Monday, April 18, 2022

Climate-change clots have well and truly lost the plot

Anthony Albanese – the man who fights Tories but emulates John Howard – has got it in hand. Together with Adam Bandt, he will transform a land of droughts and flooding rains into a land of milk and honey.

Albanese and Bandt have a plan, and with at least 20 of their fellow Australians dead, thousands homeless, and tens of thousands dealing with damage and hardship, the Labor and Greens leaders have decided life would be better without floods – in fact, without any natural disasters.

As Bandt tweeted during these floods: “Let’s be clear, this could have been avoided. The Liberals are supercharging climate disasters with new coal and gas mines and have failed to prepare for the devastating impacts.”

It makes you question the patriotism and humanity of Scott Morrison and the Coalition doesn’t it? Because what sort of callous ideologues would refuse to dispense with natural disasters if they had the option?

The Greens leader said: “Nothing is natural about this. And nothing will save this climate-wrecking government this election.” You have got to admit, he has a point – if you could stop this and you chose not to, then why would people vote for you?

Thankfully, Bandt and Albanese do not just whinge, they have solutions. Bandt says we just “have to leave the coal and gas in the ground” – which I guess makes sense.

We could lead the way, abandon fossil fuels, and then just hope we are followed by China, India, Indonesia, Russia, America, Canada, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, Kuwait, Iraq, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. You never know.

The Labor leader says, “too many Australians have first-hand knowledge of the brutality of bushfires, drought and flood – climate change is here now”. And, according to his policies, the way to fix this is to build more renewable energy generation and subsidise people to buy electric cars.

If only Morrison had thought of that. Half price Teslas for all, and Lismore stays high and dry.

The good news is that, according to the politicians and esteemed oracles of the fourth estate, all this can be fixed. All voters need do is use the election to switch from the Coalition’s net zero by 2050 pledge to Labor’s net zero by 2050 promise. Painless.

ABC regular and NSW Senate candidate Jane Caro is on to this solution. This week she posted a video, standing under a collapsed ceiling in her kitchen – which seemed a particularly perilous place to be, given it had apparently fallen in after the torrential rain that hit Sydney.

“Climate change is real and happening now, even in my kitchen,” she posted. In the video she said it might “take a while” to get her ceiling repaired, but selflessly she conceded many people might be suffering greater trauma.

“Stay safe, stay dry, let’s hope the sun comes out,” she implored her climate-savvy followers, “and we get a change of government”. Yep, that will do it. Change the government, and you change the climate. Barack Obama proved that in 2008 when he proclaimed that this was “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal.” Job done. No wonder he got that Nobel prize.

We have seen the same healing effect here. The last time Labor was in power, under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, when they were trying to impose an emissions trading scheme and then teamed up with the Greens to impose a carbon tax, the only natural disasters we had were the Black Saturday bushfires that took 173 lives and the Brisbane floods.

Oh, and cyclone Yasi, and cyclone Oswald, and some other bushfires.

But still, these must have been “natural” natural disasters rather than “supercharged” by global warming because I do not recall any politicians or media blaming the federal government for those extreme events at the time.

Climate obsessed, so-called independent candidate Allegra Spender this week noted that “three years ago we had historic drought, two years ago we had historic bushfires, now we have historic floods” and then linked these events to emissions targets.

But we are left to wonder why the highest floods in so many regions – and the worst droughts in most of the country, and many of the worst bushfires – occurred way back in the 19th century, or in the early to middle years of the 20th century.

Were the early settlers secretly driving V8s? Did those sneaky convicts have a coal-fired power plant running on the sly? Best ask Bruce Pascoe.

The blaming of floods on global warming makes more sense than the finger pointing about droughts, given anyone with a basic understanding of climate science understands a warmer planet is a wetter one.

But this just makes us wonder why the very same people blaming climate “inaction” for the floods were doing the same in recent years for fires and droughts.

In 2005, the former climate commissioner Tim Flannery said, “if the computer models are right then drought conditions will become permanent in eastern Australia”. I am no climate scientist but a quick gaze around the Nepean-Hawkesbury these past two years would struggle to find evidence of a permanent drought – perhaps he was misquoted, and actually referred to “drowning” conditions.

A couple of years later, Flannery told the ABC that “even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems”. Maybe he was right, it has not so much filled them, as overfilled them.

These inconsistencies and this opportunism cannot be easily dismissed, even if the only media Flannery speaks to never question him on it.

This permanent drought fearmongering, backed up by other climate alarmists, led to the mainland state governments spending a total of more than $12bn building desalination plants.

Only Perth’s was necessary and has been useful; the others are expensive white elephants kept on standby, chewing up money and energy in the hope they will be required some day.

In NSW and Queensland, the money spent on desal plants would have been better spent on flood mitigation dams.

Another one of the climate-­obsessed so-called independents, Georgia Steele, is running in ­Hughes, in Sydney’s south. She reckons the evidence is clear that Morrison has “botched” climate policy because it fits a pattern of him botching the bushfire response, Covid quarantine, Covid vaccine supplies, submarine deal, religious discrimination bill, federal integrity commission, making Parliament House safe for women, and the flood response. Wow, that is some list; it leaves you wondering who is putting the Prime Minister’s pants on in the morning.

All this politicking, fact-free partisan abuse and phantasmagorical opposition promises of kinder, gentler natural disasters are undone by plain facts and logic. As Alan Finkel – the nation’s chief scientist at the time – told a Senate committee in 2018 that if all of our country’s carbon dioxide emissions disappeared overnight the impact on the global environment would be “virtually nothing”.

At that time we contributed about 1.3 per cent of global emissions; we now account for even less, about 1.1 per cent – while China, India, Indonesia, in fact, most of the world’s 10 most populous nations continue to increase emissions.

The fear, alarm and unquestioning coverage is every bit as astounding as the loopy claims of the activists.

Every hot day, dry day, cold day, wet day or fire day is cited as evidence of global warming.

The Guardian Australia’s Katherine Murphy leads the charge; her fringe views are elevated as mainstream commentary by the ABC.

“If every country acted with the abject derangement that ­Australia has exhibited for a decade,” she ranted this week, “then the planet will most decidedly cook.”

You will have to ask her whether that cooking will lead to floods, droughts, fires or snowstorms. But I reckon she would be likely to bet on the lot.

There is precious little questioning by our media about record maximums posted from weather stations that are barely three years old, or temperature records that are revised downwards and ignore all readings before 1910, and rainfall records that disregard detailed measurements from the 19th century.

Curiosity and facts have lost all value – ideology and narrative reign supreme. Presumably we will see the eyes of the world descend on this nation in May, because the global climate and the fate of the planet are going to be decided at our federal election.

For the green left and the media, it has become a simple world with simple solutions. None better than the flood mitigation strategy proposed by ACTU boss Sally McManus.

“I know there must be a really obvious answer to this, but a question for the hydrologists,” she tweeted last week.

“When Warragamba Dam is near capacity, why doesn’t Sydney Water suspend billing and ask people to turn on all their taps to take it down a bit before more rain comes?” Yep, and if that doesn’t work, I suppose the unions could just picket the rain.

The climate arguments are so simplistic and stupid that mainstream voters surely could not swallow them, no matter how ­disenchanted they are with the government.

Still, if they do, it will only ­confirm that the climate is the least of our problems.


Kneeling to the rainbow

Scott Morrison put his head above the parapet for girls, women, and children in week one of the election campaign, but at the unfurling of a rainbow flag, took the knee.

Attempting to signal to mainstream Australia that he backed his two champions for saving women’s sports, Senator Claire Chandler and Warringah candidate Katherine Deves, Morrison trod on a landmine hiding in plain sight.

Monday saw Morrison heaping praise on his captain’s pick for Tony Abbott’s old seat of Warringah on Sydney’s northern beaches:

‘Katherine Deves over there in Warringah, you know, she’s standing up for something really important, and that is to ensure that, you know, when it comes to girls playing sport and women playing sport, that they’re playing against people of the same sex.’

While the Quiet Australians cheered, the reaction was swift and brutal from the well-oiled LGBTQ+ political machine and its media allies.

Suddenly left-wing journalists were trawling through Deves’ social media, unearthing ‘Nazi slurs’ and ‘bigoted’ comments about trans kids. I’ll return to this shortly.

Despite Deves’ high media profile as the co-founder Save Women’s Sport Australasia, the leftist media had never taken an acute interest in Deves’ social media.

But with the prospect of light being shone on the LGBTQ+ political agenda for children, girls, and women during a high profile election campaign, it became imperative that Deves be silenced.

The pile-on was on. A textbook cancel culture operation swung into action to silence her.

Within 48 hours, Morrison capitulated.

‘The government does not have any plans for that (Save Women’s Sport) to be a government Bill. It’s a Private Member’s Bill,’ said Morrison, backtracking.

Inadvertently feeding the trolls, Morrison went on to say Deves had apologised and withdrawn her comments.

As Morrison and Liberal campaign HQ folded like a cheap suit, Deves was further humiliated by being forced to delete her Facebook and Twitter accounts. Welcome to the party of free speech.

On Good Friday, Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott intervened, telling the Sydney Morning Herald:

‘She’s a tough, brave person who’s standing up for the rights of women and girls, for fairness in sport. I very much admire her and can’t understand the pile on from people who claim to be supporters of women’s rights.’

Abbott’s willingness to be crucified on Deves’ behalf seems to have saved her, stiffening Morrison’s spine enough for him to, by Saturday, resist growing pressure to have her dis-endorsed.

Her survival as Liberal candidate for Warringah by Resurrection Sunday is an Easter miracle.

But it was not before ‘modern Liberals’ Senator Andrew Bragg and state MP Matt Kean thumbed their nose at the PM, and Abbott, and joined the pile-on.

‘These kinds of horrendous views are not okay, and I’m sure the voters of Warringah agree. Time for the Liberal Party to beat them to it and disendorse her,’ Kean told ‘There is no place in a mainstream political party for bigotry.’

He also posted a tweet voicing a similar sentiment.

So, what are these ‘horrendous’, ‘intolerant’, and ‘bigoted’ views the media, LGBTQ+ political activists, and ‘modern Liberals’ say must be shut down? journalist Samantha Maiden breathlessly reported that Deves had tweeted that transgender children’s bodies had been ‘mutilated’ and ‘sterilised’, even tweeting the picture of a topless girl who had her breasts removed during gender affirmation surgery.

‘They (mainstream Australians) will not stand for seeing vulnerable children surgically mutilated and sterilised,’ Deves said, in the now-deleted tweet.

Instead of investigating Deves’ claims about the harms of LGBTQ+ ideology to children, Maiden wrote as if Deves had committed a mortal sin.

Yet images of these children are accessible via Google and there is a growing global de-transitioner movement, with UK woman Kiera Bell, who lost her breasts to LGBTQ+ ideology, serving as a prominent whistleblower.

There is no doubt that children are being harmed, as Stassja Frei, the founder of the Coalition for Biological Reality, wrote so eloquently in The Spectator Australia last week.

What about the assertion Deves’ used a Nazi slur? This is where it is important to read what she said, not believe the fake news.

‘I’ve got three small children. I have skin in the game on their behalf and people just weren’t willing to speak up and I just felt compelled to do so. I’ve always loved 20th century history. I think many people say, “I’d never be one of the villagers that stayed quiet when the trains went past.” I would have been part of the French resistance. But when all of this was happening and no one was speaking out, I thought this is it. This is the moment in my life where I am going to have to stand up and say something against the status quo and against the establishment, and say I don’t think this is right and it might come at a cost to me, but I have to say it.’

And boy (forgive the gendered language), has it come at a cost.

But how can anyone reading Stassja Frei’s article or Kiera Bell’s story to not be challenged about their silence on what is happening to children behind closed doors in our new and secretive gender clinics?

She is right to point out that history shows bad things happen when good people are silent.

Deves’ claim that up to half of all transgender women are sex offenders may not be accurate, but it does contain a documented underlying truth about offending rates that needs to be talked about it.

The UK police and National Health Service recently nearly covered up the rape of a woman on a single-sex hospital ward because apparently there were no men on the ward.

Another of Deves’ ‘crimes’ was to say she was ‘triggered’ by the rainbow flag.

So what? This is a political flag that, among other things, demands biological males be allowed to compete against and shower with girls and women as part of a radical overhaul of sports.

Announcing that Deves would not be disendorsed, Morrison showed weakness which is a red flag to trolls.

‘And so I think the comments that Katherine has made, obviously, were insensitive. And she’s admitted that.’

But how does one sensitively talk about the surgical alteration of children or the placing of girls at risk in sport?

Verballing her again, Morrison went on to say: ‘There are ways that she’s expressed this in the past that she no longer feels comfortable with. And it’s important that she understands that and learns those lessons. Which she has.’

Anyone who has watched Deves’ articulate and measured media advocacy on behalf of women and girls over the past 12 months knows this is rubbish.

Morrison thinks he can assuage the rainbow tiger when his head is in its mouth.

His insipid ‘backing’ of Deves won’t be the end of the LGBTQ+ activists’ attempts to shut down debate and stop a woman of courage from entering the Parliament.


For or against: coal test looms for Labor

The next federal government will face the prospect of assessing ­approvals for three new coal mega-mines in Queensland’s massive Galilee Basin during its first term in office.

With Adani’s Carmichael mine already exporting and about to move into full production, soaring coal prices and construction of an open-access rail line to port has reignited plans for at least three other mines in the burgeoning coal province.

In a statement, an Adani Australia spokesman confirmed the company had been approached by other third-party operators for use of its rail line to the Abbot Point coal port, which must be granted under the original open-access ­approval agreement.

The emergence of the projects would test an elected Labor government under Anthony Albanese, who, following the party’s disastrous performance in ­regional Queensland in 2019, has voiced his strong support for the coal industry. The Coalition is ­likely to approve the mines if they pass environmental tests, but could face blowback from Liberal moderates facing challenges in inner-city seats.

The emergence of the projects would test an elected Labor government under Anthony Albanese, who, following the party’s disastrous performance in ­regional Queensland in 2019, has voiced his strong support for the coal industry.
The emergence of the projects would test an elected Labor government under Anthony Albanese, who, following the party’s disastrous performance in ­regional Queensland in 2019, has voiced his strong support for the coal industry.
It could also determine a minority government, in the event of a hung parliament, with any elected Climate 200 independents and the Greens likely to make the further opening up of the Galilee Basin a deal-breaker.

GVK Hancock, the joint venture between GVK and Gina Rhinehardt’s Hancock Prospecting, has applied to the Queensland government for mining lease ­applications for two mines in the Galilee Basin which at full production would produce about 60 million tonnes of thermal coal annually for 30 years.

A Queensland Department of Resources spokeswoman said the department was currently “assessing mining lease applications for the (GVK Hancock) Alpha Coal and Kevin’s Corner coal projects in the Galilee Basin”.

Clive Palmer-owned Waratah Coal is also actively working on gaining approvals for mining tenements in the region. In recent years, the projects were put on hold – after receiving some environmental approvals – in the face of falling coal prices and delays in approvals of the Galilee Basin’s “first mover” project in Adani’s Carmichael Mine.

All three projects will trigger new environmental approvals over water usage and with plans for Mr Palmer’s proposed mine ­recently being revised.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfaralane, a former federal Coalition cabinet minister, said Adani’s “navigation” through the approvals and construction of the rail line had made it easier for other mines to follow.

“The thing that has really changed things has been the significant spike in thermal coal prices,’’ he told The Australian. “Europe is looking everywhere for any spare shipments of coal on the back of the Ukraine crisis.’’

Prices for both thermal coal and coking coal have surged since the blacklisting of Russian commodity exports.

The spot price for thermal coal shipments leaving the Port of Newcastle soared to $US446 a tonne in early March, compared with $US133.60 on January 1. Mr Palmer, who made his fortune from resources exploration and development but not directly by mining, said Waratah was working towards getting all necessary approvals.

Waratah Coal is facing a challenge in the Land Court from ­activist group Youth Verdict and landholders who have lodged objections to the applications. “There’s a couple of cases going through the Land Court now but I’d say it could be ready in 24 months,” Mr Palmer told The Australian. “At these prices and the cost of production, it has got to be (viable). There’s deals to be done and jobs to be created.”

Mr Palmer said the market for coal remained strong. “There’s a lot of coalmines being developed in China and India … and they’ve got to get their coal from somewhere,” he said. “By using (high quality) Australian coal, you are reducing emissions.”

Bill Shorten’s perceived ­ambivalence toward coal was blamed for voters turning against Labor, cutting support to a record-low 27.4 per cent primary vote in the state.

Mr Albanese has made several trips to Queensland coalmining regions since becoming Opposition Leader and has each time faced a grilling over his support for the industry.

He has said he supports future coalmining and that the viability of new mines would be determined by the market.

Last year he visited the Isaac Downs mine west of Mackay to meet with workers but he has refused to show his support for the stalled New Acland mine near Toowoomba, which is awaiting approval by the Palaszczuk government after lengthy delays. In February Mr Albanese said he would not be doing post-election deals with the Greens, whose leader Adam Bandt has said the party would request an end to new fossil fuel projects.

Mr Palmer said he did not ­believe Mr Albanese supported future coalmining. “He comes from the Left faction of the Labor Party,” Mr Palmer said.

A spokeswoman for Bravus, formerly Adani, said the company had been “approached by third parties interested in accessing the Carmichael rail network”.

“Our railway is designed to carry 40 million tonnes per annum and is a multi-user asset available to other miners and rail companies,” she said.

Queensland Greens candidate for the Labor held seat of Griffith, Max Chandler-Mather, said the proposed mines needed to be on the election agenda. “Federal Labor and the Liberals should go tell devastated communities in Lismore or Brisbane why Gina Rinehart’s coalmine should be ­approved,’’ he said. “Unless the Greens are in the balance of power, then we’ll just see any ­future Labor or Liberal government approve these mines and pour fuel on the climate crisis.”


Ramp up efforts to fix hospital crisis or pay the price

QUEENSLAND voters may turn a blind eye to integrity and youth justice issues but politicians ignore health provision and challenges around hospitals and ambulances at their peril.

The Palaszczuk Government has had seven years to get Queensland’s hospital and ambulance system right and it has spectacularly failed.

It will lose the next election – still 30 months away – unless it fixes the problem with ramping and ambulance delays.

If Anthony Albanese becomes Prime Minister, and that’s no sure thing after being exposed as a bumbling fool, the Palaszczuk Government will have nobody to blame for its health woes.

The recent ramping crisis exposes a much deeper malaise within Queensland Health.

As regular readers know, I believe Queensland Health is the most poorly run bureaucracy in Australia.

It has been like that throughout the Palaszczuk years, a secretive, obsessive, paranoid organisation that punishes enterprise and rewards mediocrity.

It has terrible morale as hardworking doctors and nurses put up with a Kremlin-like attitude to the workplace.

The ramping crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Exhausted paramedics are sleeping at stations and being stood down because of fatigue.

Hospital ramping – where patients wait more than half an hour in an ambulance to get admitted – is at crisis levels, with one in two people unable to be treated.

It means long ambulance wait times for the sick, sometimes four or five hours. Patients are dying while waiting. The figures in Queensland are worse than South Australia, where new Labor premier Peter Malinauskassuccessfully campaigned on cutting ambulance ramping to win the recent election.

Official figures show Queensland paramedics lost an extraordinary number of hours stuck on ramps last year.

A parliamentary Question on Notice revealed our ambos lost more than 13,000 hours in March and May last year, and at other times of the year it routinely exceeded 10,000 hours.

The AMA’s Queensland branch says the situation is dire. It’s a crisis, they say.

Worse, the Palaszczuk Government did a review into the public hospital system, and rather than own the problem, as usual, blamed the Morrison Government.

AMAQ vice-president Dr Bav Manoharan says: “There were 40 recommendations in that report and only four of them were to be actioned by the Queensland government, 36 for the federal government. So it’s a little bit interesting with the timing with the federal election.

“When AMA Queensland engaged in this inquiry and we gave evidence as part of it, we really thought it was an opportunity for us to really consider what Queenslanders needed for their health care system and an opportunity to perhaps look at real ways to fix all the issues.

“I mean, hospital ramping, surgical wait lists, and all of these have been issues for such a long time.’’

Last week we saw the extraordinary situation where a gravely ill woman, waiting for an ambulance, told her husband to sue the State Government if she died.

The Opposition has received a flood of emails from people outlining their frustration at being unable to get an ambulance to their home, or waiting hours.

I got this email: “My brother who lives at Mt. Ommaney and has Parkinson’s fell yesterday morning and broke his hip.

“His wife rang for an ambulance at 7.00am and following a further three phone calls an ambulance finally arrived at 2.30am.

“He was operated on last night and thanks to the staff at the Wesley Hospital so far he is doing OK. In this day and age to have to wait that long is a disgrace.

“The Queensland Government blow their trumpet regarding how much they have spent on health. I wonder how much of the spending has gone to the frontline rather than propping up the administration and Fat Cats in the Public Service.’’

Telstra last week took the unprecedented move of having a recorded message for triple-0 calls, urging people to ring a telehealth line if it wasn’t urgent. Most people ring triple-0 because it’s urgent.

Lawyers say the Queensland State Government could find itself slugged with compensation lawsuits because of the state’s worsening ambulance response crisis.

Documents obtained by the Opposition covered three of Queensland’s busiest ambulance stations – Southport, Brisbane and Maroochydore. One disclosure revealed significant delays at Southport over several days with one patient waiting 10.5 hours for an ambulance last October.

Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates says frontline staff are overworked and under-resourced and doing an incredible job under the toughest conditions.

When former Labor premier Anna Bligh referred to the ramping crisis as a “basket case’’ in 2011, the ramping figures were 32 per cent.

Ramping is now over 50 per cent at major South East hospitals. Expect health to be the centrepiece of the LNP’s bid for election.




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