Sunday, February 03, 2019

January was Australia's hottest month EVER, with average temperatures of 86F (30C) - and a high of 121F (49.5C)

Ya gotta laugh.  The Greenie "Climate Council" responded to reports of record heat in Australia and record cold in the Northern hemisphere by saying that it showed global warming.  One wonders if anyone ever taught them arithmetic at school. 

If anything, the global average suggests cooling, as the Australian figures were mostly only a touch above normal but the Northern winter was/is punishingly cold.  In fact, in some parts of Australia -- like where I live in Brisbane in S.E. Queensland -- temperatures were a touch below normal.  There is clearly nothing global going on. 

In their press release, the Bureau of Meteorology cautiously decribed Brisbane January temperatures as "very warm'.  They were warm -- as they always are in January: An interesting lesson in how to mislead without actually lying.

In fact what we see is a sort of random walk.  Our January rainfall in Southern Queensland has been exceptionally light. No big downpours at all:  While North Queensland experiences exceptional flooding -- even in normally dry Townsville.  I'd like to see any "model" predict that!  It's totally random

Even the BoM could not resist the temptation to sermonize. They were once very vocal advocates of global warming but have pulled in their horns a lot since Jennifer Marohasy and others exposed their use of blatantly incorrect and corrupt data.  Below is an excerpt from their press release that formed the basis of the story below"

Bureau senior climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins said the heat through January was unprecedented.

"We saw heatwave conditions affect large parts of the country through most of the month, with records broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes," Dr Watkins said.

"The main contributor to this heat was a persistent high pressure system in the Tasman sea which was blocking any cold fronts and cooler air from impacting the south of the country.

"At the same time, we had a delayed onset to the monsoon in the north of the country which meant we weren't seeing cooler, moist air being injected from the north.

"The warming trend which has seen Australian temperatures increase by more than 1 degree in the last 100 years also contributed to the unusually warm conditions."

So in the last sentence below he makes a guarded reference to global warming.  In fact he had already described what was actually going on.  What a galoot!

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the January record on Friday as parts of the northern hemisphere experienced record cold temperatures.

The scorching start to 2019 followed Australia's third-hottest year on record. Only 2005 and 2013 were warmer than 2018, which ended with the hottest December on record.

Heat-stressed bats dropped dead from trees by the thousands in Victoria state and roads melted in New South Wales during heatwaves last month.

On January 24, the South Australian capital, Adelaide, recorded the hottest day ever for a major Australian city – a searing 115.9F (46.6C).

On the same day, the South Australian town of Port Augusta, population 15,000, recorded 121.1F (49.5 C) – the highest maximum anywhere in Australia last month.

Bureau senior climatologist Andrew Watkins described January's heat as unprecedented. 'We saw heatwave conditions affect large parts of the country through most of the month, with records broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes,' he said.

The main contributor to the heat was a persistent high-pressure system over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand that blocked cold fronts from reaching southern Australia.

Rainfall was below average for most of the country, but the monsoonal trough has brought flooding rains to northern Queensland state in the past week, leading to a disaster declaration around the city of Townsville.

Queensland's flooded Daintree River reached a 118-year high this week. Emergency services reported rescuing 28 people from floodwaters in the past week.

'The vast bulk of the population will not have experienced this type of event in their lifetime,' State Disaster Co-ordinator Bob Gee told reporters, referring to the extraordinary flooding.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill described the torrential rain as a 'one-in-100-year event' that had forced authorities to release water from the city dam. The water release would worsen flooding in low-lying suburbs, but would prevent the Ross River from breaking its banks.

In the southern island state of Tasmania, authorities are hoping rain will douse more than 40 fires that have razed more than 460,800 acres (720 square miles) of forest and farmland by Friday. Dozens of houses have been destroyed by fires and flooding in recent weeks.

Milder weather since Thursday has reduced the fire danger but it was forecast to escalate again from Sunday.

The Climate Council, an independent organisation formed to provide authoritative climate change information to the public, said the January heat record showed the government needed to curb Australia's greenhouse gas emissions which have increased during each of the past four years.

'Climate change is cranking up the intensity of extreme heat, and January's record-breaking month is part of a sharp, long-term upswing in temperatures driven primarily from the burning of fossil fuels,' the council's acting chief executive, Martin Rice, said.


PR boss says parents are lazy and don't teach children respect or discipline

She is obviously right that parents are confused about what values to teach their children -- now that the Leftist dogma "there is no such thing as Right and Wrong" prevails. But the Left do not at all apply that dogma to their own beliefs.  They just use it to discredit non-Leftist values. And they go on to teach their values in the schools.

But the transfer of value education to the schools is fundamentally wrong. Take the trendy belief that physical punishment such as spanking is wrong and harmful. The evidence for that is very poor -- with only extremes of it being demonstrably harmful.

And the prevalence of that false belief has had a huge impact. Discipline in many school classrooms has collapsed, with unruly children ruining the education of  their classmates.  When the Biblical injunction "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) was the prevaling influence, classes were much more orderly and most kids actually learned something.  In some places these days you have High School graduates who can barely read and write

So schools cannot at all be entrusted with values education and should not be entrusted with it.  They should confine themselves to teaching academic subjects -- literacy, numeracy, history, geography, sciences, languages etc.

And under those circumstances many parents would step up to give their children moral and ethical guidance

Controversial commentator Prue MacSween has labelled the young student who was dragged along the concrete by his principal on the first day of school 'a little smart a** kid'.

Footage quickly went viral on Thursday of Steve Warner, principal of Manor Lakes school in Wyndham Vale, Melbourne, pulling the boy, 9, by one arm.

MacSween took to Channel Nine's Today Show on Saturday to defend the 'poor principal' as she highlighted the so-called problem of 'lazy parenting' across Australia.

MacSween quickly got fired up when discussing the idea that schools could introduce courses for parents to boost their skills in order to help children.

'Our biggest problem is that there is an erosion in our society of people who have respect and who have discipline, and we have these cotton-wool kids,' the PR boss said.

'We have a situation where we have parents who are totally inept, they're lazy.'

MacSween said parents don't have any idea what their responsibilities are, and instead lean on their children's teachers.

'We have bred a generation of people who just want it all, who don't want to work hard for it - pay their dues,' MacSween said.

The outspoken commentator said the younger generation had been failed by poor parenting, with 'yummy mummies' who care more about making it to Pilates rather than how their children behave at school'.

'We saw that yesterday with that poor principal having to drag that little smart a** kid and had to contend with the parents to explain himself,' she said.

'Why are people having children who shouldn't be bloody parenting? Buy a cat, buy a dog, don't have bloody kids!'

False rumours from students and parents at the P-12 school have circulated on social media, claiming the boy kicked a pregnant teacher in the stomach. 

However, the boy's sister Bianca Moore rubbished such claims, saying he kicked a trolley during a 'tantrum' on his first day at his new school.

'He suffers from ADHD and anxiety and obviously starting at a new school has upset him, he was having a tantrum,' she said.


Flawed morality of the middle class hurts Liberals

The Morrison government faces a revolt of the middle class — or at least a section of the middle class that is moralistic about climate change, compassionate in its politics, well-off in income terms and alienated from the Liberal Party it once supported.

Try this for a novel idea: these alienated progressive Liberals now backing independents in leafy wealthy seats have been since time immemorial part of the core Liberal base — now a lost part of that base — that once made these seats pure blue in Liberal loyalty.

The Morrison government, ­befitting its pragmatic nature, must act. The government is planning to pump more money into the Emissions Reduction Fund to enable it to keep conducting ­reverse auctions in coming years with one political goal — to ensure the 26 to28 per cent emissions ­reduction target by 2030 is manifestly achievable and to kill off the argument to the contrary.

This is trying to address the gaping political hole created by the August 2018 leadership change and the dumping of Malcolm Turnbull: the loss of climate change credibility. This has spilled over into an independent-based electoral movement that saw Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth fall and now threatens both Tony ­Abbott in Warringah and Health Minister Greg Hunt in Flinders.

There is a de facto alliance at work creating havoc in the Liberal heartland. It comprises the “compassionate” and “moralistic” independents milking Liberal alienation and, in Abbott’s case, fanning personal hatreds, and the Left’s political stormtroopers in the form of GetUp and trade union muscle.

While the model is Kerryn Phelps’s successful campaign in Wentworth, none of the other ­independents possesses her ­experienced profile in their seats or the unique aspect of that ­by-election — her tapping into anger in Turnbull’s seat at his ­removal. The Wentworth model might not be fully transferable but the risks are high for targeted Liberals.

While an expanded Emissions Reduction Fund does not substitute for the abandonment of the national energy guarantee, the ­reality is that the fund remains the government’s principal mechanism to combat climate change. Its $2.55 billion allocation to purchase emission reductions is ­nearly exhausted, with only $226 million left, and the government is expected to announce a new agenda to extend into the 2020s.

The middle class revolt is moralistic in character, ideological in policy — pledged to renewables as a faith — insists the Liberals have failed to confront the climate change challenge ade­quately and either plays down or ignores the economic costs to the community.

It is, in part, a manifestation of what political scientist Judith Brett branded the moral middle class as a foundation of Liberal Party support — the argument being that Liberal success was never driven just by economic ­interest but resides in the connection between the party and middle-class morality.

Patching up the climate change credibility gap is the best Scott Morrison can do at this stage, but the problem merely highlights the political insanity of the conservative media cabal that has been drum-beating for months to relax or modify the 26-28 per cent emission reduction targets and walk out of the Paris Agreement. If you want a prescription for political suicide, this is hard to beat.

Meanwhile, the government, through Energy Minister Angus Taylor, works the other side of the debate: it will underwrite new ­energy projects based on 24/7 dispatchable power to get extra supply into the system. Taylor’s priority is gas. But coal, gas and hydro are in the mix, with the final announcements coming soon of projects across several states.

The government will intensify its campaign on the economic harm arising from Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction target. Taylor says this “will involve seriously damaging core sectors in the Australian economy”. The government will target the specific regions most affected, but the key state is Queensland, where Gladstone, Bundaberg and ­Mackay are exposed in a network of industries at risk. The consequence, Taylor says, is obvious: under the 45 per cent target industry will shift to western China where emissions are higher, and Australian jobs will be lost.

In short, the government wants the independents, Labor and the Greens to be held ­accountable for all sides of the moral argument about climate change action. Yet the inevitable electoral fight on two fronts facing the Morrison government is daunting — it needs to buttress its climate change credibility for the two-thirds of the population that expect Australian action while hammering its obligation to the economy and power prices for the two-thirds that reject economic and household damage as the price for such climate change ­action.

The symbolism of the campaign against Abbott is stark. The Labor Party cannot beat Abbott. He can only be beaten by a particular type of middle-class revolt. This revolt is the antithesis of the forces that saw Abbott elected prime minister in 2013, when he ran on repeal of the carbon tax and as a social conservative.

Its values are climate change activism and social progressivism but the pervasive message runs deeper — this is the claim that ­Abbott’s brand of Liberalism has lost touch with voters and lost touch with the emerging trend of middle class morality.

The stakes, in short, transcend Abbott and go to the contested character of the Liberal Party now deeply divided between moderates and conservatives. Abbott’s opponent, former Olympian, barrister and sports administrator Zali Steggall, is impressive on paper, with a long family history in the Manly-based seat.

Yet her credentials with Liberal voters are highly dubious. Steggall says she is pitching to moderate Liberal voters, yet ­revealed in this week’s interview with David Speers on Sky that, while not voting Labor, she had never voted for Abbott at the nine elections since he came into parliament in 1994 at a by-election.

That is, she never voted for John Howard at his 1996 victory, never voted for the Howard government, let alone the Abbott or Turnbull governments. Such a consistent position surely makes her sound like a highly committed anti-Liberal candidate, not a Liberal loyalist now disillusioned.

Signalling climate change as a priority, Steggall called Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 a “start”, but said it was not enough and “we need to push for more”. She nominated climate change activist Tim Flannery as a reference point and said her position was part of the “sensible centre” of politics.

Abbott responded immediately, branding her a “carbon tax” advocate. This suggests a local ­­re-run of the national 2013 contest. “She’s got to be the carbon tax candidate,” Abbott said. “We can’t do more on climate change without putting more costs on to the community. If the government’s response is inadequate, we need to know what the government should be doing. You can’t run for parliament just striking a pose or offering a wish list. It’s a got to be a practical policy and that means looking at what it costs the community and what the community gains.”

The election will test whether Abbott’s stance on climate change remains viable. He is a formidable incumbent with deep ties in Warringah, immense capacity as a grassroots campaigner, a proven record of defeating protest-­inspired independents and loyalties that run deeper than many people realise.

At the 2016 election, Abbott suffered a hefty swing against him but still polled 51.65 per cent of primary votes. He wants to remain in parliament and exert an influence on the future course of Liberal politics, while his opponents want to terminate his career and his ­influence within the party.

The divisions within the party on climate change are unresolved but now mainly submerged. They were a factor, however, in the 2018 leadership crisis and neither Turnbull nor former deputy Julie Bishop have forgotten. “Our party is divided on the issue of climate change and whether — or how — we respond,” Bishop was quoted yesterday as saying in a speech in Hong Kong.

“I don’t see a solution to the current impasse but investors need regulatory certainty, given the large long-term investment needed for building energy-­generating capacity.” This is an undisguised criticism of the Morrison government — the point being that leadership pressures saw the demise of the national ­energy guarantee — and constitutes political ammunition for Labor and the independents.

Greg Hunt is under threat from independent and former Liberal Julia Banks, who quit the party in protest over Turnbull’s removal and has now decided to run not in her present seat of Chisholm, which is highly marginal and where she would be competing against Labor, but against Hunt in Flinders.

Hunt, again, is a formidable local MP who had a 2016 election two-party preferred vote of 57 per cent-plus. He will be haunted by the campaign against him on the basis that he voted against Turnbull and aspired to become Peter Dutton’s deputy. However, the idea that Hunt is part of any “far Right” in the Liberals is a joke.

Banks is a case study in the phony morality of the independents. She poses as an honourable politician but comes with heavy baggage that just gets heavier. Having been elected as a Liberal in Chisholm, she betrayed the ­voters by quitting the party and offering as justification that she put “the people before the party”.

Putting that hypocrisy behind her, she has now decided to try to dislodge a sitting senior Liberal ­invoking climate change and ­female representation as her calling card. It is a brand of seat swapping worthy of the most cynical tactics of the most cynical politicians. It should invite a fitting a voting response.

In the process, Banks provoked a subtle knife jab from Hunt: “I would never walk away from the area I grew up in to try to represent another area.” It would not be unreasonable to speculate that Banks was set upon a course of revenge on the party she accused of bullying her. The Victorian party, meanwhile, is consumed with speculation about whether Turnbull’s hand has played any role in these events.

At this point GetUp enters from stage left. It is targeting prominent conservatives headed by Abbott and Dutton in his Brisbane seat of Dickson. Many of the independents who take pride in their morality have the GetUp mob behind them. With its political scalps from the 2016 election hanging from its belt, GetUp ­declares it will canvass every home in Abbott’s electorate. It is formidable partly because its task is to destroy; it is not a political party promoting its own MPs.

Its tactics, as documented in The Australian, are for its volunteers to connect with voters hostile to Abbott by describing how he “negatively impacted a compassionate value in my life”. The volunteers will tell voters the election is an opportunity to raise standards and vote out politicians who don’t act on our values.

Anybody up for a serious ­debate about morality in politics?


Cyclist arrogance again

They think they are saving the planet so ordinary rules don't apply to them

A motorbike rider has captured the astonishing moment more than a dozen cyclists forced her to stop in the middle of a roundabout - despite the fact she clearly had the right of way.

Estelle Rose was travelling to work on Tuesday in the Tasmanian town of Legana when she was stopped in her tracks as she tried to turn right at an intersection.

'I have the right of way so I can exit the roundabout, correct? No, not according to the mass group of cyclists that force me to stop in the middle of the roundabout to give way to them,' Ms Rose wrote on Facebook.

Ms Rose said she had since been told the lead rider yelled 'stopping' - a cue for the rest of the pack to slow down.   

'Me, in my situation, saw ahead that not everyone was slowing down so I made the call to come to a complete stop,' she said.

'[I] saved myself from crashing into the ones that didn’t slow to stop and from causing unnecessary injuries.'

One of the cyclists admitted the video 'looks absolutely terrible'.

He took offence to some of the comments posted on Facebook which suggested Ms Rose shouldn't have stopped.

'I am sorry we had a bad experience on the road this morning but please know it was a misunderstanding and definitely not arrogance,' he said.

'It was a mistake and both the cyclists and the driver were in the wrong.' 

But hundreds of viewers disagreed and pointed the blame squarely at the cyclists. 

'Your (sic) wrong mate! The video quite clearly shows that Estelle was well round the roundabout when your bunch of riders completely broke the road rules,' one wrote.

'How righteous are these cyclists?' another asked.

'She is clearly still moving right up to you guys... Had she not stopped you would have been hit. Besides if the cyclists had done the right thing and oh I don't know, given way (what a novel idea) it wouldn't have been an issue.'

Yet another said: 'Ban them from the road, it happens every day.'

According to transport authorities in every Australian state and territory, all road users must slow down or stop to give way to vehicles already in a roundabout.


The rise, fall and rise of retirees will bring big changes

Deep below the surface of the Australian people there are powerful tectonic forces that can shift consumer and property markets. These forces might stem from the 1960s and earlier, but they are surfacing this decade and will continue into the next.

We all understand the baby boom and its effect on the school-age market in the 1970s, on household formation in the 1980s, and on the demand for sea-change property in the 2000s.

But over the next seven years Australia (and other nations) will pass through a different phase as the baby-boomer generation shifts wholly into retirement.

The net annual number added to Australia’s 65-plus population averaged 20,000 over the half-century to 1980. Over the following 30 years this number ramped up to 50,000, but from 2011 onwards the number has jumped to 120,000.

Our rising retiree population results from the inflow and outflow of migrants and the interplay between the number of deaths and the number of people turning 65. Its recent uplift is being driven by a surge in retirees born in the early years of the baby boom (1946-1956) and who are now turning 65.

But the retiree market is also being driven by a global trend of longevity. There’s more people hanging around in their 80s and the 90s, whereas a century ago most people died in their 60s. Longevity, plus the 1950s baby boom, is shaping demand for business, for property and for government services.

It’s tempting to think that “longevity” will increase the retirement population for decades into the future, but this is not the case. The time to be in retirement services — however this sector might be defined — is very much over the coming decade.

There’s way more people hanging around in their 80s and the 90s, whereas a century ago most people died in their 60s.

The number of Australians annually added to the 65-plus bucket will peak at 137,000 in 2026, then dramatically contract to 54,000 by 2043, and then recover to 126,000 by 2060.

Australia’s retirement population will never actually contract over the next half century, but this cohort’s growth rate will rise, then fall, then rise again.

So, how does all this coming and going of the retirement market affect business and careers today?

Let’s say that you’re in your mid-30s working in aged care, in financial planning, in health care or in the delivery of government services. You entered the workforce in the mid-2000s; you prospered because of the demographic uplift brought about by retiring baby-boomers.

You fight your way to the top of the sector over the next decade as more baby-boomers enter retirement. By your mid 40s you will be at the top of an industry that has expanded every year for 20 consecutive years. It looks like you made a prescient career choice all those years ago.

But then something happens. The market subsides. The skills that got you to the top are no longer relevant in the 2030s. In the decades to 2026 it was all about expansion and getting the model right; in the decade beyond 2026 it will be about cost-cutting, taking market share and managing mergers and takeovers.

This year, and the subsequent six years, is precisely the time to acquire, to build, to invest and to grow businesses associated with retirement, with older healthcare, with life’s later indulgences (for example, cruises), with medical technology such as titanium hips, with the provision of financial planning advice and the development of downshifter properties.

In fact, plan to sell your business in 2026 at the demographic peak of the retirement market.

The time to reduce business and career exposure to this market is in the 2026-2031 time frame, as growth in the 65-plus bucket plummets 30 per cent to 100,000 a year. The retirement sector is still growing, but at a reduced rate.

There is a different skill set required to prosper in a falling market than there is in a rising market.

Throughout the 2030s the strategy might be to acquire distressed businesses and assets in readiness for retirement’s second coming from 2043 onwards.

Maybe the aged-care sector should recruit from the manufacturing sector to get the right skills.

The reason why Australia’s 65-plus market rises and then falls is because of Gen X shrinkage. Rising birth rates between 1946 and 1961 are driving today’s retiree growth. But between 1961 and 1978 the introduction of the contraceptive pill caused birth rates to drop, producing a smaller Gen X cohort following the boomers.

And then of course came the voluminous millennial generation — the children of the baby-boomers — who will boost the 65-plus population from 2043 onwards.

So, there you have it. The reason why there will be a hiccup in the demand for retirement services in the 2030s is because of the pill, which delivered a modest pool of Xers in the 1960s.

But the 65-plus market is actually a grab bag of subgroups that hang around the workforce exit.

It is true that an increasing proportion of over-65s will work, but this will always remain a relatively small number.

At the younger end (65-69) of this grab bag are workers as well as “big trip” travellers, suburban downshifters and an assortment of corporate types in denial and who simply refuse to retire.

The 70s deliver grandparents, legacy-seekers and wellness and enlightenment pursuers.

The 80s and beyond are society’s greatest consumers of healthcare and of a range of government support services.

The 85-plus bucket really is ground zero for the healthcare and the aged-care sectors. There’s about 500,000 Australians aged 85-plus today; this number is currently growing at 10,000 a year in net terms. This market will expand exponentially over the next decade, peaking at growth of 53,000 in 2032.

The strategy, then, should be to continue with the development of retirement homes, the provision of retiring living services, the management of SMSFs, until the mid-2020s and then expand and/or diversify into total healthcare, into delivery of powers of attorney, into ultraluxury cruising, indeed into all of the accoutrement of the dependently aged.

One of the great challenges for business is that from the perspective of age 45 and younger, the 65-plus market looks like a big grey blob. But, up close the market is clearly stratified with each layer being subjected to different demographic forces. Work, superannuation and indulgence eventually give way to family, reflection and legacy, which in turn give way to almost a spiritual preoccupation with the meaning of life.

Business needs to be aware of the big-picture demographics as well as of the segments within the grab bag world that lives, loves and lingers beyond the end of work.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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