To go by profits, circulation and stock price, few with more intelligence than marquee Fairfax Media columnists, which is to say the vast bulk of Australians, can now be bothered diving into the bizarro universe of an editorial cadre determined to present the world as they would wish it, not as ex-readers who must endure the costs and consequences of Age and SMH opinionistas' pet and ceaselessly promoted causes know it to be. Inspired by Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg's latest contortion to lower power prices without ruffling the rent-seekers living large on renewable subsidies, opinion page solon Peter Hartcher this morning addresses the National Energy Guarantee and informs his paper's few readers of the winning record of wind farms and solar sites:
... this week the Green Energy Markets' project-tracking database concluded that projects already built, under way or subject to tender would add 9691 megawatts of renewable energy. In other words, Australia's electricity sector has already beaten its anticipated [Paris] target 12 years ahead of time.
Well how about that, all of 9691 megawatts of clean, green, Gaia-loving electricity! Trouble is, that figure exists on paper and only on paper, not at the socket in your skirting board -- not reliably or even often, at any rate.
A click on the chart atop this post will render it large enough to examine in explicit detail the actual sources of Australia's electricity as of five o'clock on Friday. Go here and you can check how badly renewables are doing at any given moment. As Hartcher would have you believe the wind's failure to blow is yet more of Tony Abbott's perfidy, there is little point in embedding a link to his latest column. It would only encourage him.
Rather, visit Andrew Bolt's blog via this link or the one below and read his summation of a speech delivered last night by Kevin Andrews. The theme of that address: Liberals have lost the voters' confidence.
At the top of the list of people's concerns are population increases and energy sustainability. Faced with congested roads, inadequate public transport, high housing prices and soaring electricity costs for individual households and businesses, Australians want government to provide clear responses to these challenges.
They are bewildered at the disconnect between national policies for example, to increase immigration, and the struggle of the states and territories to build vital infrastructure. They are dismayed by governments that refuse to use the vast reserves of coal and gas we possess - and sell to other countries - while subsidising unreliable, costly renewables with billions of dollars.
Oh, by the way and worth noting are Hartcher's companions in Abbott-bashing. The notion that the Frydenberg NEG is a thing of exquisite intelligence and great commercial beauty is everywhere today, along with the meme that Abbott is out to wreck it for no better reason that sheer bloodymindedness.
One can guess the PM's handlers were working the phones yesterday, with the punditocracy's hacks keen as ever to take their calls and, of course, their dictation.
-- roger franklin
The April edition of Quadrant went to press days before Hungarians re-elected the government of Victor Orban, so John O'Sullivan's appraisal of the then-looming election in this month's Asperities column was necessarily speculative.
Orban has one advantage that explains why he is the focus of international attention. Other elections in Europe, notably the Italian election, have shown that there are now four forces in its new politics: Left populists, Left centrists, Right centrists, and Right populists. The Centre-Right has one great potential advantage: the Left’s collapse across Europe has come first. So the Right has been given time to assemble a new coalition. It can woo the disaffected blue-collar vote with a patriotic appeal and wed it to the traditional supporters of the mainstream Right. Orban is the first political leader to do this in a consistent way.
That’s why he’s loved and loathed across Europe—and why his election or rejection will be significant outside Hungary as well as within it.
John's column, which subscribers enjoyed almost three weeks ago, has now been lifted from behind our paywall. It should be read in tandem with his post-election update at National Review, available via this link or the one at the foot of this post:
As in other recent elections across Europe, the Left has suffered major losses and is now on the verge of ceasing to function as a standalone political force. Only eight years ago the Hungarian Socialists, supported by a left-liberal coalition partner, were the main governing party. On this occasion the Socialists won 12 percent of the popular vote and 20 seats, and the Democratic Coalition (an imperfect successor to the left-liberal party that has since disbanded) won less than 5 per cent and nine seats.
The MEAA's federal council members raise their SJW fists.
You might have missed this, but it seems there is so much outstanding journalism in Australia that one set of Walkley Awards per year is just not enough. Thus do we learn that the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance's offshoot, the Walkley Foundation, has instituted a second tranche of garlands for those whose lauding simply cannot wait until near the end of the year.
The announcement solicits entries for categories such as "Women's Leadership in the Media" and "Freelancer of the Year", which saw ex-Age reporter Jo Chandler bag 2017's gong for once again ringing the death knell of the Great Barrier Reef. If Ms Chandler feels like penning a follow-up she might get a nice yarn out of reporting James Cook University's vendetta against Professor Peter Ridd. She already has the contacts, as many of those whose scholarship, research and findings Ridd has decried as no better than grant-oriented sensationalism are prominent amongst Ms Chandler quoted and trusted authorities.
So, potential entrants, now that you know the MEAA is keen to endorse the climate establishment, what other topics might pleasure the judges to a state of rampant enthusiasm?
Well, any reference, no matter how tangential, to the boundless evil of Donald Trump and those who voted for him would seem a good bet if John Shand's 2017 triumph is any guide. You can read his piece here, Meaning It: Truth, Trump Universality and Cultural Amnesia. Cynics might well conclude yet another prize category needs be implemented: an award for discerning what on earth Mr Shand is on about.
And there is guidance, too, from the other Arts category winner, the Guardian's Kate Hennessy, who wrote an appreciation of the Belvoir Theatre's "re-imagined" version of The Drover's Wife. If you haven't recently read Henry Lawson's famous tale of an outback woman considering her life as she waits to kill a snake beneath the floorboards, know that Aborigines figure only in passing. But not in the Belvoir version, which makes common cause between the victimhood of women and the murderous oppression of Indigenes, in the process inspiring Ms Hennessy to this flight of award-winning prose:
The black man is Yadaka and he is not dead. Like the drover’s wife, he is an underdog and a survivor: taken as a kid to join a circus, fleeing the horrors of a clan killed by poisoned waterholes and trying to return to his mother’s country across land now criss-crossed with fences.
Yadaka and the drover’s wife share stories, at first falteringly, then freely. Before him, her uterine waters splash to the floor; later, useless breast milk darkens her dress. Her body teems with life and death, as women’s bodies do, and Yadaka seems not disgusted but in awe. “In my tribe you would be treated like a queen,” he says.
Yadaka's role under the Big Top is not detailed, but the influence of a clown is most certainly to be observed in Ms Hennessy's opus.
In this morning's Australian, on page 18, there is a report that Kerry Stokes's Seven West Media is looking to cut some sort of a merger deal with Fairfax Media, whose two most recent suitors eventually examined the books and walked very quickly away. Do you think, just maybe, Fairfax and the ailing, money-losing, trust-funded Guardian might not have flushed themselves quite so far around the S-bend had they concentrated on news and the pursuit of truth, rather than dishing the codswallop evidently valued by judges who know what the public needs to read, rather than what it is entitled to read? It used to be called "news sense". These days it is neither.
Vale Australia journalism, consigned to a grave decorated with wreaths of gorgeous awards. What a pity so few former readers could be bothered attending the funeral.
All who fancy their chances of taking home a mid-year Walkley should follow this link or the one below. But be warned, if you are not a paid-up union member it will cost you $150 per entry. It is almost as if the MEAA doesn't want any winners who can't brandish a Che fist on demand.
-- roger franklin