Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Brooke Boney's one wish for all non-Indigenous Australians

She wants other Australians to look up their family history. She apparently thinks that will change attitudes. I have looked up my family history and it has indeed affected my attitudes. I am amazed and proud at how quickly they brought civilization to Australia.

She says that Aborigines have not ceded title to Australia. But they did not have to. Title to Australia was gained by right of conquest. If that right is of no consequence we should ask the English to go back to Germany, which is where they came from around 500AD. And all Arabs should certainly be ejected from Palestine

Before she studied journalism, Today reporter Brooke Boney would often read inaccurate stories about Indigenous Australians, or ones that failed to include their perspective.

Even now, Boney, who made history last year when she became commercial breakfast television's first Indigenous star, said she faced a "big uproar" from the public when she did give the Indigenous perspective on topics.

At an event to mark NAIDOC's week at Sydney's Botanic Gardens on Tuesday, chaired by Boney, Indigenous panellists discussed this year's theme, "Always Was, Always Will Be [Aboriginal land]".

Boney said if she had one wish it would be for non-Indigenous Australians "to go back through their own family history and see how their family has benefited from the oppression of black people."

“If everyone did that, we might have a better chance of moving forward," said Boney, who made headlines in 2019 when she said her family would not be celebrating Australia Day.

Indigenous rights activist Teela Reid said this year's theme recognised that "First Nations people had never ceded sovereignty to this country, to this land and to these waters." And she said non-Indigenous Australians needed to face this difficult and uncomfortable truth.

NAIDOC week was an opportunity to celebrate and embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, said the panellists. But they also called on non-Indigenous Australians to educate themselves about the oldest surviving culture on the earth.

Ms Reid, a Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, also said there was an obligation for non-Indigenous people to own up to their truth of the history - one of bloodshed - of what "their people did to our ancestors".

"It is also about unfinished business that we have to confront as a nation," she said. "We have to be very mindful, as a nation, that we have not gone on a journey of truth-telling, and that journey would be a dialogue between non-Indigenous and First Nations people."

She said starting these conversations was a difficult process. "That's a sign of maturity. We are not expected to feel good, because the truth is that our history is one of bloodshed. Confronting the truth is an uncomfortable process."

Alternative facts do not belong in serious debate

A centre/Left pair air grievances. Both Rudd and Turnbull have glass jaws

Malcolm Turnbull’s reference this week to the “rather surreal environment of the Trump administration” was uncomfortably close to home — for Mr Turnbull himself. The term alternative facts, coined by Donald Trump’s former press secretary Kellyanne Conway in 2017, sums up the former prime minister’s folly in blaming Coalition MPs and News Corp, publisher of The Weekend Australian, for his own political failures.

Central to Mr Turnbull’s victim narrative is his claim, echoed on Sunday by another vengeful and bitter former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, that News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, through his editors, interfered in the Liberal Party to bring about a leadership change to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton or Scott Morrison, then treasurer, in August 2018.

But Mr Turnbull’s alternative facts are contradictory. In his book A Bigger Picture, he claims Mr Murdoch told Kerry Stokes that Mr Turnbull had to go because “he can’t win, he can’t beat Shorten”. But on the ABC in April, Mr Turnbull claimed Tony Abbott and right-wing media “overthrew my government and overthrew my prime ministership not because they thought I’d lose an election but because they thought I would win it … a Liberal Party that they could not control was not a Liberal Party they wanted to have.” He cannot have it both ways.

For the record, our position, published before the partyroom vote that brought Mr Morrison the prime ministership was clear: “True to our mission of backing national and economic development, The Australian has argued strongly in this editorial column for the Turnbull government to succeed in its task of fiscal repair and reform. We have been constructively critical, urging the Coalition on its low-tax agenda aimed at delivering growth … Whether it is under Mr Dutton, Mr Morrison, Ms Bishop, Mr Abbott or even Mr Turnbull on reprieve, the challenge is to fight for Coalition mainstream ground rather than to haggle over Labor priorities.”

Mr Turnbull lost control on the ABC’s Q&A on Monday, personalising his attack on Paul Kelly, this newspaper’s editor-at-large. Raising his voice and wagging his finger, Mr Turnbull demanded that Kelly resign over this newspaper’s coverage of climate change. Coming from a supposedly sophisticated small-l liberal, the exchange exposed Mr Turnbull’s autocratic mindset and disregard for personal conscience and the principle of choice. The notion that journalists toe a moral line dictated by any politician does not belong in a democracy. Mr Turnbull’s claims that newspapers such as The Weekend Australian “make stuff up”, engage in vendettas and encourage conspiracy theories was ludicrous and offensive. “You know, we had 12 million hectares of our country burnt last summer and your newspapers were saying it was all the consequence of some arsonists,” Mr Turnbull raged. Another alternative fact. Making stuff up, apparently, is OK for Mr Turnbull himself.

In hundreds of news reports, commentaries, features and editorials during the summer of 2019-20, The Australian carried first-hand accounts of the fires, the deadly damage they caused and heartbreaking sufferings of so many. We also published a wide range of views on associated issues — land clearing and backburning, drought, climate change and building regulations. Arsonists were a small part of the story. By January 7 this year, police had arrested 183 people for lighting bushfires across Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. As we editorialised on January 10: “The evidence of global warming since the Industrial Revolution is clear. More intense fires are an observed reality consistent with the predictions of climate change science.” In that editorial we quoted Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-Operative Research Centre chief executive Richard Thornton warning “there is significant research worldwide that fire seasons are starting earlier and generally getting longer”.

Mr Morrison, we argued, “should command discipline within Coalition ranks and project a clear resolve to do what has to be done on climate change and bushfires. We should continue to be a good international citizen by contributing to climate change mitigation while being pragmatic about global politics and preserving the economic strength that allows us to fund Australia’s adaptation to new ecological realities.” Ever since the Howard era, we said, governments had accepted the need to respond to global warming: “And unlike many other countries, Australia has matched its rhetoric with credible actions to meet mitigation targets. From large-scale wind farms to rooftop solar, the growth in per capita renewable energy is well ahead of the rest of the world.” It had become common, as we pointed out, “to denounce as climate denialism any attempt to include non-warming factors in the mosaic of bushfire science … It’s clear more burning is needed, precisely because of the greater risks brought by climate change.”

Given his business wizardry and economic know-how, Mr Turnbull could contribute worthwhile insights to the national conversation. But in a move he is, of course, free to make (we do not share his unease with free expression) he has joined Mr Rudd in a hectoring double act reminiscent of the Muppets’ cantankerous old codgers, Statler and Waldorf. The two former prime ministers have much in common, including, at times, mutual disdain. Both have glass jaws; neither is a creature of his party. In 2016, Mr Rudd berated Mr Turnbull as a “little f..king rat” and a “piece of shit”. On that occasion, as prime minister, with his cabinet divided on the matter, Mr Turnbull refused to back Mr Rudd’s bid to be UN secretary-general. As Mr Turnbull rightly said, Mr Rudd lacked the interpersonal and management skills for the job. On that occasion, as on countless others on matters of domestic and foreign policy, we backed Mr Turnbull. True, we did not always back him, any more than we always backed Mr Rudd, John Howard, Mr Abbott, Paul Keating or Bob Hawke.

On Sunday, Mr Turnbull claimed Australians were living in a “siloed echo chamber that reinforces their prejudices, that appeals to the worst demons of their nature rather than their better angels”. Yet another alternative fact. News Corp publishes popular newspapers in various parts of the country, and asks readers to pay for them. Likewise, News Corp has a growing paid subscriber base for its digital publications. The Australian is among the fastest growing subscriber-only news sites in the world. If readers don’t like, they don’t pay. Simple. In Mr Turnbull’s alternative universe, presumably News Corp should not be as free to sell its publications to Australians, who are free, of course, not to buy them.

Mr Turnbull seems outraged that News Corp publications are sought after and respected by Australians interested in the news. This can not be right! Commentators must agree with me! They agree with me at the Guardian Australia. In Mr Turnbull’s warped view of the world something must be done about it. What, exactly it is unclear. News is too powerful, so give Australians fewer options? More Guardian, less of The Australian? But what has changed? Just six years ago, when Mr Turnbull’s political career was on the rise, not yet in ashes as it is today, he was the minister responsible for media laws. He said this, again on the ABC’s Q&A: “You are living in the past if you think printed newspapers are still dominating the media. What we are seeing now is a period where Murdoch did dominate, certainly the print part of Australian media and of course pay TV, to a point that because of the internet and because of publications frankly like the Guardian, online publications, we are seeing more competition and more diversity in our media than we have ever had in my lifetime certainly.” And of course, as prime minister, Mr Turnbull presided over changes to media laws that concentrated ownership, allowing Nine to buy Fairfax newspapers.

But to be fair to Mr Turnbull, we too have changed. We endorsed Mr Turnbull for the 2016 election, just as we advocated for Mr Rudd in 2007 against Mr Howard.

Mr Turnbull and Mr Rudd are out for revenge against media, expecially News Corp, who had the temerity to criticise them as well as praise them. Have they forgotten Enoch Powell’s adage: “A politician complaining about the media is like a sailor complaining about the sea”?

The ghost of Tony Abbott paralyses Canberra on climate policy

The climate has moved on. Companies have moved on. State governments have moved on. Australia's biggest trading partners have, too. But the ghost of Tony Abbott inhabits Parliament House, Canberra. It scares the government. And it scares the opposition.

It was Abbott who broke Australia's national approach to climate and energy policy. It was a decade ago that he drove the knife of political conflict so deep and so effectively into federal politics that both sides of Parliament remain traumatised. They struggle to move on.

It was pathetically obvious this week. In both the Morrison government and the Albanese opposition.

In the government's case, it was when the Prime Minister made his congratulatory phone call to the US President-elect, Joe Biden. They discussed shared priorities including climate change.

The incoming American leader intends committing the US to a policy of zero net-carbon emissions by 2050. This is a policy that Morrison dare not endorse, or even speak. Instead, he told reporters: "I raised with the President-elect the similarity between the President-elect's comments and policies regarding emissions reduction and technologies that are needed to achieve that and we look forward to working on those issues."

So he emphasises the common ground – the obvious fact that all countries need new energy technology to cut carbon emissions. And avoids the difference – that Biden has a long-term target, and Australia does not. The Biden office issued a readout saying the pair discussed "common challenges" including "confronting climate change".

Australia, of course, has remained committed to Paris. And the Morrison government quietly has supported billions of dollars' worth of new renewable investments in the states, granted major project status to the $22 billion Sun Cable project to export solar power from the Northern Territory under the ocean to Singapore, invested in hydrogen technology, and much more.

But rather than being able to welcome home the prodigal son of the global climate effort in a full-throated greeting to post-Trump America, Morrison is suddenly mute when it comes to the forbidden words. It's just sad that a national leader can't speak the taboo words of targets or deadlines in an area of policy on which the fate of his country depends.

Australia's carbon emissions are falling. It's just that, on the current trajectory, we won't hit net zero for another four centuries. Or, more precisely, until 2393, as the Climate Council researcher Tim Baxter told my colleague Mike Foley.

It's not that Morrison is hostile to the concept of going carbon neutral. When asked, he agrees that he would like Australia to hit net-zero emissions "as quickly as possible". He just won't put a date to it, and says it'd be dishonest to do so without being able to specify the cost to the economy.

This runs contrary to two iron rules of politics. One is that the more distant the date, the more likely the commitment, and 2050 is 30 years hence. Morrison will be 82, assuming he lives that long and the planet is still habitable. He'd be long retired and unaccountable.

The other iron rule is to emphasise the benefits of a policy you support, and dissemble on the costs. For instance, the government is raising hundreds of billions of dollars in fresh Commonwealth debt in the bond market. It boasts about how it's supporting the economy today. And what costs will Australia's next generation pay to carry and repay that debt? Crickets.

Morrison's obduracy is even more bizarre when you realise that every state and territory in the Commonwealth has pledged to get to net zero by 2050. The real reason Morrison dare not break the taboo? Two words: Tony Abbott.

Recall that John Howard and Kevin Rudd reached a broad bipartisan agreement in 2007. They converged on the idea of an emissions trading scheme. This remained the consensus under Liberal leaders Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull. Until Abbott decided to break ranks, demonise the policy and lead a conservative insurrection against Turnbull.

Under the Abbott rule, it is illegitimate for politicians to commit to a carbon-cutting target. Even his own. As prime minister Abbott committed Australia to its Paris target. But once he'd been unseated by Turnbull, Abbott started campaigning against his own target.

That approach enabled him to bring down Turnbull, but also Julia Gillard. It was instrumental to his political successes.

No matter the need or the urgency. Morrison knows that to campaign openly, ambitiously, is to risk another conservative insurrection from his own Coalition. Instead he sticks to the safe ground of talking up new technology and more investment.

And then there's Labor. The party's spokesman on resources, Joel Fitzgibbon, had planned to announce his retirement from the opposition frontbench on December 7 under an internal deal in the NSW right faction. He decided to accelerate the plan and go out in a blaze of angry dissent instead.

Since last year's federal election he'd made a point of talking up coal mining. There's a lot of it in his NSW seat of Hunter Valley. He suffered a big swing against him at the 2019 election and blamed Labor's climate activists for being disdainful of coal mining and Labor's traditional blue-collar base.

Anthony Albanese's opening salvo against Scott Morrison in Monday's question time was to point out that 70 countries including Biden's America were committing to net-zero targets by 2050: "Why is the Prime Minister leaving Australia behind by refusing to?"

This was planned as a Labor theme for the week. Fitzgibbon's high-profile dissent within Labor sabotaged that effort and opened Labor to attack from the government. And when Albanese chided Fitzgibbon at Monday evening's shadow cabinet meeting, it erupted into an angry exchange. Without a discussion of the actual policy. Fitzgibbon resigned from the front bench the next morning. Three weeks early. He plans to continue his destabilising campaign of criticism.

Once again, Labor is acting out the Abbott rule – Fitzgibbon by noisily campaigning against climate activism, and Labor as a whole by withholding its climate policy. Still shaken by its loss last year, Labor is postponing announcements of most of its policy plans across the board.

Scientists Discover Coral Reefs Recovered Quickly After Bleaching

It was a depressing if expected inevitability when Western Australia’s Rowley Shoals showed the first signs of mass coral bleaching earlier this year, but a follow-up survey has found a remarkable recovery looks likely to preserve the reef’s near-pristine health — at least for now.

Tom Holmes, the marine monitoring coordinator at the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions, said that while his team was still processing the data, it appeared the coral had pulled off an “amazing” return towards health over the past six months.

“We were expecting to see widespread mortality, and we just didn’t see it … which is a really amazing thing,” Dr. Holmes said.

The survey was a follow-up to one conducted in April that found as much as 60 percent of corals on some Rowley Shoals reefs had bleached after the most widespread marine heatwave since reliable satellite monitoring began in 1993.

It has long been known that high sea temperatures cause coral bleaching which can kill coral — as seen by the devastation of the Great Barrier Reef off the Queensland coast — but what is less well known is that bleached corals do not die immediately.

“So when a coral bleaches, it’s actually just a sign of initial stress,” Dr. Holmes said.

However, corals rely on these microscopic algae as a food source and cannot survive for long without them.

“If that stress continues for a long time and those corals remain white, then it can lead to mortality,” Dr. Holmes said.

“But there are some cases of bleaching around the world where … that stress hasn’t continued for a long time, and the corals have been able to take that alga back in from the water.”

Dr. Holmes believes that the vital time gap between bleaching and dying created a chance for the reefs to recover at the Rowley Shoals, a chain of three coral atolls 300 kilometers off Broome on the edge of Australia’s continental shelf.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE TIED)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


1 comment:

Paul said...

Everything concerning Aboriginals and social justice always reduces to one issue: free stuff.

Terra Nullis was a bad idea, even though it made sense in the context of the time. We needed conquest and surrender, even if it had to be one tribe at a time.