March 27, 2015

George Megalogenis

Green Army: Persons of Interest

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970):
[The] plutocracy in a democratic country … can prevent governments composed of Socialists from introducing Socialism, and if they are obstinate it can bring about their downfall If these means were to fail, it could stir up a civil war to prevent the establishment of Socialism.
(Power: A New Social Analysis, 1938, p 86)

Gough Whitlam (1916 – 2014):
[The market] forces which man is unleashing in the world must be the subject of public and not exclusively private control and decision …
Democratic socialism is a philosophy about the value of man.
It is an attitude towards one's fellow man.
Today, it is not concerned merely with rationing scarcity and eliminating exploitation.
It means planning for abundance and creating opportunities.
(Labor and the Future, The Australian, 18 February 1967)

Robert Manne (1947):
[In the late 90's Les Murray (1938) composed] a poem about Pauline Hanson …
I've seen her tremble
I've seen her whisper
I've felt her power
Burning before me …
(Sorry Business, The Monthly, March 2008)

Geoffrey Wright (1959):
This is not your country.
(Romper Stomper, 1992)

1930s Political Slogan:
Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein F├╝hrer!
[One People, One Empire, One Leader!]

Pauline Hanson's One Nation:
We will bring back federalism and restore Australia’s constitution so that our economy is run for the benefit of Australians instead of the UN and unaccountable foreign bodies that have interfered and have choked our economy since the federal government handed power to the International Monetary Fund in 1944. …
We need to exit the UN.
(Economics & Tax Policy, Accessed 26 June 2017)

(Please Explain, Four Corners, ABC Television, 3 April 2017)

Pauline Hanson (1954)

Pauline Hanson's One Nation Senator for Queensland (2014)

Our common oppressors are a class of raceless, placeless, cosmopolitan elites who are exercising almost absolute power over us: like black spiders above the wheels of industry, they are spinning the webs of our destiny.
(Pauline Hanson and George Merritt, Pauline Hanson — The Truth: On Asian Immigration, the Aboriginal Question, the Gun Debate and the Future of Australia, Saint George Publishing, 1997, p 155)

[I want] multiculturalism abolished. …
A truly multicultural country can never be strong or united. …
[To achieve national unity and strength,] we must have:
One People, One Nation, One Flag! …
[At] this stage that I do not consider those people from ethnic backgrounds currently living in Australia anything but first-class citizens, provided of course that they give this country their full, undivided loyalty. …

I am fed up to the back teeth with the inequalities that are being promoted by the government and paid for by the taxpayer under the assumption that Aboriginals are the most disadvantaged people in Australia. …

The Family Law Act … should be repealed. …

The government should cease all foreign aid immediately …

Between 1984 and 1995, 40% of all migrants coming into this country were of Asian origin.
I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. …
They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate.

(Maiden Speech, Australian House of Representatives, 10 September 1996)

Now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims, who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own.

(Maiden Speech, Australian Senate, 14 September 2016)

John Howard (1939)

One of the great changes that has come over Australia in the last six months is that people do feel able to speak a little more freely and a little more openly about what they feel.
In a sense the pall of censorship on certain issues has been lifted …
I think there has been a change and I think that's a very good thing.
(Queensland Liberal State Council, 22 September 1996)

By the year 2000, I would like to see an Australian nation that feels comfortable and relaxed about three things:
  • I would like to see them comfortable and relaxed about their history;
  • I would like to see them comfortable and relaxed about the present; and
  • I'd also like to see them comfortable and relaxed about the future.
(Four Corners 55th Anniversary - 1990s, ABC Television, 2016)

… I have to live with the consequences of [the positions I've taken as prime minister,] both now, and into the future.
And, if I ever develop reservations … I hope I would have the grace to keep them to keep them to myself …
(David Marr, His Master's Voice, Quarterly Essay, Issue 26, 2007, p 3)

David Marr (1947):

… Howard's government has been the most unscrupulous corrupter of public debate in Australia since the Cold War's worst days back in the 1950s. …
He has a genius for ambiguity [that,] most of the time, keeps [him] just this side of deceit.
But he also lies without shame. …
[He] can admit error, but it is extremely rare.
Apologies are almost unknown.
(His Master's Voice, Quarterly Essay, Issue 26, 2007, p 4)

John Howard [attacked] "black armband" historians and resolutely refused to apologise to the Stolen Generations.
He would stage the Intervention in the Northern Territory as a curtain-raiser for the 2007 election.
This was race politics played by a master.
(The White Queen, Quarterly Essay, Issue 65, Black Inc, March 2017)

George Megalogenis (1964)

Pauline Hanson's timing was immaculately destructive.
(p 279)

[John] Howard couldn't bring himself to declare his outright opposition to Hanson because he felt he was being bullied by the media. …
[Indeed, he] shared the concerns of her supporters about the pace of cultural change.
He didn't see them as racists.
Yet by refusing to put Hanson in her place, Howard created a monster.
(p 280)

[Howard] was the last on his side to stand up to Pauline Hanson.
(p 300)
Paul Keating (1944):
In a nation of immigrants, John Howard let the racism genie out of the bottle. …
[Events like] the Cronulla riot has in its antecedents the notion that somewhere in officialdom at the top of the country it's all right to think poorly of people who come from a different background to yourself.
This is, I think, a dreadful letdown for the country after it had succeeded so greatly in settling so many people from abroad, in perhaps the most successful multicultural experiment in the Western world.
(p 237)

For years [John Howard] had argued against Australia moving before anyone else in the region [to address climate change.]
[Suddenly, in the lead up to the 2007 election,] he wanted to go first …
John Howard:
Australia will … lead internationally on climate change … in a way that builds support for global action to tackle this enormous global challenge. …
[Our's] will be a world-class emissions trading system, more comprehensive, more rigorously grounded in economics and with better governance than anything in Europe.
Implementing an emissions trading scheme and setting a long-term goal for reducing emissions will be the most momentous economic decisions Australia will take in the next decade.
This emissions trading system … needs to last the whole of the twenty-first century if Australia is to meet our global responsibilities and further build our economic prosperity. …
Significantly reducing emissions will mean higher costs for businesses and households, there is no escaping that and anyone who pretends to do otherwise is not a serious participant in this hugely important public policy debate. …
[If] we get this wrong it will do enormous damage to our economy, to jobs and to the economic wellbeing of ordinary Australians, especially low-income households.
(3 June 2007)
(p 319)

[In December 2009, Tony] Abbott repudiated the Coalition's own 2007 election platform …
In a way this was more brazen than the Senate obstruction in the 1970s.
Back then there was an element of principle involved — the Coalition didn't agree with the Whitlam Program.
Abbott was opposing for the sake of it.
No previous opposition had overturned a policy that both sides had agreed to at the previous election. …
Tony Abbott:
[The argument for action on climate change] is absolute crap.
However, the politics of this are tough for us.
Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.
(Pyrenees Advocate, October 2009)
(p 349)

Hawke and Howard are Australian triumphalists, who think there is nothing wrong with the nation as it is.
Keating and Fraser are Australian cosmopolitans, who see room for improvement.
(p 4)

The Australian Moment was thirty-five years in the making, starting with
  • the Whitlam government's tariff cut and the formal recognition of China in the early 70s;
  • the Fraser government's termination of the White Australia policy with the entry of the Vietnamese refugees in the second half of the 70s;
  • the Hawke-Keating government economic reforms between 1983 and 1996; and
  • the Howard government's consolidation of those reforms, and the super-charging of the immigration program after 2001.
(p 345)

(The Australian Moment, 2012)

Spreading the Pain

George Megalogenis (1964):
The Liberals are never good at opposition because they do not have a reason for being — other than to govern.
They do not assume, once they are in power, that they are going to be out of power any time soon.
Now, this makes it very difficult for them to function in opposition because they are always looking for the Messiah to bring them back into power. …
John Howard taught Australians to measure their relationship with the government based on what they got back from the government, based on the handout.
Budgets were used to make sure voters were kept on side.

Ross Gittins [Economics Editor, Sydney Morning Herald]:
The cuts in funding were not just economic judgements.
They were also about John Howard's prejudices as to who was deserving and who wasn't.
Which of the groups, that if I offend them, it's not going to cost me much in terms of lost votes? …
We've had a government that's been obsessed by cutting government debt and not about … making sure we've got a very well educated nation.

John Howard [Prime Minister of Australia, 1996-2007]:
It was a very tough assignment.
We had tried very hard to spread the pain around.
And … I think we succeeded.

(Nick Torrens, Liberal Rule, SBS, 2009)

Donald Horne (1921 – 2005)

The Bulletin's motto originally went:
Australia for the White Man and China for the Chows.
before [it was shortened to:]
Australia for the White Man
— a slogan that did not go until a change in editorship in 1961.
(p 112)

[A] comedy is being performed daily in that form of celebratory entertainment we call 'news'.
It is a drama in which the prime causes of Australia's predicament are presented as the
  • the power of the unions
  • the high rate of government spending and
  • excessive protection of Australian manufacturing …
[In] this drama, the principal basis for hope is seen as transferring money from the poor to the rich.
Yet the unions have nothing to do with the failure of [Australian business] to be innovative; there is not one example of the frustration of Australian technological ingenuity by a trade union.
{[As] to government spending [Australia's spectacular success in farming] would not have been achieved without wide government intervention — in developing
  • scientific research and extension schemes
  • huge infrastructure programs and
  • complex marketing organizations.}
[And as to free trade, the] fault lies not with not with protection, but with Australia's unique inability to produce industries worth protecting.
(p 6)

[In the 60s] talking about sport, money and motor cars took up so much of male conversation [in Australia] that sometimes to engage in conversation it was necessary to master these topics.
Not to have done so was not to be a man.
Interests ran so evenly throughout the community that not to share them was to be an outcast.
To be different was considered an affectation.
(p 30)

There was a lack of a general class of educated persons
  • who were familiar with the history of human thought (at least in outline) and saw their connexion with it,
  • who were familiar with analytical, categorizing and generalizing approaches,
  • who worked in many different fields in which the only common characteristic was a 'relatively high degree of abstraction or of ordering of some common experience',
  • who could apply knowledge and curiosity to the things they were interested in and
  • who, despite their occupational differences, could communicate with each other, as equals, in sustained and rigorous discourse on the affairs of the day.
It was a lack of this kind of class that could present a danger to the future of Australia.
(p 177)

Within his party [Menzies, as Prime Minister,] soon cut off from power or silenced all those who disagreed with him …
(p 120)

Party meetings were stage-managed so that opposition was not often expressed, and when it was expressed it was often made to look foolish. …
[In] a political party which contained many ex-officers he knew how to appeal to a sense of obedience and how to isolate the 'disloyal'. …
(Menzies himself was disloyal to Joe Lyons and Billy Hughes when they were his party leaders.)
(p 120)

He was a great actor. …
He lazy in his reading and … as little interested in matters of the intellect as most of his fellow citizens …
[Insofar] as he did have intellectual or artistic interests, they were extremely provincial.
He was essentially arrogant, although courageous, with a scorn for others.
He used his power to little purpose. …

[For] the most part ordinary Australians held him in little regard: … he was widely considered old-fashioned and had always been considered insincere. …

[The] Labor Party gave him election after election by being stupid — and in 1954 and 1961 by the bad luck of the electoral system. …
(p 122)

[Rather than using his talents to] exploit events in reacting to change … he seemed to prefer to frustrate talent and to surround himself with a firebreak of mediocrity.
In this he was [typical] of his generation. …
Throughout a period in which Australia was in need of orientation towards Asia and towards technology it was governed by a man who had deeply absorbed the provincial standards of Melbourne at the beginning of the century.
(p 123)

[It was during Menzies'] rule that Australia became a comparatively less prosperous country.
(p 124, emphasis added)

Menzies had obsolete and irrelevant values and ideologies.
His view of the world did not give him a real feel for the problems of the age and of Australia. …
[With his disinterest in Asia he] was a giant obstruction to a natural trend.
He held things up. …
His eyes were on London. …

[The] Age of Menzies was [characterised by:]
  • a running down of enthusiasm,
  • a deadening of approach to problems, [and]
  • a retreat.
(p 126)

Nothing befitted Menzies better than his going.
Perplexed by a changing world offering strange problems to which he could not be bothered finding a solution, he modestly slipped out of office …
(p 127)

It may be
  • that what really drives people into politics is the craving for excitement or status or money;
  • that the policies of such people are most often the product of faction rather than coherent belief;
  • that it is a necessary feature of political activity that, once power is achieved, its practice is essentially absurd, because it can usually not satisfy its public aspirations, except by accident;
  • that even 'believers', when exposed to this inner hollowness of power, necessarily become cynical and fraudulent, determined first to preserve their own power, with policy as an optional extra;
  • that the best one can hope for is that politicians will apply whatever values they have wherever they can, whenever the accidents let them.
Whether or not these are the inner secrets of politics, it was the belief of many Australians in the Age of Menzies that politics was essentially a fraudulent activity engaged in by self-seeking crooks.
(pp 155-6)

(The Lucky Country Revisited, Dent, 1987)

Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.
It lives on the other peoples ideas, and, although its ordinary people are adaptable, most of its leaders (in all fields) so lack curiosity about the events that surround them that they are often taken by surprise.
A nation more concerned with styles of life than with achievement has managed to achieve what may be the most evenly prosperous society in the world.
It has done this in a social climate largely inimical to originality and the desire for excellence (except in sport) and in which there is less and less acclamation of hard work.
According to the rules, Australia has not deserved its good fortune.

(The Lucky Country, 1964)

Robert Menzies (1894 – 1978)

Prime Minister of Australia: 1939-41, 1949-66

[The] kind of people I myself represent in Parliament:
  • salary-earners,
  • shopkeepers,
  • skilled artisans,
  • professional men and women,
  • farmers and so on.
These are, in the political and economic sense, the middle class. …
[They] are the backbone of the nation. …

Now, what is the value of this middle class, so defined and described?

First, it has a "stake in the country".
It has responsibility for homes —
  • homes material,
  • homes human, and
  • homes spiritual. …
My home is where my wife and children are.
The instinct to be with them is the great instinct of civilised man …
[The] instinct to give them a chance in life — to make them not leaners but lifters — is a noble instinct. …
If human homes are to fulfil their destiny, then we must have frugality and saving for education and progress. …
Human nature is at its greatest when it combines dependence upon God with independence of man. …

Second, the middle class, more than any other, provides the intelligent ambition which is the motive power of human progress. …

Third, the middle class provides more than any other other the intellectual life which marks us off from the beast; the life which finds room
  • for literature,
  • for the arts,
  • for science,
  • for medicine and
  • [for] the law. …

Fourth, this middle class maintains and fills the higher schools and universities, and so feeds the lamp of learning. …

That we are all, as human souls, of like value cannot be denied. …
But to say that the industrious and intelligent son of self-sacrificing and saving and forward-looking parents has the same social deserts and even material needs as the dull offspring of stupid and improvident parents is absurd. …

Are you looking forward to a breed of men after the war who will have become boneless wonders?
  • Leaners grow flabby;
  • lifters grow muscles.
Men without ambition readily become slaves. …
[Some say that when this war is over, the levellers will have won the day.]
My answer is that … men will come out of this war as gloriously unequal in many things as when they entered it. …

Individual enterprise must drive us forward.
That does not mean we are to return to the old and selfish notions of laissez-faire.
The functions of the State will be much more than merely keeping the ring within which the competitors will fight.
Our social and industrial laws will be increased.
There will be
  • more law, not less;
  • more control, not less.

(The Forgotten People, 22 May 1942)

March 6, 2015


Free Market of Ideas

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Green Army: Research and Development

Climate Change 2014

Severe, Pervasive, and Irreversible Impacts

Climate change will amplify existing risks and create new risks for natural and human systems.
Risks are unevenly distributed and are generally greater for disadvantaged people and communities in countries at all levels of development.
Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts for people, species and ecosystems.
Continued high emissions would lead to mostly negative impacts for biodiversity, ecosystem services, and economic development and amplify risks for livelihoods and for food and human security.
(p 24)

Observed Changes and Their Causes

Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history.
Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.
(p 5)

Observed Changes in the Climate System

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.
  • The atmosphere and ocean have warmed,
  • the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and
  • sea level has risen.
(p 6)

Past and recent drivers of climate change

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era driven largely by economic and population growth.
From 2000 to 2010 emissions were the highest in history.
Historical emissions have driven atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, to levels that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years, leading to an uptake of energy by the climate system.
(p 9)

[Since 2000, the increased] use of coal relative to other energy sources has reversed the long-standing trend in gradual decarbonisation … of the world’s energy supply.
(p 11, emphasis added)

Attribution of climate changes and impacts

The evidence for human influence on the climate system has grown since AR4.
Human influence has been detected
  • in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean,
  • in changes in the global water cycle,
  • in reductions in snow and ice, and
  • in global mean sea-level rise …
[Human activity] is extremely likely to have been [the cause of more than half] of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans.
Impacts are due to observed climate change, irrespective of its cause, indicating the sensitivity of natural and human systems to changing climate.
(p 12)

Extreme Events

Changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed since about 1950.
Some of these changes have been linked to human influences, including
  • a decrease in cold temperature extremes,
  • an increase in warm temperature extremes,
  • an increase in extreme high sea levels and
  • an increase in the number of heavy precipitation events in a number of regions.
(p 15)

Exposure and Vulnerability

The character and severity of impacts from climate change and extreme events emerge from risk that depends not only on climate-related hazards but also on exposure (people and assets at risk) and vulnerability (susceptibility to harm) of human and natural systems.
(p 16)

Human Responses To Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation

Adaptation and mitigation experience is accumulating across regions and scales, even while global anthropogenic GHG emissions have continued to increase.
(p 17)

(AR5 Synthesis Report — Longer Report, 1 November, 2014)

The Reasons for Scientific Uncertainty

There are many uncertainties in our predictions [due to an] incomplete understanding of:
  • sources and sinks of greenhouse gases [—] which affect predictions of future concentrations,
  • clouds [—] which strongly influence the magnitude of climate change,
  • oceans [—] which influence the timing and patterns of climate change [and]
  • polar ice-sheets [—] which affect prediction of sea level rise.
These processes are already partially understood, and we are confident that the uncertainties can be reduced by further research.
However, the complexity of the system [is such] that we cannot rule out surprises.

(Climate Change: the Scientific Assessments, First Assessment Report, 1990, p 365)

Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference With The Climate System

The Parties to this Convention,

Acknowledging that change in the Earth's climate and its adverse effects are a common concern of humankind,

Concerned that human activities have been substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, that these increases enhance the natural greenhouse effect, and that this will result on average in an additional warming of the Earth's surface and atmosphere and may adversely affect natural ecosystems and humankind,

Noting that the largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries, that per capita emissions in developing countries are still relatively low and that the share of global emissions originating in developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs …

Recognizing that various actions to address climate change can be justified economically in their own right and can also help in solving other environmental problems …

Recognizing further that low-lying and other small island countries, countries with low-lying coastal, arid and semi-arid areas or areas liable to floods, drought and desertification, and developing countries with fragile mountainous ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change …

Affirming that responses to climate change should be coordinated with social and economic development in an integrated manner with a view to avoiding adverse impacts on the latter, taking into full account the legitimate priority needs of developing countries for the achievement of sustained economic growth and the eradication of poverty …

Determined to protect the climate system for present and future generations,

Have agreed …

Article 2: Objective

[To stabilize] greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

Article 3: Principles
  1. [To] protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
    Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof. …

  2. [To] take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects.
    Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures, taking into account that policies and measures to deal with climate change should be cost-effective so as to ensure global benefits at the lowest possible cost. …

Article 4: Commitments
  1. (a) [To] adopt national policies and take corresponding measures on the mitigation of climate change, by limiting its anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting and enhancing its greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs.
    These policies and measures will demonstrate that developed countries are taking the lead in modifying longer-term trends in anthropogenic emissions consistent with the objective of the Convention, recognizing that the return by the end of the present decade to earlier levels of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol would contribute to such modification …

    (b) [To communicate] detailed information on its policies and measures referred to … above, as well as on its resulting projected anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol … with the aim of returning individually or jointly to their 1990 levels these anthropogenic emissions of … greenhouse gases …
(United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992)

The Organization

[The IPCC] was established [in 1988] by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
The UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.
The Secretariat [which] coordinates all the IPCC work and liaises with Governments [is] hosted at WMO headquarters in Geneva.

The IPCC is a scientific body.
It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change.
It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.
Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis.
Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment of current information.
IPCC aims to reflect a range of views and expertise.

The IPCC is an intergovernmental body. …
Currently 194 countries are members of the IPCC.
Governments participate in the review process and the plenary Sessions, where main decisions about the IPCC work programme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. …

Because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature, the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers. …