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June 29th 2016 print

Peter O'Brien

Random Jottings in a Dark Season

The news spins and whirls at such a pace that many small and telling items often go through to the keeper. This has been especially the case during this marathon election season, with its harvest of trite inanities and absurdities. Here are just a few of the more recent

jotSometimes things strike my fancy that are not worthy of articles in themselves, but I still feel I would like to share them.  I call them bagatelles.  Here are a few.

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MARIUS BENSON, ABC Radio’s political commentator, interviewed Chris Bowen earlier in the week about Labor’s costings and noted that its projected deficits over four years were $16bn more than the Coalition’s.  He wondered if this was ‘a gift to the government’.  Not a bit of it, replied Bowen, as might be expected. “The difference is only 0.2% of GDP,” he told us, implying that this was too insignificant to worry about, a rounding error perhaps.

Benson must have swallowed this line because later, he and SMH’s Peter Hartcher both pushed the same line.

Perhaps it did not occur to them that the total four-year accumulated deficits of the government, $84bn, also only amount to a paltry 1% of GDP.  Presumably nothing to worry about either – on that basis we could afford to run deficits forever.

A figure that might have made more sense, if one is concerned with reducing deficits that is, would be that the Labor 4 year deficits are 20% higher.

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OVER Sunday and Monday I heard two ABC interviews concerning Bexit.  The first, on Sunday morning, had an ABC presenter interviewing a panel of four British “experts”, all virulently opposed to Brexit.  On Monday, the aforementioned Benson interviewed a former Tony Blair staffer, also predictably scathing about the result. I can’t be sure that someone, somewhere in the bowels of Their ABC didn’t interview a representative of the Leave camp, just to provide a soupcon of balance, but if they did, it escaped me.

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AND from the Freudian Slip department, I had a chuckle at the following exchange (words to the effect of) between Benson and Malcolm Farr:

Benson:  I had a vague feeling that the week before last, the government had the better of things but this week things seem to be going well for Labor.  What do you think?

Farr:  Yes, things are going well.

Benson:  For the government or Labor

Farr:  Labor.

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ONE of the “red flag” phrases that tells me someone is going to espouse nonsense no right-thinking person should entertain for a moment is ‘this will make Australia a laughing stock’ or, even worse,  the allegation that we are “a pariah”.  That impression is even stronger when it’s the first argument they present.  Thus it was with great disappointment, for  I am a minimalist republican, that I read the words of Peter FitzSimons in a personally addressed email, enjoining me to get behind a republican push, apparently newly invigorated by Brexit.

Peter suggests:

If Scotland and Northern Ireland bail out on the United Kingdom, as is now mooted to happen, can you imagine the global humiliation of Australia still insisting that, as for us, we can still do no better than find our heads of state from one family of English aristocrats living in a palace in London?

Setting aside the fact that even if Scotland does choose to leave Great Britain, they will certainly retain their allegiance to the monarchy and will therefore be exactly as we are now, what anyone else in the world thinks of us would not influence me in the slightest.

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BACK in the early part of this century, climate scientists already alarmed by “dangerous” global warming discovered something that gave them even more cause for alarm – the globe had stopped warming.  Just a blip, they re-assured themselves, insisting that they could not be wrong and warming would surely resume soon. In the meantime, they would keep churning out the alarmist papers, lest the dim and easily led public dare to draw its own conclusions.  Back then, climate-data manipulation homogenization was still in its (relative) infancy, so they hit on two techniques.  In 2001, the third IPCC Report came out.  It was accompanied by a Summary for Policymakers that prominently displayed a graph showing warming continuing up to 2000.

But in 2006, when the fourth Report was produced, the key graph then showed a distinct cooling, post 2000.  This was a very inconvenient truth, so they just left this graph out of the Summary and continued to use the graph that ended in 2000.

The other idea they hit on was to dispense with the term ‘global warming’ and now use the much more powerful and flexible term ‘climate change’.  And that’s the way it’s been ever since.  Except that Australian Greens leader, Richard Natale, has lately begin talking about ‘global warming’ again, no doubt encouraged by all those recent record hot years we’ve had, largely courtesy of a much more blatant sophisticated manipulation homogenization methodology.

Judging by recent weather, Di Natale may have jumped the gun.

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FOLLOWING the conviction of former NSW Labor minister Eddie Obeid, a conga line of Labor luminaries came out to express their disgust at this embarrassment for our oldest political party.  NSW Labor Opposition Leader Luke Foley, obviously more embarrassed than most, decided to spread the manure around a little by declaring the Obeid affair ‘a cancer on our State democracy’.

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THE pithily accurate A lie can travel around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes goes from strength to strength in the Internet age.  But, in Leftist hands at least, the lie also has a staying power that would relegate Makybe Diva to a mid-week meeting at, say, Coober Pedy.  At his Press Club address, Bill Shorten quoted Malcolm Turnbull on the propensity of political parties to say one thing today and do another tomorrow and deftly turned this into one of his zingers.  It was, he declared:

…the defining moment in this campaign, the gaffe that marked the end of the Prime Minister’s credibility:  He said, “what political parties say they will support and oppose at one time is not necessarily what they will do’.”

But Turnbull was talking about Labor’s recent backflips and the ABC’s Sabra Lane very effectively nailed Shorten’s cojones to the wall by reading out to him the rest of Turnbull’s statement.

Kudos to Sabra for that but, unfortunately and no doubt in an effort to provide the balance for which the ABC is justly famed, later, in the 7.30 Report, she reminded us that the technique of the truncated quote, eliminating context, is used by both sides.  She gave us the example of Julia Gillard’s “Tthere will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.”  This is clearly a reference to the urban myth that Gillard went on to say ‘but let me be clear, I will put a price on carbon…’.

It has been conclusively proved that Gillard did not make that clarifying proviso, but the legend, with the help of the ABC, lives on.

Comments [6]

  1. I would like to add more to the ‘Random Jottings’ by supplying my opinion on the Same Sex ‘Marriage’/'Marriage equality’ fiasco dominating the recent news, and doing so at the expense of issues that really matter to our future – like the economy. :- Look over there, it’s a Unicorn! No wait, there’s two Unicorns – and they’re mating!! [They obviously aren't the same sex, are they?] Have the Canberra Press Gallery nothing better to do than waste time on such a trivial and obvious diversion as this? Australia is accelerating down the Greek/Venezuelan highway to a spectacular Thelma and Louise crash at the end of it, and yet our Canberra ‘journalists’ obsess over an issue like this. It’s like being on the Titanic and taking pictures of the menu after the ship has already struck the iceberg.

    • Jody says:

      “Have the Canberra Press Gallery nothing better to do than waste time on such a trivial and obvious diversion as this?”

      No, they are parochial to industrial strength levels. Only concerned about their colleagues in the ABC or at their media outlets, they mostly worry about what they can discuss at the next dinner party in the inner suburbs which will ensure they belong to the club and have the appropriate social credentials. I’m serious. It’s that bad!!

      I absolutely refuse to watch the ABC under any circumstances.

  2. Roydocherty says:

    What I heard Turnbull say the was that political parties (plural) would say one thing then do another (to paraphrase) then Turnbull gave an example related to Labor. His statement included all parties at the beginning. Again the great communicator confuses the plebs.

    • ianl says:

      > … political parties would say one thing then do another

      1) Such as promising with hand-on-heart not to hack at superannuation (Morrison, January 2016 – yet again) then being ugly in the election campaign. The only ameliorating facet here is that Waffle did this just *before* an election (although hacking a core promise), unlike Rudderless/Gillard who *twice* hand-on-heart promised to leave super alone then hacked this promise both times *after* the elections. Rudderless even had the gall to tout this same “promise” in the 2013 campaign.

      It’s obvious though with Waffle that the oldies are fair game (assets test, pathology, aged care all hacked), since after the mining cycle, this demographic is the only one with any money. Never mind that they saved it over a lifetime of blood, sweat and work. The nation needs their sacrifice (there was an editorial in the Australian saying just that after the drastic tightening of the assets test).

      2) The Heydon Royal Commission into union corruption extracted evidence of systemic criminality and violence. Waffle called a DD on the basis that the Senate twice knocked back the single piece of legislation that matters most – yet, he barely mentions it in the long, dull march to next Saturday. The MSM has forgotten that which Heydon uncovered and most likely never knew the details anyway.

      Then Waffle gleefully points out one of the ALP/Shorten’s minor hypocrisies. Golly and gee, the populace deserves the politicians it gets.