Bloggers’ bedtime

If the denialists would stop crowing for a second over the revision of the “1000-year” climate study and actually read up on the facts, they would find that the scientists themselves – not “bloggers” – have delayed its publication while they check some subtle aspects of data interpretation.

It is that kind of nuanced thoroughness and accuracy which distinguishes scientists from the ignorant buffoons who mindlessly oppose science simply because they dislike its conclusions, like a child who denies it’s eight o’clock because that’s bedtime.

Dirt unit

It is doubtful that Labor’s “dirt unit” is any match for the Coalition’s, which has been spying for conservatives for 60 years – on the public tab. It’s called ASIO.

Tax, then subsidise..huh?

Don Stallman’s question, “Why tax an industry and give it back to us in subsidies?” (The Australian, Letters, 11/6), is understandable given that most of the media spreads fear of the carbon tax instead of explaining how it works. But the answer is simple: low-carbon products will be cheaper than high-carbon ones and will thus be chosen by consumers, giving producers an incentive to switch to low-carbon production. The compensation to consumers ensures that the only losers will be producers who are slower than their competitors to switch. The market will do its job and eventually carbon emissions, the tax and the compensation will all be minimised.

What baffles me is why such a textbook market mechanism is opposed by conservatives. Maybe they’re mad they didn’t think of it.

Nothing conservative about the Right

“There is nothing progressive about the Left”, says Frank Pulsford (The Australian, Last Post, 7/6). Was it the Left or the Right who fought for modern democracy, workers rights, racial and sexual equality, and many other values which are now mainstream? And who opposed these progressions at every step?

Conversely, the modern Right claims the word “conservative”, yet its project is radical, including the dismantling of collective instruments long fundamental to our polity such as public assets and services, economic regulation for the common good, collective bargaining and welfare.


While I detested Malcolm Fraser for his domestic ruthlessness in the 70s, The Australian’s editorial (“Fraser has drifted left of Labor”, 6/7) is unfair, particularly the attempt at guilt by association with Robert Mugabe, who may always have been a monster but was then preferred not just by Fraser, but by everyone opposed to white minority rule in Rhodesia.

What The Australian calls Fraser’s “pallid record” included indigenous land rights, a humanitarian immigration program, the beginnings of multiculturalism and a major role in the dismantling of Apartheid. He also could not stomach the Thatcherite economics of his Treasurer, John Howard. Fraser is just where he always was, it is The Australian’s commentariat which has drifted to the Right.

Between two stools

The Australian’s editorial (“Putting Assange in perspective”, 1/6) criticises global protests against the ongoing shanghai of Julian Assange, on the grounds that there are more serious human rights issues. Since when is only the single most pressing issue of the moment worthy of response? Does The Australian publish only the most significant story of the day, leaving the rest of its pages blank?

If you approve of the U.S. practice of “extraordinary rendition”, just say so. If not, you should support the protesters’ aims. By merely making weak arguments against them, The Australian fall between two stools.


You’re not playing fair
11 May 2012

Their Budget front page on Wednesday clearly demonstrates The Australian’s complete abandonment of any remaining pretence of neutrality or even fairness.

How do you justify the preposterous Maoist-style cartoon taking up a quarter of the page, the agit-prop headline “Smash the rich”, and the three unanimously condemnatory opinion pieces? By the failure of the government to reduce by 1% a company tax rate already lower than most OECD countries – a reduction which was in fact stymied by the opposition? Or was it the tiny rollback of tax concessions for very high income earners?

If a government ever came along which actually did something socialist, like renationalise the banks, The Australian have nowhere to go – its shrillness level has already maxed out over a little tax adjustment.

I don’t particularly care for this Budget, but I do care for honesty and fairness in journalism and democratic debate, and in that The Australian has thoroughly abrogated its responsibilities.