Generally speaking, there are two items of indisputable wisdom: your electricity bills are far, far higher than they should be and, far more important, take anything and everything John Hewson says with a giant truckload of salt. The news that the onetime opposition leader, the man who lost the “unloseable” election, is to be one of the star paraders at something called The March for Science serves as confirmation of both.
The march – marches, actually, as they are supposed to be held in all capital cities — will take place this Saturday is response to what organisers describe as “the need for stable investment in science, a commitment to higher levels of scientific literacy through education, open communication of scientific findings, and public policy to be guided by evidence.”
Translated, that amounts to something like this: ‘In the US, the Trump administration has announced its intention to flush the pipes of publicly funded alarmist nonsense, most particularly to do with climate change. Let us not see our well-connected mates suffer a similar fate here.’
Does that sound just a tad cynical? If so, consider the men and women of, er, science Mr Hewson will be joining at noon on Saturday in Sydney’s Martin Place for a stroll to Hyde Park: Some relevant biographic information is below each one.
Julie McCrossin (MC) – broadcaster, freelance journalist and facilitator.
The cancer memoirist, comedienne, look-at-me lesbian and former ABC compere set herself to thinking very deeply indeed and concluded that frakking for low-carbon gas will limit her opportunities to “walk in wild places.”
Do not laugh too loudly at that, as Ms McCrossin might conclude it is her saphism, rather than standard-issue luvvie silliness, which inspires such mirth and then perhaps file a complaint under Section 18C. She certainly doesn’t seem overly keen on free speech, having signed a group letter denouncing Bill Leak as a racist who needed to be investigated.
Well some free speech, anyway. When it comes to conservatives, she is proud as punch to pose with a portrait of Fred Nile’s severed head on a platter of vegetables.
Luke Briscoe – co-founder of Indigi Lab, an organisation established to provide education, training and opportunities for Indigenous communities in science, technology and innovation.
From a recent article on the Indiglab.com site, whose chief, Mr Briscoe, will be marching
“We want a future where Indigenous knowledge’s (sic) are the driving force behind science, technology and digital innovation as our science (sic) are 80,000 years old and built one (sic) sustainable practices and that knowledge is priceless but we need to reform the STEM education to be more reflective of our sciences and knowledge systems and also the community wants and needs.”
Dr Angela Maharaj – lecturer at the University of NSW Climate Change Research Centre.
Dr Marharaj has co-authored some dauntingly serious papers to do with Pacific currents, but she also boasts of taking a special interest in making sure that schoolkids are inculcated with only the most correct thoughts about climate change. To this end she is a committee member of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanic Society’s outreach and education committee, which endorses some very curious programs and lesson plans for Australia’s tiddlers.
There’s the CSIRO’s Carbon Kids curriculum, for example, which was launched with no small fanfare some six years ago but now appears to have become the latest victim of climate extinction, as it is no longer findable on the CSIRO site.
Then there is Cool Australia, which appalled Quadrant’s Tony Thomas when he took a close look at what is being passed off as science in our schools. He wrote:
Much of the Cool material, such as lessons advocating recycling and energy-saving, is largely harmless, even beneficial. But material on hot-button political topics is designed to turn students into green activists and anti-conservative bigots…
… A whole course for Years 9-10, involving ten lessons, is devoted to the book “This Changes Everything”, an anti-capitalism, anti-fossil-fuel polemic by Canadian activist Naomi Klein. She advocates populist uprisings – “Blockadia” — against fossil-energy developments, and for gigantic dollar transfers to (mostly corrupt) Third World governments to repay the West’s (mythical) “climate debt”. She attacks even the major green groups such as WWF and Nature Conservancy as sell-outs to the fossil-fuel industry.
…One Cool Australia lesson about [Naomi] Klein’s book is titled, Climate Changes vs Capitalism. It decries the impact on the environment of “our economic system’s push for continual growth” and the “quality of life for all people”. In an unintentionally revealing disclosure, Cool Australia’s Teacher Notes describe the supposed climate crisis as
“an opportunity for a new economic model that accounts for both people and the planet in a just and sustainable way… After all, it will be young people who will inherit the world we have created… and who will reinvent a different future.”
This echoes similar sentiments by Christana Figueres, when a top UN climate official: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.”
Does Dr Maharaj really think “transforming the economic development model” is a great idea? If so, could she provide some details, most particularly how the means of production might be re-ordered under blackout conditions.
Dr Jonica Newby – science writer, broadcaster and former veterinarian.
The long-term live-in love goddess of the ABC’s Robyn “100 metres” Williams, Dr Newby also happens to have been, just coincidentally, an ABC employee (Funny, ain’t it, how so many national broadcaster staffers get horizontal with each other? If there is an argument for gay marriage the most cogent recommendation would be that it would see laid bare the extent of nepotism amongst both ABC heterosexuals and homosexuals).
Some years ago, undoubtedly distracted by the fate of polar bears or somesuch, Dr Newby found her swain no longer stoked that fire in her loins and wrote a searingly personal account of what it is like to share a bed with the Science Show presenter and feel nothing a’stir beneath the flannelette. There has been no follow-up account to suggest mattress testing is back in fashion at the Williams household, or indeed if other journalistic exercises have re-kindled the flames, the one below for example.
That memoir of amore-turned-arid is far from the only aspect of Dr Newby’s career worth noting, as Media Watch has done several times.
Most recently, MW reported on the ABC’s decision to axe Catalyst, on which Dr Newby formerly worked. No wonder she has spare time to march about Sydney’s CBD and impede traffic in support of money for science and the guaranteed funding of those who deal, as the marchers’ manifesto puts it, in the “open communication of scientific findings.”
Media Watch seems to think the end of Catalyst is a terrible thing. Formerly, though, it had not been quite so supportive. There was the 1997 report, for example, that exposed a commercial relationship between Dr Newby and the Uncle Ben’s pet food company which funded a four-part Science Show series on the benefits of keeping pets – pets which need to be fed pet food, one can reasonably surmise.
Another report, this one by Jo Nova, was no less critical, this time of Dr Newby’s personal experience of climate change’s ravages:
Dr Jonica Newby reckons things have changed since she bought her house. It’s simply unthinkable that the climate now is not exactly the same at her house as it was when she first moved in — way back in the historic year of… 2000. (Gosh, eh? I wonder why the BOM don’t publish a paper on it?) Now our national debate is reduced to presenters, not presenting evidence, but just telling us what they reckon. She has lived there for twelve long years after all, and in just another 18 years it’ll be a whole climate data point. Need I say more?
With this kind of mindless anecdotery, it’s fair to ask: is Catalyst still a science show?
Professor Simon Chapman – Emeritus Professor of Public Health, prominent anti-tobacco campaigner, University of Sydney
Science as championed by Professor Simon Chapman is a funny old thing. Take e-cigarettes, for instance, which Britain’s Royal College of Physicians (RCP) regard as far preferable to smoking for those unable to break the nicotine habit. A voluminous report on e-cigs concludes
However, in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the UK.
But there is science, apparently, and then there is science of the sort public advocates reject, seemingly when its findings are in conflict with their personal inclinations. This may be why Dr Chapman feels free to discount the RCP’s adamant recommendation.
Those interested in science marcher Chapman’s scientific acumen might care to read RMIT University’s Dr Sinclair Davidson, who takes a particular delight in puncturing Chapman’s defence of plain packaging and the legerdemain that presents a slight increase in sales as a magnificent reduction in consumption.
Eva Cox – writer, sociologist, prominent feminist, commentator.
While Dr Chapman is keen to save smokers from themselves, fellow marcher Eva Cox isn’t at all keen on saving late-term foetuses from abortionists. Indeed, one could almost conclude that, when it comes to pre-natal science, the feminist from Central Casting believes it is a smorgasbord where once can reject or add items to one’s platter of causes according to need and inclination.
Commenting on anti-porn feminist Melinda Tankard Reist, Ms Cox avowed
I’m not inclined to use people’s religious affiliations as a basis for judgement
But when then-Health Minister Tony Abbott expressed reservations about abortion in general and late-term abortions in particular, Ms Cox saw papist intolerance at work, as the Sydney Morning Herald reported
… the fact the issue had been raised said more about Mr Abbott, a staunch Catholic, and the rise of the Christian right in Australia than anything else.
“The trouble with Abbott is he thinks he can shove his particular moral viewpoint down the throats of everyone else,” Ms Cox said. “He is a fundamentalist, of sorts, who holds a minority view.”
And finally we come to the star of the show, Dr Hewson, of whom there is little need to say anything at all, given that the man never shuts up, not ever – especially when spruiking green energy in which he has a considerable financial interest.
One day, if those dams ever fill again, we would all be blessed were Hewson to imitate another lacklustre Liberal leader, Harold Holt, and go for a nice long swim.
Roger Franklin, the editor of Quadrant Online, recently received his quarterly electricity bill for the tiny, one-and-a-half-bedroom beachfront shack in which he resides. The total demanded: $484. He feels like sending the bill to Mr Hewson and his fellow promenaders, as it is their warmist enthusiasm for wind turbines and the like that has made that bill, and the next one, at least three times more expensive than they should be.