture Organisation late last year raised its forecast for global wheat production to a record 742.4 million tonnes, and global rice output to a record 498m tonnes.

So as Earth Hour nears on March 25, and WWF publicity ramps up, don’t take it too seriously. Maybe even celebrate the joy of electricity by leaving your lights on.

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


 [1] According to the blurbs, she became a climate change campaigner after her grandparent’s farm in North Western NSW was affected by drought, and Anna “connected the dots” to climate change – quite a feat.

[2] One major participant is the Australian Defence Force

[3] Klein’s “solutions” for an allegedly fairer and more humane society are pushed at students by teachers using the Cool Australia social-justice material. The “solutions” include a basic income for all and higher taxes on the affluent; enforcing industry to reduce or cut completely its CO2 emissions; banning deep-water drilling, fracking and tar sands production; “re-localising” production of food and goods (i.e. diminishing trade); and “community-controlled clean energy systems”. The students are exhorted to discuss the “Call to Action” theme of Canada’s March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate, as a creed for a “just transition” to a fairer world.

[4] WWF income included $783,000 in government grants, of which $376,000 was from DFAT. WWF spent $2.7m on what it calls “community education”.

[5] Earth Hour: “Regular donations are critical to our ability to manage our large team of volunteers across the country with certainty around our budget. We do what we can with very little, but it all adds up.”

[6] “What has Earth Hour achieved since the movement began?” The sponsors’ list includes   “Solar-powered lights were installed in three villages without electricity in India.”

[7] When I noticed and wrote about the spagbol talking point last December, some readers insisted I must have been hoaxed.

[8] Karoly in 2009 thought it a great idea for Earth Hour to become permanent:

“We need to repeat Earth Hour every hour of the day, every day of the year, so that these actions are part of our normal lives”.

[9] “Computer modelling projections for pale octopus indicate warming could lead to eventual decline. Increased carbon-dioxide may make octopus more vulnerable to predators, and combined climate factors may have complex effects.” Octopi, don’t say you weren’t warned.

[10] “According to the CSIRO, production from cropping and livestock is projected to decline by 2030 over much of southern Australia due to increased drought and the “fact” that the availability of nutrients will limit productivity in most Australian landscapes…” Professor Richard Eckard, Melbourne University, March 2015.

The Truth of SA’s ‘Stolen Generations’

January 10th 2017 print


Papers rescued from a landfill, painstakingly unearthed archival material, long-forgotten records, diary entries and correspondence put pay to the myth that racist policies saw many Aboriginal children removed from their parents. The reasons were good and the numbers tiny

stolen IIOn May 28, 1997, in Adelaide, South Australian parliamentary leaders vied to apologise to the “Stolen Generations”. That was more than a decade before the Rudd national apology of February 13, 2008. Yet the details of any child-stealing in SA remain elusive.

The SA Department of Human Services on the date of the state’s apology provided a 40-page guide to the previous century’s Aboriginal policy implementation. From this rather perfunctory booklet we learn

  • There were only minuscule numbers of part-Aboriginal children removed for any reason in various years of the early 20th century
  • The authors had no idea about the total number of removals in SA (for whatever reasons),  so they just said there were “many”.
  • Child removals (for any reason) could be effected only after approvals were obtained – usually with difficulty –  from courts and higher levels of the bureaucracy. And even then, there could be “a storm of protest”  from pro-Aborigine lobby groups and the media.
  • The intent of removals was benevolent, designed to rescue children from camp squalor and (in a pre-welfare era) to ensure their future self-supported living.

In the May, 1997, apologies in the SA State Parliament from government and opposition figures, they cite no evidence, other than hearsay, beyond that specially-prepared document. Opposition Leader Michael Rann (Lab.), for example, said, “I am told other mothers at settlements around Australia had to temporarily bury their children in the ground in order to prevent their being taken away, supposedly for their own good.” Legislative Council opposition leader Carolyn Pickles (Lab.) said,  “In some cases they [children] were rounded up like animals and torn away from [their mothers].”

Accessing the  SA archives

There are enormous resources of untouched primary documents on SA Aboriginal affairs lumped in half a dozen warehouse archives around Adelaide. For the past five years, volunteer researchers Joe Lane, 73, and Alistair Crooks, 65, have been intensively re-keying and posting SA archival documents on-line. So far they’ve published at least 15,000  pages from the century to 1940 including more than 13,000 letters in, and 9000 letters out, from the SA Protectors of Aborigines, circa 1840-1912.

From the documents inspected, they say that in SA the black-armband view of Aboriginal/white relations, as taught to students, is wrong. [1] They have found no evidence of the systematic taking for racist reasons of part-Aboriginal SA children. Removals of small numbers of children, such as orphans, did occur for welfare reasons – as also occurred with white children. Officialdom often considered that getting part-Aboriginal children out of squalid camps and wurleys was a matter of life and death, whether to protect them from infanticide, disease or abuse.[2] For girls, removal also meant rescue from degradation and prostitution. But such removals were infrequent and treated as incidental to Protectors’ main job of organizing statewide distributions of rations.

Crooks and Lane’s documents are available at firstsources.info. The two men have now published an annotated collection of key papers in Voices from the Past: Extracts from the Annual Reports of the South Australian Chief Protectors of Aborigines, 1837 Onwards. 309pp.[3]

The researchers’ background

To declare an interest, I wrote the book’s foreword, largely a biographical sketch of the authors. Joe Lane  was married to a Ngarrindjeri woman, Maria Rigney (1949- 2008), who later became a senior academic in the Aboriginal education sector. Together in the 1970s they hand-made more than 100 of the red, yellow and black Aboriginal flags, enabling this powerful symbol to displace scores of   complex and kitsch designs around the country.

Joe and Maria Lane as activists at first accepted and promoted in the journal Black News the black-armband histories. But over time they recognized that the much of the accounts were based on second/third-hand sources, oral recollections and hearsay. In 1983, Joe  was delighted to come across typewritten paper copies of the journals of  Rev. George Taplin, who ran the McLeay Mission on the SE coast from 1859-79, where Lane’s wife was born. Lane re-keyed the documents in 1997.

Lane says, “I wished that some fool should re-key the material for the internet. As it turned out, I was that fool. But I had discovered a goldmine of information.

“A friend gave me some old letter-books to 1900 from the mission that he rescued from a tip. By then I was hooked on searching out first-hand sources and went on to type up the thousand pages of three early Royal Commissions. More recently, I’ve been typing up the correspondence of the SA Protectors of Aborigines.”

Early in the work he joined with retired geologist Alistair  Crooks who had independently begun a similar exercise re-keying papers from important conferences, such as the 1937 national meeting of all the states’ Protectors.

Counting the “stolen” children

The duo’s first surprise was the miniscule numbers of “half-caste” children that came to SA missions and institutions without a parent.  According to Sir Ronald Wilson’s Stolen Generation report of 1997, 10-30% of all Aboriginal children nationally were forcibly taken (that report’s co-author, Mick Dodson, claimed about 100,000 “stolen” children). The Rudd apology of 2008, without explanation, halved the number of forcible removals, and referred to  “up to 50,000”.

Overall, Crooks and Lane estimate that in the 100 years from first settlement to 1940,  an average two to three  SA Aboriginal children per year were removed into care, usually  orphaned, or given up voluntarily by a parent. Historian Keith Windschuttle’s grand total for SA Aboriginal children taken into care for all reasons  from 1900-1970 was 1100 — about 16 a year.[4]

The Crooks/Lane documents show that in SA from 1911-20, the numbers of “half-caste” SA children (mainly girls) taken from the interior camps averaged only about two per year. And these included children who were neglected, orphaned, destitute, in moral jeopardy or willingly given up by a parent. In the 1920s the numbers taken were even fewer.

Windschuttle arrived at a similar figure for the 1895-1914 period in SA. He found 54 children “taken” during about 20 years, two or three per year.

In the two decades from 1880 to 1900 at Point McLeay settlement, only eight out of 200 children had been brought there officially. In the next 50 years, children brought there officially again hardly totaled double-digits. The McLeay school’s records from 1880-1960 show that only 47 out of 800 enrolled children were ever put into care, and all but one such child (whose mother died) returned within a year to their families. Not one was adopted out.[5]

In 1926-27 the United Aborigines Mission opened the Colebrook Home at Quorn for at-risk “half-caste” SA children, mostly from northern cattle country during droughts. Crooks and Lane estimate from the reports that admissions averaged only about two per year. By 1937-38 Colebrook Home had 31 children. Five were from a single family, the O’Donahues, brought there in 1934 by their white father. The O’Donahues included  Lowitja O’Donahue (later an ATSIC chair) and her four siblings.

Another home used for domestic training of “half-caste” girls (though mainly for white girls) was Fullarton, run by the Salvation Army, in Adelaide. Again, the numbers were miniscule – it was built to cater for a dozen girls. Crooks says the 1944-45 report mentions only two “half-castes” completing training and another being dux of the school. In 1948-49 there were only eight there, still in close contact with their families. Other Aboriginal parents were reportedly keen to place their children at Fullarton.

The 1997 SA apology document similarly cites miniscule numbers. It mentions “several” teenage boys being removed for apprenticeships after an 1844 ordnance and “significantly fewer” girls. Those removals needed consent of parents and of the Governor, it said. There is another reference to “several” removals in 1896 which ignited protests in the press. In 1909-13, the document says the Protector’s tally of removed Aboriginal children was 18, i.e. an average 4-5 a year.[6] The document does not clarify whether such removals were voluntary or forced, or what welfare considerations were involved. But it does say magistrates were initially  reluctant to commit such children.

Legal rationales

In 1911, the Premier produced a draconian and unprecedented Bill for removals, aimed at preventing contact with alcohol, prostitution and other dangers. The ‘apology’ document says, “So far as can be ascertained, it was not used by itself to authorise the removal of children from their parents.”

Amid the bureaucratic reports, glimpses of sad children sometimes emerge. In 1878,  a Mr Marlin reported on a ten-year-old orphan, Joanna,

“She has no-one to look after her or care for her, and she gets her living as best she can by associating with the blacks, and has to content herself with any old rags she can find about the wurlies.” Mr Marlin successfully lobbied for her to be sent to school and cared for. “She is an intelligent little girl, and if now taken in hand and properly cared for, will no doubt be able to go to service and earn her own living in a few years.”

Crooks and Lane also found frequent references to infanticide and health hazards. Some snapshots:

1865: The issuer of rations at Overland Corner reported that in his district in the recent years, “every living child appears to have been destroyed immediately after birth.”

1868:  Sub-Protector Butterfield — “There are in many parts of my district, several half-caste children whose fathers have abandoned [them] to a wurley life , a certain degradation, and, in the case of females, infamy and prostitution. It is a pity something cannot be done to rescue such from their perilous position.”

1874: Point McLeay missionary, Rev. Taplin, wrote, “Savage life is most destructive of infant life.” In the same year, Sub-Protector W.R. Thompson reported that “half-castes”  in camps rarely survived to adulthood.

1908: Protector South wrote, “I think all half-caste children at least should be gathered in, instead of being left in the camps where they are subjected to the brutalizing customs and ceremonial operations still prevalent in outlying districts.”

1911: Protector South mentioned a “quadroon” girl of nine officially taken from Stuart’s Creek after her single mother had gone to Hergott Springs near Marree (700km north of Adelaide). “To have left her to the inevitable fate of all half-caste girls brought up in the blacks’ camps in the interior would have been, to say the least of it, cruel…”

1924: Protector Garnett wrote, “It is generally reported and doubtless true, that aborigines in these parts of Australia often kill children not wanted, and especially ‘half-castes’.”

1948: Aboriginal Protection Board – “One of the principal causes of ill-health, particularly among children, is the irregular and inadequate meals provided by some mothers, who are incompetent and neglectful. No doubt such children would enjoy better health, and be much happier, if placed in institution provided by missionary organisations, and in some cases, action along these lines has been taken. The board desires, however, as far as possible, to preserve family life intact…”

1960s: Infanticide rates around Ernabella Mission were up to a fifth of all births, according to anthropologist Aram A. Yengolen.

Adelaide public backlash

The records show Protectors in their annual reports  – such as Protector South in 1908 – expressing a desire for part-Aboriginal children to be removed and separated until adulthood from their kin and clan. The view was that otherwise, the clan would encourage idleness and dependency. The Protectors’ desire was not translated into reality, given the legal safeguards and political resistance involved from church and philanthropic groups. Those groups, whose audience stretched to London, were eager to condemn any infraction and to publicise complaints about mistreatment.

From 1881 to 1895, the SA Destitute Persons Act allowed neglected children, white or black, to be taken into foster care or an industrial school, but taking an Aboriginal child also needed the consent of the Aborigines Department, i.e. its single employee, the Protector, plus Destitute Board, plus a court. The successor State Children’s Act was just as reluctant to concern itself with Aboriginal children.

Sub-Inspector Besley wrote in 1892:

“If forcefully taken there would be a cry of cruelty but it is cruelly unkind to leave them where they are. The girls become trained for a life of easy virtue, and the men drunken loafers. I have arranged with a Mr and Mrs Schneider at Port Augusta to take three of these children, with their parents’ consent. They are kind and good to them, though they both have to work hard for a living. These children appear to be fond of their adopted parents, and are kept clean and tidy, and attend school regularly…” (My emphasis here and below).

Besley concluded with a wish for an apprenticing, adding, “Before anything can be done Ministerial instructions should be given.”

In a revealing note in 1900, Protector Hamilton urged efforts to protect young female “half-castes” from the camps:

“In some cases they object to leave their tribe and in others the mothers of the girls will not consent to give them up.”

By 1911 state Parliament permitted removals from missions, but only of entire families, with no separation of children, and only with prior consent of two JPs.  Protector South in 1916-17 mentioned several girls being removed from camps in the interior for their own protection, “chiefly at the request of their aboriginal and half-caste parents”.

In 1923 the SA Parliament passed an Aboriginal Children’s Training Act enabling removal of neglected illegitimate aboriginal children to institutions without a court order. But the Act was quickly suspended because Aborigines objected to it. The Protector could then only remove children where the parents were willing.

Protector South’s successor, Francis Garnett, reported in 1924 that about 20 “half-caste” girls from Alice Springs  had been put into domestic placements in SA,  since jobs were scarce in the NT and the girls were at risk from predatory white station hands. But he said such transfers were inhumane and  “should be considered a temporary expedient and stopped as soon as possible.”

The 1997 apology document concedes that Protectors and departmental officials lacked power or ability for arbitrary removals. Such actions not only required the cooperation of  courts but also several  branches of the government, it said. It cites the “storm of protest” when Parliament sought to drop safeguards.

More on the 1997 booklet

In the whole 1997  document, there is only one instance cited of an Aboriginal child being targeted for removal  because of race rather than welfare or neglect. It quotes the Protector in 1912 about

“an illegitimate quadroon girl, aged between 9 and 12 years, called [girl’s name] at Point McLeay Mission Station. Although the girl is fairly well cared for, I consider that she should not be reared amongst the aborigines, and would respectfully suggest that the matter be referred to the State Children’s Council with a view to her being brought under their control.”

The document does not say whether the removal actually occurred. But it notes contemporary testimony that police were reluctant to get involved in removals  — even if a child was “in a really bad state” — because they could suffer violent clan  retaliation. Moreover, magistrates tended to have no objection to children being brought up in a wurley.

Another church home for children was at Koonibba, which had 67 children in 1920. The 1997 document says they were

“hence  separated from their families. Reports of the day claim that ‘many parents voluntarily [gave] up their children’ to be placed in the children’s home. This claim is disputed by many Aboriginal people today.”

This wording is quite dishonest. The reality was that parents worked during the week on local stations, while their children were being schooled and cared for on the mission. Of course, they were re-united for the weekends. This occurred at many missions, well into recent times – for example, at Gerard Mission until 1961, when the government took it over and ceased the service.

The same apology document claimed that from about 1913-63, removed children, shamefully, “were rarely allowed contact, or reunited with their parents.” Crooks and Lane find the opposite.

Children not separated

In 1919, Crooks and Lane cite, Protector South complained that when girls were placed in domestic work (one of the very few occupations for working-class girls at the time) they still had liberty to return to their camps or parents whenever they wished, and to live there in idleness.

At Point McLeay and Point Pearce missions there had been a degree of separation after children were voluntarily placed by parents in a dormitory. When the state took the missions over in 1917 and closed the dormitories, policy became to bring mothers more closely  into the child’s upbringing, with requirements to wash and mend the school clothes, for example.

Aborigines on the missions came and went at will, Crooks and Lane say. Children who wanted to go back to their home districts were supported for the trip. One boy was supported to Oodnadatta and then further to his home country. He was back at the mission a year or so later, when his successful request for a harmonium (a small organ) was recorded. He had saved 15 pounds, half the substantial cost. The Protector paid the other 15 pounds. Lane adds, “No mission was ever fenced to keep people in.”

Far from wanting to herd communities onto missions, the Protectors sought to keep groups self-sufficient. From the 1860s onwards the  Protector provided dozens, perhaps a hundred or more, fifteen-foot boats and smaller canoes, fishing gear and guns for hunting to people on the Murray and Coopers Creek  waterways to help them “stay in their own districts”. Non-workers got the items and repairs free; working Aboriginals paid half costs.

In the 1940s an explicit goal of the Aborigines Protection Board  was to preserve family life intact as far as possible, and it created travelling welfare officers to coach Aboriginal mothers on child-rearing and thus avoid the need for removals because of neglect.

Today’s odd priorities

As for the modern era, more than one in twenty (5.23%) of South Australian Aboriginal children as of  June, 2015, were in out-of-home care, more than nine times the rate of non-Aboriginal children. In Victoria, of the 1511 Aboriginal children in care (up 59% since 2013), close to 90% had experienced family violence and parental alcohol/substance abuse.[7]  There seems more pressing social issues today than painting grim and exaggerated pictures of “stolen generations”.

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

[1] A typical example: “Tearing drawings. Students make a drawing of their family at home and include valued items such as pets or computers. The teacher then tells the story of stolen children and, while walking around the room, tears away part of each student’s drawing. A student could then talk about how they felt about their valuable work being ripped apart and how they would feel being ripped from their family.”

[2]  Health aspects were mentioned by Point McLeay missionary Rev George Taplin on 5/7/1864:

The practice of the natives in drying their dead is a very horrible one. Fancy a corpse over a slow fire in a state of putrefaction and the juices of the body gradually frying out and dropping into the fire below and making a horrible fetid smoke…I have no doubt that the practice is killing them, and will do so in increasing numbers, for every death causes disease. I have known horrible old men to catch the corruption dropping from a dead body in a pannican, and then besmear their bodies with it to make them strong. Fancy how they smell afterwards. I would fain visit the wurleys more, but am often kept outside by the horrid smell. There will be perhaps 15 or 20 dead bodies all more or less decayed in the wurley or hut, and the stench from them is indescribable.

How horrible it is too, to see a mother or father basting with oil and red ochre an infant’s corpse as it is squat up on a sort of bier or stage. And then the mourners will be daubed (that is, the women) with human ordure and consequently stink till you cannot approach them. I have known people to die through the stench of the dead and yet the poor souls keep on the practice. The young men and women would I believe fain to do away with it, and would be glad if the civil power compelled them to bury their dead.  And then, most of their witchcraft depends on the practice.

Elsewhere a horrified Taplin notes breast-feeding mothers smearing their breasts with these body juices and then suckling their children.

[3] Hoplon Press, Adelaide. Available from Bookdepository.com   $A29 paperback or $A44 hardback, post-free.

[4] Nationally from about 1880 to 1970, Windschuttle found 8250 Aboriginal children taken into care for all reasons, including NSW (2600); WA (2500); NT (1000) and  Victoria (700). That’s about 90 a year, including orphans, the destitute, the neglected and those given up voluntarily by parents. The small numbers leave small scope for any “stolen generation” national genocide involving a total 50,000-100,000 forcible removals.

[5] The schooling appeared to be effective, a contrast to the remote schools today. Protector South commented in 1908, “It is now seldom in the settled districts that one meets a native who cannot read and write.” The Closing The Gap report (2015) said remote attendance rates were as low as 14%, and only 35% of children there met minimum Year 7 reading standards. Overall there was no significant literacy improvement by Aboriginal students generally from 2008-14.

[6]  Confusingly, the 1997 document says a few pages later that removals from 1909 had “gathered pace” and the total of removals from 1909-14 was 58.

[7] The Jackomos report to the Victorian government on neglected Aboriginal children (October, 2016) described “a catalogue of failure and neglect in many areas by the [Victorian] State.”


  1. Jody

    This was always the great lie, catapulting the aboriginal community into a downward spiral of helpless dependency and victimhood; the bigotry of the soft left, described by Pearson. Short of disability, chronic or terminal illness we all have the capability to lift ourselves out of crisis and penury. The aboriginal population is now different, assuming that we are told correctly – all people are equal. That being the case we should demand of them the same as we demand of all people – resilience and independent responsibility. Anything less is abuse. And it’s what the left does oh, so well.

    One of my last tasks in teaching was to show Year 12 English students how they had been comprehensively brainwashed in the film “Rabbit Proof Fence”. As a narrative it’s a good yarn, but it’s essentially propaganda from the black armband brigade. As I have a background in documentary film, and university qualifications in film study, it was as easy as falling off a log to demonstrate to 16/17 y/o how they had been propagandized. I hadn’t seen the film before I had to teach it, but it was so infuriating to me that I stopped the film midway through and said, “oh, wait a minute; this isn’t going to stand”. So, while teaching the kids about “the Journey” for their “Area of Study” I taught them an invaluable lesson about how image and sound are used to propagandize – and they learned all about “agitprop”. Yes, that was very satisfying.

  2. en passant

    There were a number of aboriginal soldiers in units in which I served. I always asked them why they joined the Army. The unfailing answer was: “to get away from the clan and give myself a better life.”

  3. Salome

    minuscule, not miniscule.

  4. Bill Martin

    Reading an article like this brings one’s blood to boiling point. The principal target of one’s rage is not the politically correct progressive left but the educated Aborigines who condemn their less fortunate kin to perpetual misery by vigorously promoting the black armband victimhood narrative while enjoying a lavish lifestyle funded by those despicable, heartless, racist whities. There is no lower form of life than that.

    • Warty

      And that creep Mick Dodson participated in the lie, with his 100, 000 stolen children. He for one wouldn’t want this report to get out: it would be one more nail in the Constitutional Recognition coffin.

    • rosross

      I don’t think it helps to attack people personally. Generally people are acting in what they perceive are their own best interests even if they are misinformed or willingly ill-informed.

  5. Patrick McCauley

    And the historians are in this fraud up to their necks. Entire history departments of most universities are pedalling the Stolen Generations as the height and proof of Australian cruelty and racism – as attempted Genocide. Every student has seen “Rabbit Proof fence’ at least ten times during their school years and no mention of Doris Pilkington’s outrage at having her story so thoroughly mutilated by Phillip Noyce. Nor the images of having children ripped out of their mother’s arms by a policemen. This film has done more harm to Australians than Mein Kampf did to Germans. This lie has been profound, deliberate, extended, celebrated and has fuelled such resentment as to actually manifest itself into further disfunction. It has stopped Aboriginal children attending school. It has served to prevent Aboriginal children from learning to read and write in English. This of all things is what finally drove me out of left wing thinking, and it is the left who have perpetrated and fuelled this lie for over thirty years. What is shameful, is not Australia’s efforts at providing a Christian compassion to Aboriginal children with absent white fathers and vulnerable Aboriginal mothers, but the intellectuals who have driven this lie into a National Apology for something we did not do. Phillip Noyce made Australia bend down in shame before his nasty lie purporting to be a documentary. And don’t forget the parts that Robert Manne and Rai Gaita played in this shameful fiction.

    • Jody

      Nasty individuals, all. You could see from the first 15 minutes of the film what agitprop it was!! These are one and the same that luvvie Meryl Streep are “defending” against Donald trump. The latter is full of faults and will probably fail but I agree with my eldest son; Trump is taking a sledgehammer to the Left.

    • joelane94@hotmail.com

      In one of Arthur Upfield’s earliest ‘Bony’ novels, published in 1937, Bony has to work undercover on the Rabbit Fence, at Burracoppin, As usual, Upfield goes into fine detail about the job: each man was assigned about seven miles of fence to maintain, fork tumbleweed over, fix rotten posts, etc. So perhaps 150 men were working every day on the Fence, from one end to the other. Is it really possible that none of them spoke to each other, or to their drinking mates in the local pub each night, and that such information wouldn’t get into the local paper, and from there into the West Australian ? There is no reference whatever to such a story on Trove: http://trove.nla.gov.au/

      I don’t think that Doris Pilkington (born 1937) lied, but it is highly unlikely that a story can be remembered with perfect accuracy after twenty year, let alone sixty.

      In the 1934 Moseley Commission, set up by the new Labor Government t enquire into Aboriginal issues, there are no references to this story, not by Neville nor by Mrs. Mary Bennett, his perennial thorn in the side. There are refr3ences to girls running away from Moore River settlement, usually sixteen or seventeen years old, but where did they run to, or towards ? Fremantle, the bright lights. So this story directly contradicts not only the truth but the direction in which girls went, and the story and film, in their anti-assimilationist fervour, contradict the intent of those girls to get as much ‘assimilation’ as they could.

      I was born on the Left, I pent twenty years as a Maoist, but I have been disillusioned by so many aspects of the Aboriginal story. Poverty ? I did an income study of community where we had lived for four years, and to my horror, found that the average family income was equal to the Australian average, while rents were a fifth of the Australian average. Deaths in custody ? The proportion of DIC was lower than the proportion of Aboriginal people in the prison system. The Hindmarsh Island Scam ? My wife was from that group: it was clearly a fraud, perhaps dreamt up by Aboriginal people who found out about secret women’s business’ up in the North, and assumed that since all Aboriginal culture is the same across Australia, they must have had it down that way, but whites had kept it from them. Bastards. A little learning is a dangerous thing …..

    • Alistair

      “Evil” is the word (to describe our historians and academics) that comes to my mind – which is why Joe and I wrote the book – Voices from the Past. After reading the Protectors’annual reports we thought they were being misrepresented and denied natural justice. The book allows the Protectors their own voice in the current debate – instead of hearing only distortions by academics, historians and the aborigines themselves.

      • gary@erko

        Many of the links on your First Sources website end up nowhere, or open a page of unreadable characters.

      • rosross

        Evil, defined as that which negates, live spelled backwards perhaps, but not evil in the conventional sense.

        Academics at worst are self-serving do-gooders, seeking to profit from their position in an industry which provides benefits financial, professional, political and in terms of general power.

        The represent the debasement of academia in an age where opinions are considered as important, if not more important, than facts.

  6. rosross

    The heartening thing is that there are voices now, and some coming from within the indigenous community, breaking free of the black-armband lies and distortions and seeking to speak not just truth, but common sense.

Warmism’s Martial Plan

Obama declines to bomb an ISIS convoy because burning trucks will boost CO2 emissions … Australia’s defence wallahs fret about rising seas and drowning air bases …  alarmist ratbaggery distorts strategy and budgets. Military effectiveness has a new enemy: the climate-scam crowd

green fleetThe US military is in flux as President-elect Trump prepares to rid it of Obama’s global-warming overlays. This switch is underway just as the Australian military is starting to adopt Obama-style environmentalism, after a decade’s passive resistance to  climate politics.

The ADF has already capitulated to feminists and inclusiveness mavens, with top brass applauding then-Human Rights Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick for her 2014 report castigating the force’s “masculine norms” and “warrior culture”. The ADF was also told by Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert in the Abbott government in March, 2015, to recruit an imam for the benefit of the force’s 100 Muslim recruits. The coming capitulation is to the hyped climate “science” of the ANU Climate Institute and Tim Flannery’s crusading Climate Council.

This essay looks at the status quo with environmentalism in the US military, and the recent flow-ons to Australia.

What happens when the military gets climate-minded played out in Syria a year ago. Russian President Vladimir Putin was annoyed at  Turkey shooting down a Russian SU-24 bomber. So he blew the whistle on America’s  reluctance to attack Syrian ISIS road tankers carting oil into Turkey. Those black-market oil sales generate the main funding for ISIS.[1]

Showing Russian reconnaissance footage, Putin spoke of “vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon…a living oil pipe day and night.” US reporters wondered why the Obama administration hadn’t ordered US planes to  blow up the “living oil pipe”. The public explanation from former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell was that Obama did not want “to create environmental damage” or wreck infrastructure that Syrians would need in peace-time.

In an Obama version of shock and awe, A-10s Warthog ground-attack planes and Spectre gunships did start attacking the tankers, but only after leaflet drops to give the ISIS tanker drivers a considerate 45 minutes to “get out of your trucks now and run away from them.”

Concern about CO2 emissions from exploding ISIS oil tankers is just one facet of Obama’s generalship. Since 2009 he has been issuing progressively-tougher Executive Orders to government agencies, including Defence, demanding that global warming issues be raised to top-priority status. Obama has several times publicly declared climate change to  be an equal or greater threat than terrorism, and the Obama/Kerry team recently  moved climate change talks from the Oval Office to the “Situation Room,” for military/security discussion of  active threats to the US.

Dakota Wood, a retired Marine Corps officer and U.S. Central Command planner, says the Pentagon is introducing climate change, right down to military tactics, techniques and procedures level.

China’s military doctrine is less convoluted: “China’s armed forces uphold combat effectiveness as the sole and fundamental standard and work to build themselves into a people’s military that can fight and win.”  Putin, like his Chinese counterparts, has not afflicted the Russian military with climate provisos.

Another serious “threat to national security” posited by Obama is from politicians who deny that various extreme weather events are demonstrations of climate change.  Whatever dissent existed among the top US brass about the Obama campaign went mainly unspoken, while more ambitious officers competed publicly  to burnish their climate credentials. But in mid-2015, General Martin Dempsey, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made his disgust clear by issuing a 14-page policy statement on military doctrine that contains not one mention of climate change.

Trump’s eagerness to drain Obama’s military swamp is evident from his 74 questions to the Department of Energy. He wants to identify all programs tainted by Obama’s junk science, along with the programs’ bureaucratic champions. The specificity of the questions is impressive, and designed to trump any civil-service obfuscation and passive resistance. The Brits take a perverse pride in Yes, Minister bureaucrats who run rings around their politicians. Trump and his realpolitik appointees intend to (and know how to) beat the bureaucrats.

The US Navy’s so-called “Great Green Fleet” reflects Obama’s priorities, and has some direct Australian flow-ons. The background is the Navy target to run 50% on planet-friendly alternative fuels by 2020, along with many conventional energy-saving measures.  In practice, if a fuel stock contains as little as 10% biofuel, it can be fudged into the ‘green’ category.

Obama’s original intent was emissions reductions to slow global warming. During that era of $US120+ for a barrel for oil, producing fuel from chicken fat and old cooking oil didn’t seem wholly irrational. Even so, Navy coffers were depleted by at least a billion dollars in subsidies to biofuel refineries and infrastructure, with leakages to the usual green parasites and scammers.

The three US military-spec biofuel refineries can put out a mere 100 million gallons of biofuel a year, relative to the US military’s total fuel use of 4.6  billion gallons.

The biofuels policy has required constant patches to make it sensible-seeming in the real world. In this era of sub-$US50 per barrel oil, justifying biofuels is not easy. Even to Obama, the program must look like a dead man walking. The flaws, and their patches, include

  • Low energy density: Normal biofuels pack less energy per unit volume, an obvious burden to the military. The suppliers must offer “Third Generation” biofuels which somehow equal the energy-density of petroleum.
  • Extra expense: Suppliers must win orders commercially, which is only made possible by government subsidies to upstream processing.
  • Transition problems: Supplied biofuels must be ‘drop-in’ capable and require no modification to ships’  fuel equipment.
  • No actual saving in emissions: The farm-intensive nature of biofuels means their life-cycle CO2 emissions are normally worse than for fossil fuels. Suppliers are now required to demonstrate life-cycle CO2 savings, or at least go through the motions of doing so.
  • Crop diversions from foodstocks to biofuels: Nearly half US corn production is now diverted to biofuels and the world’s poorest suffer because of more expensive foodstocks. Suppliers must show (somehow) that their cropping is “complementary” to food production.

A Rand report in 2011 for the Secretary of Defence concluded (p83): “There is no direct benefit to the Department of Defense or the services from using alternative fuels rather than petroleum-derived fuels.”

After all that, the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, can muster only two rationales for the biofuel switch. The first is that it benefits growers in Ohio and other corn-producing states. Well, it would. The second is that biofuels improve US fuel security : “It keeps … fuel from being used as a weapon against us,”  he said. This is absurd, given America’s vast new  wealth of  fracked petroleum and  impending energy self-sufficiency.

Back home now, as newsreaders say, and Queensland Premier Anna Palaszczuk last August took a break from the mass-hiring of public servants to sign a “high-level agreement” on  biofuels with the US Navy’s deputy under-secretary for management, Thomas Hicks. Her vision is for the US green navy to be able to refuel at Queensland ports with ‘drop-in’ local biofuels. This would ease the US Pacific fleet’s self-inflicted logistical issue of running on two different but equivalent fuel stocks, one of them virtually unavailable outside the US. Palaszczuk’s plan is to explore how to “make Queensland the biofuel hub of the Asia Pacific”. She sees the signing as “a giant stride” towards a new Queensland industry generating “the next wave of long-term, export-oriented job opportunities”.

She has also “lured” (her word)  Southern Oil Refining from NSW to build a $16 million biofuel pilot plant at Gladstone using sugar-cane waste. If successful, it would be scaled to a $150 million refinery making 200 million litres of military-style biofuel.

Meanwhile, Australian scientists are supposedly close to using eucalyptus trees to develop ‘green’ jet fuel. According to Anthony Bergin of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, this terrific idea could also revegetate arid areas and military training ranges with suitable trees, along with creating jobs for indigenes while ironing out the ups and downs of commercial fuel prices.”[2] This really over-sells some embryonic research.

Obama’s notions of a climate-friendly military are now getting traction with the Australian Defence Force. For example, the ADF is an official supporter of WWF’s Earth Hour. At 8pm next March 25, expect lights at the ADF’s Russell offices to twinkle off (happily, it’s a Saturday night).

The military is seen by Australia’s social-justice set as a trophy agency – capturing it would be a PR coup. A more sinister agenda emanates from the Greens Party, with its policy  for downgrading military capacity to non-offensive roles, with funding to be cut accordingly; ranks having the right to conscientiously object to what they see as illegal military actions; and closure of all foreign bases and joint facilities in Australia.[3] By also  loading up  the ADF with social-justice add-ons, the Greens can effect and enjoy the force’s reduction in combat capability.

Until 2009, the emissions-haters had got nowhere with the ADF, despite Kevin Rudd’s accession and his come-and-go assertion of 2008 that climate is the greatest moral challenge of our time. In a huge embarrassment to the warmist community, the 2009 Defence White Paper had this to say:

4.61  Uncertainty about the effects of climate change and the period of time over which potential impacts may develop makes it difficult to assess its strategic consequences. Large-scale strategic consequences 
of climate change are not likely to be felt before 2030.”  (My emphasis)

Although the White Paper went on to fret about drowning island states etc., along with imagined future droughts, floods and cyclones, the damage was done – who really cares about hypothetical weather 20 years hence? Not the ADF, for starters.

To add to the Greens’ annoyance, the 2009 White Paper also included a bitchy aside that social instabilities and resource pressures, “whether caused by climate change or other dynamics” could create issues.  Heavens, doubt is expressed!

Those 2009 heresies could not be allowed to stand, since military greenies were  clamouring that global warming is already upon us (regardless that atmospheric warming has now been insignificant for the past 18 years, apart from the 2015-16 El Nino spike). So in the 2013 White Paper, the year 2030 disappeared, along with any doubts about global warming . The White Paper continued to gloom about South Pacific islands and added the fashionable memes about myriads of climate refugees.  (The UN  converted this scare to farce by forecasting in 2005 a surge of 50 million refugeesby 2010 . When challenged on it in 2010, the UNEP people furtively shifted the end-date to 2020. A further furtive shift is likely three years’ hence).

The 2016 White Paper, which had its main gestation during the un-green Abbott Prime Ministership,[4] keeps the climate story brief and muddled. It talks, as usual, about the Pacific islands’ instability, but not from 2030 (2009 report) but out to 2035. Quite a difference. With a rush of honesty, it puts the instability down to economic growth, crime, and social problems, with “climate change challenges” cited last on the list. Later it says climate change “will” see big sea rises and more and worse extreme weather events, with more calls on the ADF for neighborly help.

The “increased extreme weather” rationale is a croc. Roger Pielke Jr.,  professor of environmental studies at the  University of Colorado and a specialist in extreme weather’s history, has found  no significant trends in global tropical cyclone and floods frequency over the past 50-to-100 years. Nor has the IPCC. After giving such evidence to Congress in 2013, Pielke was witch-hunted by Democrat politicians falsely claiming he had dishonestly concealed fossil-fuel funding.

There is a new and somewhat comical concern for Australian coastal ADF facilities, because of the feared CO2-driven sea rises. There were further ADF inquiries in 2015 about the peril, putting the RAAF Townsville on the front line of sogginess (the findings are secret). I can assist the ADF by noting tide gauges at Townsville show 130mm of rise since 1959, that’s 5 inches in 57 years — or, put another way,  a bit more than the length of my hand (8in) per 100 years. Also that Queensland sea levels have been flat geologically for 7000 years; and that the current global sea rise is not accelerating.[5] Allowing for the climate models’ wild exaggerations to date, I’d say Townsville RAAF tarmac is safe from global-warming swamping till about 2100 or maybe 2300.  Indeed, a   Nature Climate Change study published in August found via satellites a net global gain of land totaling 58,000 square km. This included 13,500 sq km of coastal land surface, during  a 30 year period of spectacular CO2 emissions.

All-up, the ADF’s most workshopped public statements give global warming a perfunctory run of negative factoids, certainly not in the apocalyptic tone sought by green advocates inside and outside Defence.

The ginger group working to wean the ADF into climateering is led by ADF chief  (1998-02), and now ANU academic Admiral Chris Barrie (Ret.)[6] Barrie, like the HRC’s Gillian Triggs, also virulently criticized the Abbott-led asylum-seeker policy. Despite the degree of operational insight one would assume to be conferred by the title “admiral”, Barrie got it wrong on the tow-back solution, incorrectly predicting tht boats would be burnt and sunk by their undocumented occupants.

On global warming, Barrie is  heavily influenced by the ANU’s Climate Institute boss Will “Death Threats” Steffen. In 2015 they wrote a joint report for Flannery’s Climate Council on why the ADF should elevate global warming to a central place in strategy.

Another ardent climate pusher is Major Michael Thomas (Ret.) He says the politicisation of climate change had been “a huge distraction to defence”, i.e. it had resisted the urgings of the unelected academics and various ex-military. Thomas, who refers without quotes to the “progressive” Rudd-Gillard governments, said a year ago, “There are pockets of interest within the military on the subject, but it’s not something that has captured the attention of our senior leadership…”

Similarly Barrie, who teaches at the Australian National University, said captains and majors “get it” but “we were just not getting it where it really mattered…We do need to get the leadership all signed up in politics and the ADF.” Since Turnbull took over as PM, the brass  are publicly hitching the ADF to the warmist bandwagon.

A particular goal of the lobbyists is the creation of peak bureaucratic councils within the ADF on global warming, to include climate scientists and other activists.  This would give them more power than merely hosting external joint seminars and writing climate tracts for ADF consumption.

Chief of the Army Lt.Gen. Angus Campbell also has been nobbled by the ANU Climate Institute, inserting their apocalyptic factoids into an important speech to the Chief of Army’s Exercise last September 6. The speech drew on three luminaries from the Climate Change Institute –   Steffen, Andrew Glikson[7] and Janette Lindesay.

The speech drew on three luminaries from the Climate Change Institute –   Steffen, Andrew Glikson[7] and Janette Lindesay.

“For the first time in mankind’s history our planet may become unsuitable for habitation in many of the places where large populations presently live,” Campbell fantasised. He quoted the Institute that “changes would be irreversible on the time scale of human civilisation and would dramatically change the planet as we know it.”

Campbell hasn’t noticed that the nearly one degree of global warming to date has promoted massive gains in food output.[8] Nor that CO2’s beneficial effects in the past  30 years include greening the planet’s deserts to an extent equal to 2.5 times the area of Australia. Even the ABC couldn’t ignore that bit of news.[9]

Instead, the Lt-Gen has put his trust in IPCC computer models which, although claiming prescience to year 2100, never foresaw the past two decades’ warming hiatus (as measured by satellites), and on average are now overstating actual warming by a factor of two or three times.

Campbell doubled-down on his Year 2100 soothsaying, quoting that failure to check emissions would lead to a 23% drop in world economic output by 2100. This futurism on stilts derived from a2015 Stanford-based study in Nature. An equivalent would be a cavalry colonel in 1900 forecasting army transport in 2000. A decade ago we had the UK report by Lord Stern, wildly mis-forecasting net benefits of emissions control over the next half-century. Economists mocked his use of an absurd 1.4% future discount rate to ensure that emission reductions came out all good.

Campbell also trotted out the drowning-atolls meme, which has been debunked by tide gauges,  post-war aerial mapping– and Charles Darwin, who provided the theoretical refutation in 1836.   The islands may be uninhabitable by 2050, as Campbell suggests. But that would be from eco-degradation by the fast-breeding  locals, not from  imperceptible sea rises. As mentioned, the 2016 White Paper hinted at the main causations.

All this may become moot when President Trump marches the climate crowd out of the military sphere. With the Turnbull government wedded to spending nine-figure sums on anti-global- warming symbolism, the ADF may continue to be white-anted by global warming accretions. Within the ADF must be thousands of front-line people sickened by their employer’s pivot to political correctness and irrational solutions to non-problems. How it all plays out will be seen in the next federal election. At least the social justice warriors aren’t yet demanding “safe spaces” in the military.

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

[1]  Bilal Erdogan, the son of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan,  owns an oil company and Syrian authorities say Bilal is the main buyer.

[2]  ANU researcher Dr  Carston Kulheim suggests: “If we could plant 20 million hectares of eucalyptus species worldwide, which is currently the same amount that is planted for pulp and paper, we would be able to produce enough jet fuel for five per cent of the aviation industry.”

[3] “The deployment of Australian Defence Forces (ADF) must be for defence and peace-keeping, and not for offensive action.”

[4] A discussion paper in 2014 on the impending report made no mention of climate change. Admiral Barrie has claimed Abbott banned use of the words “climate change”.

[5] It’s within the margin of error of the data, and that data has been heavily adjusted in the first place.

[6] Barrie hit the headlines in 2001 when he first endorsed, then disendorsed, a caption to a Navy photo that said asylum seekers of Siev 4 had thrown children overboard. Actually the asylum-seekers wrecked the steering and engine on 7 October, 2001 and next day, unsurprisingly, the ship sank.
Navy people rescued 76 children from the sea.  Distinctions between thrown overboard and dumped in the water are hardly material. One child was thrown overboard (Vessel Siev 7, 24 October, 2001), and another asylum-seeker made such determined efforts to throw a child overboard that he had to be handcuffed (Siev 9, 31 October, 2001).

[7] Glikson: “The unbearable knowledge, that global warming to 3 and 4 degrees C can only spell the demise of numerous species and a collapse of civilisation as we know it under extreme global temperatures, casts a shadow on day-to-day life.”

[8] The study led by Delphine Deryng, an environmental scientist at Columbia University’s Centre for Climate Systems Research, and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies predicted average yields of current rain-fed wheat areas, mostly located in the West’s higher latitudes, might go up by almost 10 per cent, with less water consumption needed. But average yields of irrigated wheat, which account for much of India and China’s production, could decline by four per cent.

[9] Robert Macklin in his 2015 book Warrior Elite  manages to get reality 100% wrong, writing,  “And nowhere is climate change more obvious, as the Sahara advances south at frightening speed.”


  1. Bill Martin

    In the not very distant future children will incredulously ask their grandparents “gran/grandpa, is it true that when you were going to school you were taught that the world was heating up and everybody would die because … (get an endless list of details from any greenie to complete the question.)

    • en passant

      My 7-year old grandson, does not ask me your question.

      Instead he tells me with the experience of life that only pre-youth tots can assert with certainty: we are indeed going to fry & die, by heat, cold, starvation, resource depletion, industrial greed, pollution, mining, over-fishing, drought, drowning and disease et al … Education has changed since my day, but then I missed both the 20th Century’s totalitarian cults and learned to read, to write and became somewhat numerate. Fortunately, he has caught the Third Environmental Wave.

      I have a 50-year association with the military and retain a keen interest in Defence matters. Everything you say is correct, so we are doomed, but it will not be because of climate. Not only are our politicians inept and self-serving, to the point of treason in some cases (hat tip to Richard H for identifying their behaviour for what it is), but some of the numerous Defence related organisations to which I still belong, including the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), have been undermined.

      The stunning Green kumbayah proposal that “The deployment of Australian Defence Forces (ADF) must be for defence and peace-keeping, and not for offensive action” is beyond answering as you cannot debate intellectual microbes. All I can think of is that we need their negotiating skills in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and wherever … because they know of course, that ISIS is just a fiction of the alt-Right imagination. Peace in our time …

      I thought this comment was beyond parody as it had plumbed the Marianas Trench of inanity, but it was easily topped by Admiral Chris Barrie’s fictional description of the current climate situation and our potential future.

      Unfortunately, RUSI has become critically infected with the Climate Whatever blather. I have been carrying the Winter 2016 RUSI magazine (Vol. 67, No. 2) around with me since last July. It contains an appalling Editorial Opinion supporting the ‘climate-change’ hoax as if it was both real and a serious threat. The absolute tosh presented as a threat to Australia (naturally requiring consultants to direct the ADF resources necessary to take action to fight this chimera. I wonder what ‘winning’ looks like – and how we could measure it?) is a disgrace to the lives of the real warriors tasked with defending Australia. That our non-combatant ADF commanders are focused on so many irrelevant shadow boxing climate and sexual preference non-issues, then the core purpose of the military is maligned and its fighting effectiveness is compromised. The Anzac legend is now history that can no longer be taught as students could not relate to their ethos.
      I counted 37 factual and statistical errors in a 4-page article, surely a record {at least until you give the (hopefully) last Australian of the Year some space and high heels in which to make a fool of himself. I would be happy to debate Admiral Barrie on his favourite myth, but I doubt he would accept my offer as debating on real facts and not parroted cliches are apparently not his strong point.

      I offered to write a reasoned and factual rebuttal to the Barrie fairy tale for the RUSI magazine, (without any histrionics, but no prisoners would be taken) but my offer was rejected. I assume an alternative reality does not fit the green-tinted propaganda I have increasingly noticed that RUSI has now subscribed to.

      If the ADF & organisations like RUSI continue to promote fictional analyses of non-problems, then the leadership of our ‘warrior scholars’ in adding value by intellectually contributing to the debate concerning the defence of Australia is severely diminished.

      The excuse given by Bozo Bazza for refusing to allow his military to kill the enemy because it might pollute the atmosphere is incredible in the true sense of the word. I am sure he had more personal reasons …

      I could go on, but then this would no longer be a comment, but an article in itself.

      As a bonus, let me predict that the fossil-fuelled French short-fin Baitfish will NEVER be built in Australia. You heard it here first.”

  2. Richard H

    In a better age, such vile efforts to undermine our armed forces’ fighting capability would be briefly described in one word: treason.

  3. Keith Kennelly


    Yes that required all our ‘authorities’ to have a backbone.

  4. Bushranger71

    The 2 Chiefs of Defence Force (both now Knighted) who followed Barrie had even greater damaging effects on Australia’s military integrity in my view, especially the Air Force member noted for his catastrophic support of many the flawed hardware decisions spawned by the Howard Government from Year 2000 onwards, and still rolling.

    The galling bit is that these guys are exalted by The Establishment. In recent times, just one Admiral chose to retire prematurely, probably because he did not want to be caught up in the snowballing quagmire; but it has been a very long time since there has been an Australian military leader prepared to fall on his sword to defend the undermining of military integrity by the politically correct disease that now infests the nation, and especially Canberra.

    • Bushranger71

      Errata. I meant to say in the last sentence ‘…to defend against the undermining of military integrity…’. Not as sharp now at 79!

      The other key aspect worth mention here is the progressive breakdown of a functional Defence infrastructure and military cultural decay originated with the creation of a thinly-veiled unified ADF resulting from the Tange Reorganization in 1974. Both of the major political parties were complicit.

  5. Davidovich

    Thanks Tony, for this informative and alarming article. This dangerous inanity by Obama and defence leaders in the US and Australia needs to receive broader exposure as, surely, most Australians would be appalled by what is happening to our Defence Forces and thus to the real security of our country and, by Obama’s actions, to the world. On reflection, given en passant’s experience with his 7 year old grandson, perhaps most Australians would not be too concerned.

    • padraic

      I remember reading in 2014 that story of how the ADF was castigated for having “masculine norms” and a “warrior culture” and thinking that such attributes were vital for such an organisation and wondering how they would cope with attributes approved by the feministas – perhaps instead of shooting at the enemy they could “counsel” them about their inappropriate behaviour, using all the unenemployed psychology graduates pumped out by our universities. God, what a mess. The feminisation of the Western male is in full swing. The other thing that Tony correctly highlights is the sale of oil by ISIS to fund their war. At least we now know it was being sold quite openly in Turkey as convoys of trucks crossed the border without too much trouble. So if Sunni Turkey supports ISIS and ships ISIS fighters to Europe masquerading as victims why hasn’t anyone called them out? It’s a little wonder that people in the West are becoming “deplorable” when they are being treated like mushrooms by their politician and media.

  6. Ian MacDougall

    According to the article: “The public explanation from former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell was that Obama did not want ‘to create environmental damage’ or wreck infrastructure that Syrians would need in peace-time. According to the link below, the American orders to spare the controversial convoy were about avoidance of civilian casualties, and NOT military timidity.

    But the agenda underlying this piece appears to be Tony Thomas’ long-established aversion to climatology. By implication, as science is essentially indivisible, he should also be agin the more basic science as well. He should be against Arrhenius, for his discovery of the heat-trapping properties of CO2 gas. Beyond that, he should also denounce the contributions made to chemistry by Antoine Lavoisier (concept of elements) Meyer and Mendeleev (the periodic system) because Arrhenius rested on them, and thus their work has negative implications for climate ‘scepticism’.
    That will leave TT with the theories of the Medieval alchemists, (phlogiston and all that) and precious little else. The physics of Archimedes, hopefully, might just squeak by.


    • Tony Thomas

      Thanks Ian. I’m perfectly comfortable with the theory of heat-trapping gases.
      I’m not happy with the IPCC formulation that more than half the past 60 years warming is due to human-caused CO2 increases. Since the IPCC’s understanding of natural climate forcing factors is poor (as the IPCC conceded in its 2007 report), its quantification of CO2 effects vs natural effects must be guesswork. How important to climate change is the multitude of overlapping oceanic cycles, including cycles of up to 60 years or maybe longer? How important is the sunspot cycle on warming/cooling? Cloudiness levels are known to be highly important to warming/cooling but the IPCC doesn’t even pretend to have a handle on global cloudiness levels and changes. The IPCC’s understanding of the global carbon cycle is also low; many elements of the cycle have previously been grossly miscalculated by the IPCC.
      In this milieu of wobbly climate “science”, far too many “climate scientists” have disgraced themselves by choosing to become political activists. The scandals involved have been legion.

      • Ian MacDougall


        That may well be the case.
        BUT you have committed yourself to the proposition that AGW has to be a ‘scam’ and a total fraud, giving yourself no room to move except deeper into it. Because if you allow the tiniest smidgin of a chance of a possibility that mainstream climatology might just be right, then you are in much the same position as that occupied by the pacifists in the 1930s as the probability of a new world war steadily tightened in the direction of certainty.
        Likewise the 197 scientific organizations that endorse the position that climate change is being caused by human action, including the CSIRO, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Society: they all have to be wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!
        And it gets worse. In order to do that, mainstream climatology has to be presented either as a ship of fools, or as a 100% venality-motivated watertight global scientific conspiracy: one that would put the wackiest ‘9/11 truther’ in the shade. Moreover, any uncertainties in the science (and the systems that govern the climate are pretty chaotic) have to be trumpeted and pointed to as vigorously as possible. As you do.

        I would honestly like you to be right. But I will back the future of my descendants over the ever-diminishing chance that you are, and over the transient needs of the fossil-carbon industry and its shills any day.


        • Tony Thomas

          Thanks again Ian. It may surprise you but I have never referred to CAGW (don’t forget the C-for-Catastrophic is an important part of the package) as a “scam” or “fraud” in general. The system here at QO is that authors write the articles but the editor writes the headlines and opening ‘precede’.
          The 197 science organisations you refer to as endorsing CAGW, with 3-4 exceptions, have never surveyed their members about it. In the case of the Royal Society, its pro-CAGW policy a few years back was strongly disputed by an internal group which forced the leadership to tone down their language in a re-issued policy statement.On the few instances where science-body members have been surveyed, the results (as I recall) are typically only 60-40 in favour.
          Keep in mind that the IPCC’s original remit was and is to study the risks of human-induced climate change, which rather begs the question. Its job is not to study natural climate change per se.

          Next point is that for scientists to secure employment and research funding, they generally need to be ‘on board’ the CAGW bandwagon. For the sake of argument, if funding were directed ONLY to, say, solar influence on climate, you can bet that a vast global research industry on that topic would emerge. I wouldn’t expect many papers to be published saying that solar influences are negligible.
          Finally, despite this monopsonistic funding for CAGW research, the “science” of climate change includes hundreds of peer reviewed papers annually disputing the IPCC CAGW mantras. For some reasons this body of science is almost never acknowledged by the climate warriors. There were 280 such papers in 2015 and 240 in the first half of 2016.

    • PT

      Yawn. Ian, what was going to happen with that exported oil in the trucks Obama wouldn’t bomb for “environmental” concerns? Oh that’s right! Refined into diesel and petrol and burned! I remember the spurious claims made by “experts” about how a war in the Gulf in 1990 would raise global temperatures by 3 to 5degC! The same “experts” who gave us the nuclear winter etc. clearly “the science” was excessively influenced by ideology!

    • en passant

      Jellyfish Ian is back, just as ignorant and repetitive in 2017 as he was in 2016. He is still Ommm, Ommmming his myths and will fight with all his might to achieve his objective.

      Unfortunately, he has no idea what this objective is, so maybe it is just the contrarian fight of being annoying that he seeks to achieve. At least he is good at that badness.

      If there is an objective (or Holy Grail) you seek, what is it?

      1. What is the ideal average global temperature? and
      2. What is the ideal concentration of CO2 all our mitigation efforts are designed to achieve?

      I know you have no idea, as it is the green kool-aid to which you are addicte, but surely if you do not know where you are going then, like the brainless Tinman in Wizard of Oz any road will take you there?

      Sounds about right … and you are keeping embarrassing company, accompanied by many scientifically illiterate politicians.

      Let me spoil the start to everyone’s year. I just paid my QUARTERLY all-electric home bill. It was $50. Then again, this is because I live in Asia, only 30km from a huge coal-oil-gas fired power station. My bill shocked me, until I realised it was only so big because we forgot to turn off the water heater for the two-months we were not living there.

      I have challenged every warmist wonk to list seven benefits of +2°C and in return I will list seven bad effects. I predict (with the help of a computer model) that Ian will obfuscate, but will not accept the challenge.

      In short, Ian will just annoy us realists for 2017, because he can. Like a jellyfish, he does not need a sensible reason for chanting his mantra, because he is just Ian being Ian.

Gaia Can’t Stomach Spagbol

Where would we be without climate science — or, more particularly, what of carbonphobic academics if the global warming scam were ever de-funded? Why, researchers who devote their energies to the planet-despoiling peril of pasta with meat sauce would need to find something productive to do!

spagbolFight global warming by reducing CO2 emissions from your spaghetti bolognaise! This is the recommendation of two  academics associated with Melbourne’s  RMIT University whohave found that the farm-to-fork “Global Warming Potential” (GWP) of pasta with meat sauce can be significantly reduced by eliminating beef and substituting kangaroo. They recommend that for an even greater impact on global heat, rising seas, coral bleaching, tempests, bushfires and ocean acidification, you should dispense with the kangaroo too, and make your spagbol topping with lentils and kidney beans.

The Journal of Cleaner Production study, reprised at The Conversation, is by RMIT Principal Research Fellow Karli Verghese and Stephen Clune, senior lecturer in sustainable design, Lancaster University and formerly an RMIT Research Fellow. The authors say, “We hope that chefs, caterers and everyday foodies will use this information to cook meals without cooking the planet.”

A Conversation commenter, William Hollingsworth, self-identifying as “a Marxist monarchist”, suggests another planet-saving refinement to our favorite family fare. “Reduce the footprint for spaghetti bolognaise even further by cooking it in one pot, not by boiling the spaghetti separately which doubles the amount of energy needed for cooking and adds another pot to be washed up. Tastes just the same,” he says.

The true hero of RMIT’s spaghetti bolognaise-led crusade against global warming is not Skippy the Kangaroo but Oscar the Onion. The carbon footprint of onions, say the researchers, is so low it would take 50 medium onions (5.8kg) to generate 1kg of greenhouse gases. By contrast, a mere 44gm of premium beef spagbol topping generates a similar 1kg carbon footprint.

The authors, who are clearly not silly, stop short of recommending 50 medium onions for dinner. “Due to different culinary and dietary requirements,” they explain, “it is hard to argue that you can replace beef with onions.” (Insert flatulence jokes here.) A commenter, possibly a Scot[i], remarks that he would much rather eat 2.6kg of oats than 5.8kg of onions for the same greenhouse emissions.

From the paper, we discover that the five cloves of garlic in a spagbol recipe generate a mere 10 grams of harmful emissions, and the grated zucchini only 20 grams. There seems no need for either the Turnbull federal or Andrews state government to include garlic and zucchini emissions in their CO2 reduction targets. Nor do garlic and zucchini emissions bulk large in the global annual emissions tally of 42 billion tonnes.

The authors see their rankings of 168 kitchen foods’ footprints and the GWP of 1718 food stuffs’ values as relevant to the concerns of Gaia-loving householders and catering companies. If you’re fretting about your food emission “hot spots” from buffalo milk, eel, brassica, pollock, pepo,  swedes,  carp, hesperidium, true berries and pinto beans, just use their ready reckoner for planet-saving purposes.

But the  researchers lament that the emissions intensity of peanuts, goat, turkey, duck, quinoa, ostrich, emu, and rabbit  are not yet calculated – a task crying out for hefty research grants if ever there was one. Even the carbon footprint – rather,  macropod print – of kangaroos needs re-calculation. “Such information is critical if attempts are made to inform dietary choice for environmental purposes,” the authors say. Perhaps “critical” is over-stating things a bit; I’d rank cancer cures, rice yields and dark matter higher in the “critical” research category.

The academics model climate-friendly Australian weekly shopping lists and find lentil-heavy supermarket baskets can cut family emissions by between 30% and 50%. But their model didn’t cover things like travel to the shop, food storage at home, and the consequent environmental overhead of excretion.

The pair are part of the global academic horde feeding off the myth of catastrophic human-caused warming. The mortar-board mob must number in the scores or even hundreds of thousands, supported by untold billions in taxpayer funding. The spaghetti bolognaise paper alone cites nearly 100 supporting studies.

But not one such academic has noticed that no significant global warming has occurred for the past 20 years, contrary to all the computer models on which their scare depends. If the scare were ever to be scotched, research funding for spaghetti bolognaise and similar climate studies would dry up, and then what would these academics do?

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

[i] Dr Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defines oats as ‘a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.’


  1. Bill Martin

    The final sentence of this article raises a concern of considerable importance. What, indeed, would all those avid “climate scientists” do if the scare of CAGW were conclusively debunked? Here is a simple, ready-made solution to that disconcerting scenario: Global Cooling! A considerable volume of work and publicity on the subject is available by just dusting off some of the “research” and spruiking that arose back in the 70s. Admittedly, it was nowhere near as thoroughly developed as is the current alarmism, but “researchers” could quickly overcome that handicap by utilising their vast expertise honed over the past couple of decades of generating unadulterated hogwash.

  2. Don A. Veitch

    Global cooling?
    Back in 1958 I was told by my science teacher that a New Ice Age had begun. I was very scared. How happy I was when I found out years later it was, indeed, global warming that had begun.
    Global warming holds no fears for me.

  3. Lawrie Ayres

    I think it is fair to say that these “scientists” are indeed parasites. Those millions who do real work and who expend real effort in order to earn a quid to feed their families and to even have some over to enjoy themselves should be outraged that there are people with little talent, an unpaid HECs bill and a desire to bludge who want tax dollars to indulge their personal fantasy. If this research was vital there would be a corporation somewhere that would willingly fund it in order to make a future profit. Why do governments believe it is reasonable to take from the productive so the parasitic can live their preferred life? It really is time to rebel.

  4. Davidovich

    If these so- called scientists do not know that a true bolognaise sauce has neither garlic nor zucchini, then how can we possibly take their prognostications seriously?

  5. Dallas Beaufort

    Eating raw oninons saves lives while 300 atmosphers of pressue to produce hydrogen for green cars makes better sense, Noodle nation ahoy.

  6. Keith Kennelly

    Won’t all those farts add to global warming … or don’t the elites fart?

    • padraic

      Keith, you took the lentils right out of my mouth. If we all did as we were told by the veganistas the world would have to cope with dangerous levels of human produced methane. Lentils and kidney beans are among the worst culprits. They contain a certain amount of plant protein but not as much as meat. Protein is essential for the development and replacement of brain cells and hence the pure protein of meat and similar animal protein(skim milk etc)will give a better result minus the gaseous exudates. It may also explain why certain academics smell bad and are a bit dull witted.

  7. Ian MacDougall

    Where would we be without climate science — or, more particularly, what of carbonphobic academics if the global warming scam were ever de-funded? Why, researchers who devote their energies to the planet-despoiling peril of pasta with meat sauce would need to find something productive to do! 

    This is a search for justification here: not one for truth.

    The global warming “scam”, ie the proposition that the Earth is warming, and that anthropogenic CO2 is mostly responsible, is endorsed by 197 scientific organisation world-wide, including the Royal Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and our own CSIRO. But if we are to follow the lead of Tony Thomas, we arrive at the conclusion that the purposes and motives of those scientists are quite base, venal and indeed fraudulent: a ‘scam’. It is a grab for money (ie research grants) and to blazes with any other consideration.

    It also rests on the proposition that all the climatologists and other endorsing scientists are involved in a cynical conspiracy that dwarfs any other in all of human history. Nothing that haunted the mind of a Caligula, Stalin or other paranoid despot even comes close.

    For a start, a conspiracy in order to work has to be 200% watertight. If just one of the conspirators involved succumbs to temptation and blows the whistle on it, it is not just game over for the conspirators: our whistleblower can dine out on it for the rest of his or her life, and enjoy a shower of awards, gongs, knighthoods, ticker-tape parades and such to whatever extent he or she pleases. Said whistleblower would have saved the whole world from the most monstrous fraud of all time.
    Meanwhile, the venal conspirators would deservedly face criminal prosecutions and civil actions galore, and if they were individually lucky, would finish up sharing a cell with a con artiste, cat burglar, bank robber, pickpocket or mere used car dealer.


    • Salome

      Academic conspiracies are more subtle than you think. An orthodoxy emerges, and people toe the line–they know what’ll get published and consequently what’ll get funded. That said, wasn’t there a bundle of leaked emails at one point that were swept under the carpet by an internal inquiry?

    • Rob Brighton

      You ignore is the venal behaviour of AGW proponents. They lie for Gaia constantly. When they will lie about the little things, they will bullshit you mercilessly when there is a quid involved.

      When Flim Flam Flannery states water levels will rise 8 stories and subsequently buys a waterfront, you can understand why people call him a liar and question the validity of all that he says.

      When the ABC talk doom and gloom whilst showing images of water vapour as if it is clouds of CO2 being emitted into the air, you can understand why many will call the proposal into question.

      When Close the Gate mob deliver brochures on the evils of fracking that states “we do not need gas to run our power stations because solar can produce base load power”, you can understand why people think AGW is BS.

      The scams are not the fundamental proposal of the existence of AGW, they are the leeches suckling on the life blood of the proposal.

    • mags of Queensland

      It wasn’t ” 197 scientific organizations” it was 197 scientists. That’s a start. Then the other issue is that those scientists who did not agree with those 197 were shut down and labelled ‘ deniers’.

      Even the IPCC admitted that its data was flawed. So where’s your argument now? There is much more evidence of the scam than there is that it’s not.

      And the last important point is that this is a THEORY, not actual, provable, repeatable fact.

    • aertdriessen@gmail.com

      Ian, it is difficult to get a person to understand something when his salary depends on his/her not understanding it (Upton Sinclair)

    • RayB

      Boring, Ian. 600 years ago, the Pope, all his bihops, priests, & nuns, and every royal family in Europe believed that the Sun orbited the Earth. They used to kill people who made claims that this was not so.
      Guess what, Ian – all those X-spurts were wrong – just like your list of X-spurts.
      You are one of the drips under pressure which combine to make a spurt!