The Renewable Energy Target has become a honey pot for speculative investors who have billions of dollars resting on the outcome of the current review.
I write in The Australian today,
If there is a sound more pitiable than the whine of a pious environmental activist, it is the wail of a financier about to do his dough.
The mournful chorus now wafting from Greg Hunt’s waiting room is the sound of the two in unison, pleading with the Environment Minister to save the life of their misshapen bastard child, the renewable energy target.
You have to hand it to Hunt, who either has nerves of steel or is stone deaf, for he has retained both his cool and his fortitude.
The RET review by Dick Warburton on the government’s behalf has brought the rent-seekers out in force, for billions of dollars of corporate welfare is resting on its outcome.
THE POWER COUPLE
Illustration: Sturt Krygsman, The Ausralian
Branding Labor as the party of compassion has short-term appeal, but it won’t fix the party’s deeper crisis of identity, I wrote in The Australian last week:
Compassion, as the compilers of the Macquarie Dictionary point out, is a noun, not a verb — “a feeling of sorrow or pity for the sufferings of others”. It is less the politics of envy and more the politics of empathy. It might tell us what Labor is feeling but doesn’t answer the interminable question of what the party was put on earth to do.
THE EMPTINESS OF COMPASSION
ONE of the joys of the hand-wringing game is never having to say you’re sorry.
That’s the conclusion I reached in The Australian this morning after re-reading a 2008 editorial in The Age which claimed that “a stain had been removed from the soul of the nation” with the dismantling of the Pacific Solution.
“That stain,” the newspaper continued, “was the inhumane, barbarous stance towards asylum-seekers that had presumed them guilty merely because of their existence and then condemned to indefinite detention.”
It would be too much to expect the former broadsheet to acknowledge its blunder or that the result of the policies it supported had been an unmitigated disaster. Nonetheless, there are hopeful signs that the compassion contest in which the bien pensant have been engaging since 2001 is losing its heat. A sense of reality is finally starting to permeate the debate, albeit slowly.
Read the FULL COLUMN here.
Read my piece in THE SUNDAY TIMES last weekend on the return of Sri Lankan asylum seekers.
The assumption underpinning the Racial Discrimination Act is that Australians can’t be trusted to behave properly towards their fellow citizens.
Yet when racism surfaces, as it did last week on commuter train in Sydney, the public can generally be trusted to do the right thing.
The mobile phone camera is proving to be a far more effective tool for dealing with racism than the law. In The Australian today, I argue the case for amending section 18C of the Act.
My thanks to Sturt Krygsman for his astute illustration.
The Self Regulation of Racism
The Holocaust started with silence
An absence of scepticism has allowed the campaign to regulate plastic bags take hold in the UK, I write today in Spiked! The experience in Australia should encourage the Brits to think twice.
The phantasmal qualities of discarded plastic pouches have become part of modern folklore. Plastic bags are seen as the harbinger of wider eco-calamity that strikes fear into our hearts, much like the dreaded medieval Welsh king Gwynn ap Nudd, the Lord of the Dead, with his powers to summon the souls of unbaptised children. ‘We must change our habits’, say the sages at the AMCS, ‘and break the deadly cycle’.
For advice on matters of impending doom, the ancient Assyrians turned to the soothsayer, ‘the frenzied woman from whose lips the god speaks’. Her prophecies were self-evidently beyond question; to deny her word was tantamount to apostasy. Today we ascribe environmentalists with the omniscient virtues of the soothsayer. Their wild claims on the deleterious qualities of plastic, like their wild long-term weather forecasts, are seldom questioned.
Plastic sceptics are assumed to be in the pay of Big Checkout and lacking in compassion for our suffering airborne and aquatic friends. When Tesco says it has reduced the number of bags it gives away, its claims are regarded as dubious, since it has a ‘vested interest’ in lining its own pocket. Not-for-profit campaigners, on the other hand, are afforded great respect in media interviews. As valiant campaigners against callous slaughter, they are immune to baser motives, like raising money for a cause that allows them to pay their mortgage.
READ COLUMN HERE
I am delighted to have been appointed Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre.
The appointment was announced at the MRC’s 20th anniversary dinner in Melbourne last week at which Julie Bishop gave the keynote speech.
I look forward to continuing the MRC’s distinguished tradition of research and policy development as well as making regular contributions to the national debate.
My eminent predecessors are Michael LeStrange, Marlene Goldsmith, John Roskam, Jason Briant, Julian Leesor and Don Markwell.
I took a break from blogging in June, but filed my regular columns in The Australian which are now available in the archive section. Here’s a brief summary:
RAGE BEFORE REASON:
Inarticulacy is the hallmark of the anti-Abbott movement. The old Left could at least say what it wanted. The new Left — if that is what this is — relies on gut feeling.
A NIHILISTIC DEFECTION:
MARTIN Hamilton-Smith has defected from the Liberal Party benches because he is focused on the big picture: big office, big salary, big desk, big fridge, big super and big chauffeur-driven limo.
FIGHTING THE MOB:
IT took Tom Flanagan 40 years to build his reputation as a political scientist and barely two hours for his enemies to destroy it. The ease with which the self-appointed enforcers of political correctness were able to take him down is a morality tale for our time.
THE UKIP REBELLION:
The rise of this politically incorrect force has reshaped the landscape of British politics. Eight years ago David Cameron dismissed them as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”. It is doubtful that he would be foolish enough to do so today.
The Toowoomba Chronicle once served the regional Queensland town and its environs with unfailing mediocrity. These days it is a servile propaganda sheet for cement and fly-ash barons Dennis and John Wagner. The Australian Press Council has damned the Chronicle‘s fawning coverage of the development of Wellcamp Airport, a subject I have visited before. Last October the Chronicle published an extraordinary page one story based on the Wagner’s unsupported claim that jet noise from the airport at the nearby town of Westbrook would be “no louder than a dishwasher”. When you consider that Westbrook is approximately as close to Wellcamp as Petersham is to Sydney airport or Broadmeadows to Tullamarine, it becomes apparent that Dennis Wagner’s unsupported claim should be tested. Nope. Not in the Chronicle, where if the Wagners hold a garage sale it is promoted in advance and given the big picture treatment on the day. In November I wrote:
A local newspaper worth its cover price would have had a field day standing up for local people and other insignificant creatures. Toowoomba’s The Chronicle, however, reports the Wagner project entirely uncritically, and is prone to jump on anyone who answers back.
Says the press council:
The Council has decided on the material provided to it that the noise claims may or may not be accurate but it is clear that the publication did not take reasonable steps to ensure their accuracy. The publication did not ask to see the study by Wagners on noise level projections, and it did not seek the opinion of any specialists on the subject. In addition, while the Council’s Principles do not require complete, or almost complete, fairness or balance, the comments by Dennis Wagner were so prominent and so overwhelmingly positive, some attempt should have been made to include alternative views, such as those evident in letters and reader comments.
The only opposing voice the paper printed was that of Alan Jones, whose 2GB show is rebroadcast on 4GR (required listening for the news-starved residents of the range). The following day Wagner hit back in a story headlined:
Wagner to Alan Jones: You’re a loud-mouthed ignoramus
I spoke to Alan at length about this and other disturbing south-east Queensland matters.