Political fires: climate debate shifting in Australia, not to Abbott’s liking

Historians have long appreciated the weather can have a profound impact on the course of events.

A spring drought on eve of the French Revolution pushed up food prices, and was the final spark that pushed a hungry populace to revolt. Two bitterly cold winters destroyed the imperial ambitions of both Napoleon and Hitler in Russia. In the thirteenth century a “divine wind” saved the Japanese from Mongol invasion.

The weather can be both capricious and unpredictable, especially when it wrecks havoc upon the ambitious plans of generals and politicians. The weather can rob would-be emperors of certain victories.

Given humanity has now loaded the dice for more extreme weather events by continuing to alter the planet’s atmosphere and climate, it is virtually certain increasing political disruption will follow extreme weather events with greater frequency.

This is the lesson both the Abbott government and Australian population are now learning.

The Abbott government was elected on the promise of dismantling the price on carbon introduced by the previous Labor government. Helped by a vicious anti-Labor and anti-science campaign by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, they cruised into office promising a government of grownups.

But then New South Wales burned, changing the political landscape.

Very quickly Abbott and News Corp lost control of the climate change narrative. Desperate to disavow any links between the extraordinary fires and climate change, Abbott and his Environment Minister Greg Hunt fumbled badly in trying to control the message. According to both these men the fires could not, would not and should not be linked to the science.

To their frustration the public refused to listen and made the obvious connections.

Abbott simply dismissed the connection, and came across as stubborn and intractable. Day-by-day, Abbott is looking increasingly uncertain and strangely timid in office. His infamous bovver boy and mischief-making style is proving ill-suited for the role of Prime Minister. When he can’t attack, he freezes like a deer in headlights.  

Greg Hunt became an international laughing-stock with his now infamous “I looked it up on Wikipedia” comments.

Thanks to the fires, everyone is talking about climate change.

We need to appreciate the profound shift taking place in the Australian climate debate, and how the NSW fires are contributing to this.

Bare in mind these fires follow the flooding and Tasmanian fires of late 2012 and early 2013. These fires follow the battering New York took during Hurricane Sandy. These fires follow Cyclone Yasi. These fires follow the holocaust that killed almost 200 Victorians during Black Saturday in 2009.

A pattern is emerging, and people are noticing the climate regime has shifted. This fact is intuitively understood and accepted by the public who are often the victims of such events. Watching your home burn, your town flooded or choking on the acrid smoke of the fires that have drifted into the heart of Sydney will put to rest most people’s lingering scepticism.

For this reason both Abbott and Hunt are furiously stating they accept the science. Abbott may think climate change is “crap”, but it is now unacceptable for the PM to state this belief in public.

Those fighting the sceptic movement can take heart that climate change denial in Australia is a spent political force, consigned to the margins and conspiracy theory enthusiasts. 

However the events of this week are also a harbinger of the shape fires and political disruption to come.

In discussing the politics of climate change in Australia we’ve focused almost solely on the policies (or lack thereof) of the major parties and the Greens.

We’ve spent an inordinate amount of time dissecting and critiquing the role of the media. We’ve also convinced ourselves the future of the carbon price is dependent on the makeup of the Senate and the voting behaviors of the micro-parties.

Partisans on both sides of the debate have assumed the debate was about careful messaging, well-considered opinion pieces in the major dailies and peppering the media with sound bites.

But no one has talked about the weather and it’s potential to disrupt and reshape Australian politics.

Generals and conquerors in the past have learnt through bitter defeat the climate can wipe out entire armies, fleets and political ambitions. We’ve forgotten these lessons from history.

However the fires of NSW has taught us history is back with a fiery vengeance.

History is roaring back into life in the shape of a firestorm, laying waste to vast tracts of the bush, rural communities and the ambitions of the Prime Minister.

Those who forget the impact of extreme weather events on politics are doomed to fall prey to its unpredictable nature.

Just ask the Prime Minister.

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200 thoughts on “Political fires: climate debate shifting in Australia, not to Abbott’s liking

  1. mike jones says:

    Tony Abbott is an evil little man……

  2. […] 2013/10/26: WtD: Political fires: climate debate shifting in Australia, not to Abbott’s liking […]

  3. J Giddeon says:

    Despite the fervent hopes that these fires and climate disasters will change the political landscape, we have a Newspoll taken over the weekend.

    “Based on preference flows at the August 2010 election, the Coalition has opened up a 56 per cent to 44 per cent lead over Labor after preferences”.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/newspoll/tony-abbott-builds-on-landslide-in-first-newspoll-since-election/story-fnc6vkbc-1226748544836#sthash.ML6Zp4HV.dpuf

    Oh and then there’s this piece of unwelcome information:

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labors-carbon-backflip-20131028-2wc53.html

    But I’m damn sure the very next climate disaster will change the electorates attitude. No really, it will.

  4. john byatt says:

    ” I don’t endorse the Bible but I accept that there was a bloke called Saul/Paul who opened churches in the Hellenic world”

    i don’t, i think he was a made up figure purely for a claim of authority

    • J Giddeon says:

      whatever that means

    • zoot says:

      I don’t endorse the Bible …

      Interesting statement from someone called Gid(d)eon.

      • john byatt says:

        basically he does not endorse the bible but accepts church doctrine

        • Gregory T says:

          I think this fits Giddeon’s mind set.

          “One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.”
          ― Richard Dawkins

        • J Giddeon says:

          “The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything.” G K Chesterton (sort of)

          like the notion that we can control the climate.

        • J Giddeon says:

          “but accepts church doctrine”

          Evidence? Sorry to use words you don’t understand.

        • john byatt says:

          doh “church doctrine”

          “I accept that there was a bloke called Saul/Paul who opened churches in the Hellenic world”

          get it ?

        • john byatt says:

          OT

          The Satanic verses

          Rushdies analogy for the mythical Saul Paul conversion is the finding of the fabulous hoard, a wallet which never runs out of cash

          the catholic church has been milking the wallet ever since

          Once upon a time — _it was and it was not so_, as the old stories used
          to say, _it happened and it never did_ — maybe, then, or maybe not, a
          ten-year-old boy from Scandal Point in Bombay found a wallet lying in
          the Street outside his home. He was on the way home from school,
          having just descended from the school bus on which he had been
          obliged to sit squashed between the adhesive sweatiness of boys in
          shorts and be deafened by their noise, and because even in those days he
          was a person who recoiled from raucousness, jostling and the
          perspiration of strangers he was feeling faintly nauseated by the long,
          bumpy ride home. However, when he saw the black leather billfold lying
          at his feet, the nausea vanished, and he bent down excitedly and
          grabbed, — opened, — and found, to his delight, that it was full of cash,
          – and not merely rupees, but real money, negotiable on black markets
          and international exchanges, — pounds! Pounds sterling, from Proper
          London in the fabled country of Vilayet across the black water and far
          away. Dazzled by the thick wad of foreign currency, the boy raised his
          eyes to make sure he had not been observed, and for a moment it
          seemed to him that a rainbow had arched down to him from the
          heavens, a rainbow like an angel’s breath, like an answered prayer,
          coming to an end in the very spot on which he stood. His fingers
          trembled as they reached into the wallet, towards the fabulous hoard.

        • J Giddeon says:

          It would take a special kind of determination to ignore the bleeding obvious to think that Saul/Paul wasn’t an historic figure. That doesn’t mean one has to accept everything said by or about him.

        • john byatt says:

          he was a construct of the catholic church

          the church like climate sceptics love and jubilate and use conversions as a propaganda tool

          there was a historic Saul , a story converting him to a mythical figure Paul is not supported by history and is in fact contradictory

        • J Giddeon says:

          There was a chap roaming around the Hellenic world in the mid first century, organising nascent Christian groups, having churches built and writing massive missives to those groups. Those letters became the basis of the new religion. He was known to those groups, other contemporary groups and people in the following generation as Paul.

        • john byatt says:

          any proof ?

        • Gregory T says:

          Warning, Thread Veering Ahead.

        • Nick says:

          No one holds the notion we can ‘control the climate’. Intelligent people hold the notion, and observations tell us, that we can ‘influence the climate’.

          Gids, do you understand the distinction? Yes or no?

        • john byatt says:

          J Giddeon says:
          October 29, 2013 at 1:52 am
          “The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything.” G K Chesterton (sort of)

          like the notion that we can control the climate.

          “one of the first effects of believing in god is believing that he controls the climate for the benefit of humans” J M Byatt ( exactly)

        • Debunker says:

          J Giddeon says:
          October 29, 2013 at 1:52 am
          “The first effect of not believing in God is to believe in anything.” G K Chesterton (sort of)

          like the notion that we can control the climate.

          yes Gids, with that comment you reveal how totally scientifically challenged you are.

          First off, not believing in God does not automatically involve believing in anything. Secondly, science is not a belief system. I don’t “believe” in Evolution, but I accept the overwhelming evidence that supports it and accept the logic that explains it. Just like I accept the overwhelming evidence that we are warming our planet and the scientific rational for the possible consequences.

          And no, we are not “controlling” the climate, far from it. We are quite possibly bringing about a situation where it will be totally outside our control. We are however “influencing” the climate, and that is not the same thing.

    • Bernard J. says:

      I presume that Scott Ludlam is the challenger? If he picked up the seat again it would have a big effect on the next Senate. Perhaps a double dissolution down the track might be on the cards after all…

      On the matter of senate voting analysis, a good link was posted a week or two after the election (perhaps on Larvatus Prodeo?). Does anyone remember what it was?

      • john byatt says:

        I think that there may be three in the race

      • Chris O'Neill says:

        “If he picked up the seat again it would have a big effect on the next Senate.”

        The critical 14 votes make the difference between having PUP+Labor or Sports Party+Green.

        • john byatt says:

          yep

          Senator Ludlam was defeated in the original count, thanks to a 14-vote margin between the Shooters and Fishers Party and the Australian Christians at a crucial stage of the preference distribution.
          That result took preferences away from Senator Ludlam and the Sports Party’s Wayne Dropulich, instead favouring Labor’s Louise Pratt and Zhenya ‘Dio’ Wang of the Palmer United Party.

        • Bernard J. says:

          Thanks for the clarification John.

          I guess that there’s little diffference between PUP and SEP, although anything that erodes the disproportionate influence of PUP is probably the most desirable outcome for both democracy and the environment.

  5. Bernard J. says:

    J Giddeon.

    You have homework.

    • john byatt says:

      yes i noticed that, thought that it would be a waste of money as it does seem that on a death per insulation basis the period was less deaths as a percentage

      yes all deaths are bad news but Abbott still thinks he is in opposition

      • john byatt says:

        facts

        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-14/green-the-facts-wont-speak-for-themselves/4517146

        Scott Steel crunched the numbers, numbers provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a usually reliable source:

        What we found was that under every possible scenario, the government insulation program – far from increasing the rates of fire occurring from installing insulation – actually reduced the rate of fires and likely reduced the rate in a quite substantial manner.

        • J Giddeon says:

          I guess anyone innumerate enough to be sucked in by the “Our Earth” statistical fudges would find this convincing.

          But in reality that’s the biggest piece of statistical mumbo-jumbo I’ve seen for some time. Just like the Our Earth fiddle it decides the answer it wants and works backwards to get there.

        • john byatt says:

          ah the conspiracy defense. well done

        • john byatt says:

          ““Our Earth”

          ???

        • Nick says:

          The COALition are in full vengeance mode. Headless chooks. As JB said, the number of fires per thousand installs came down.

          So that leaves you, Gids, with your token libertarianism. Which won’t allow you to accuse the installers of negligence, poor training of their staff and bodgy work. No body needs to take personal responsibility when you can just blame Rudd: your modus and the COALition’s as well.

        • john byatt says:

          due to shorten overall deaths in all industries except agriculture came down over his tenure

        • J Giddeon says:

          JB,

          “Our Earth”???”

          Ah, already erased it from your memory

          http://greenphysicist2.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-levels.html

          Well done. Must have been quite traumatic for someone who considers himself so much smarter than those foolish deniers to be shown to be so gullible. Best forgotten.

          Nick,
          I wasn’t accusing or excusing anyone. The bodgy installers are as guilty as a government more concerned with seeming to be doing good than actually doing good. But its touching to see you leap in to protect your erstwhile ‘dear leader’. The numbers in JB’s link were crap. It talks of 93 fires when there were at least 224. But I understand. These fires and the deaths of innocent kids were in the name of saving gaia so a bit of collateral damage is to be expected.

        • john byatt says:

          the blog is not our earth, that is a blog post heading. see your link

          you are just getting cranky because apparently you are the only person on earth to dispute the BAU and claim that we will never reach 560ppm CO2
          you live in lala land

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exponential_growth

        • J Giddeon says:

          Yes already JB, that page was the basis of your previous attempt to excuse the ALP .
          The calculations are based on there being an extra 93 fires. There were at least an extra 224 fires and that’s the ones the Gillard govt was prepared to own up to.

          Surely even you can work out why that means your link is not terribly reliable.

        • john byatt says:

          so your link for that ?

        • john byatt says:

          thanks for that, scott steel did an update and links to CSIRO report

          http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2011/04/24/the-csiro-gets-hip-to-debunking-media-hysteria/

          will find CSIRO report as link broken

        • john byatt says:

          what do you not get about you are a denier and therefore always wrong by default ?

          update

          The number of fires per 100,000 installs that occurred within 12 months of installation was 47.3 before the Home Insulation Program and 13.9 during the Home Insulation Program

          The Home Insulation Program reduced the short term fire rate by approximately 70% compared to what was happening before it.

          The Home Insulation Program was over 3 times safer than the industry it replaced in terms of the numbers of fire experienced within 12 months of getting insulation installed.

          Now, what about the long term fire rates – the rate of fires we expect to occur from insulation stock older than 12 months?

          We’ve already figured it out for the pre-HIP insulation – 2.06 fires per year for every 100,000 houses with insulation installed.

          What about the long term rate for Home Insulation Program?

          Since not all of the insulation installed under the Home Insulation Program had been in the ceiling for longer than 12 months when the data was collected, we have to take note of the number of fires that occurred and the number of installs that were older than 12 months at the time. Thankfully, the CSIRO did this for us in Table 5.2 on page 32 or the report. Again, we follow their advice of:

          (see table )

        • J Giddeon says:

          Yeah well we’ll have an inquiry and find out if these bodgy numbers stand up.

          We’ll also find out if the families of the boys killed feel better when told that there were actually feerw lives lost.

          And we’ll find out exactly what advice Garratt passed to rudd about the dangers of going too fast with the roll-out and why Rudd chose to ignore that advice.

          But no matter what is yet to be found by the inquiry we can be certain that, irrespective of findings and revelations, you will decide that it had nothing to do with the ALP and was all for the greater good anyway.

        • john byatt says:

          I could not care less about the ALP, what i care about is deliberate distortion from the likes of you,

          and you are the one seeking to make capital out of misfortune

          J Giddeon says:
          October 27, 2013 at 1:12 am
          The Libs decide to investigate other fires caused by climate change:

          http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/kevin-rudd-to-be-questioned-over-botched-insulation-scheme-after-abbott-government-orders-formal-inquiry/story-fni0fiyv-1226747562242

          Reply

        • Bernard J. says:

          J Giddeon.

          Your homework is still waiting.

          You’re not avoiding it are you?

        • john byatt says:

          no wonder he did not link where he got that crap,, it came from Jo nova

        • J Giddeon says:

          I just mentioned the inquiry. It was you and Nick who leapt in to salvage the honour of the previous government.

    • Nick says:

      Yep, the new government is pretending it’s still in opposition. It has no strategy beyond throwing shit at the Labs. And, Gids, neither have you.

      Possum at Crikey really crunched the numbers on the batts furphy, showing that the News Ltd Libs were cynical liars and the Labs were incompetent at defending themselves.

  6. With reference to the original topic of Abbott and News Corp caught out by the changing public sentiment towards climate change, driven by the regular worldwide occurrence of extreme weather events or the consequence of those weather events (bushfires etc.), it is no surprise that that they have been so caught out.

    What is interesting is their response to this change in public sentiment, they seem to be digging in deeper, refusing to budge from their convictions. While some of the Murdoch publications appear to be playing both sides, deep down the anti climate change conviction currently remains within the Murdoch empire. Given we have yet to experience the summer to follow this unusually hotter and drier spring, the climate change deniers must be feeling uneasy.

    Murdoch follows money, and if money means accepting the reality of climate change his publications will drop T Abbott and his government like a hot rock.

  7. john byatt says:

    Climate Council report

    extensive and all references at the end

    http://cdn.getup.org.au/575-ExtremeWeatherReport_web.pdf

    • john byatt says:

      Summary
      australia has a long history of fire and already
      faces the regular risk of serious and extreme fire
      danger conditions. over the past decade large
      and uncontrollable fires destroyed 500 houses in
      canberra in 2003, bushfires in victoria in 2009 took
      173 lives and destroyed over 2,000 houses and in
      2013 large fires in tasmania destroyed nearly 200
      properties and forced the evacuation of hundreds of
      people from the tasman Peninsula. climate change
      can affect bushfire conditions by increasing the
      probability of extreme fire weather days. many parts
      of australia, including southern new south wales,
      victoria, tasmania and parts of south australia have
      seen an increase in extreme fire weather over the
      last 30 years. the projections for the future indicate
      a significant increase in dangerous fire weather for
      southeast australia.

    • Michael Marriott says:

      Thanks JB, been looking forward to reading that.

      Mike

  8. Michael Marriott says:

    Debate is fine, but let’s make sure comments stay focused and backed up with appropriate sources and not cherry picked. Watching all comments at this point.

  9. john byatt says:

    at WUWT bozo

    It’s unusual but not unheard of for southern California to have wildfires in May. But this is another case of ‘weather is not climate’ since the wildfires were caused by an unusually dry winter (in some areas it has been record dry) combined with an unusual May ‘Santa Ana’ – where very dry hot winds blow off shore instead of the usual cool moist on shore winds ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Ana_winds ). The relative humidity was in the low single digits (including one report of 1% rH!) and temps were in the 90′s across much of southern California when the fires started. The conditions were exactly the same as they often are in September and October so it’s fair to say that they came early and they were unusual. I don’t believe it’s reasonable to attempt to blame it on anything other than weather though.

    nothing happening move on

    • Bill Jamison says:

      And some thought that our unusual early season fires indicated we were in for a devastating fire season. Guess what, it hasn’t happened. All of our big fires were early in the season. We’re almost to the end of October and no big fires are burning in the state. Today is actually the 10th anniversary of the largest fire in state history though. Only a change of wind prevented it from burning to the Pacific Ocean in San Diego.

      So our Santa Anas came early. We had some fires. Not at all unusual in California. In fact according to Cal Fire we’ve had just over 50% of the normal acreage burned for this time of the year (150,782 burned versus the average of 278,989)

      http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_stats

      • Dr No says:

        Bill, your mother is calling again.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          I know how much you hate facts and cites Dr nobody but do you ever actually contribute to a conversation?

        • john byatt says:

          that fire was three months early, yet caingll attention to that made bill an alarmist.
          funny that just a few comments below you one of you idiot mates claims that the themes will freeze over this year

        • john byatt says:

          calling attention, red wine

        • Nick says:

          Please share the bottle, JB

        • john byatt says:

          chianti

        • Bill Jamison says:

          It’s not unusual to have fires in SoCal in the spring. This spring was worse than usual but that wasn’t a surprise given the record winter drought. Then when Santa Ana winds kicked up early (they’re much more common in the late summer and early fall) it kicked fire season into high gear. There was a realistic expectation that it indicated a very bad fire season would follow…only it didn’t happen. We had monsoonal moisture stream out of the tropics and drop heavy rain in the mountains to help reduce the fire risk. Weather mellowed out and the few Santa Anas we’ve had have been mild. When fire risk was extreme no fires got ignited. Result: significantly lower acreage burned than average.

          Maybe Australia will have a similar result and these early fires won’t actually portend a devastating fire season this year.

        • john byatt says:

          “wont have a devastating fire season this year”

          we already have, are you stupid or what ? over two hundred houses lost and looking like running into costs over 100 million already

        • Bill Jamison says:

          And what’s the average for a year John?

        • Dr No says:

          BJ – all you do here is ask inane questions.

          If you need to keep asking, why not you grow up and enrol in a course on climate science. I assume you are old enough?

          Otherwise, your local library will have some good texts on the shelves.
          Ask your mother to take you there.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          Dr nobody it’s a valid question since John made the statement that this is already a year of devastating fires with 200 homes burned. Obviously previous years have seen 10 times that many burn so I’m just asking what an average year entails.

          Either this fire season – which has obviously only just started – is already a bad one based on annual averages or it’s not. Simple question really. Sorry it’s too complicated for you to understand.

      • john byatt says:

        “Today is actually the 10th anniversary of the largest fire in state history’

        What not in 1850 or 1920, only a decade ago? we are seeing this more and more hottest day on record beating last record in ( couple of years ago)

        • Bill Jamison says:

          Well now that you ask it’s likely that the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 was actually bigger. Since it was over 100 years ago there are no exact records of how many acres were burned so the Cedar Fire holds the record for largest in California history.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago_Canyon_Fire_of_1889

        • john byatt says:

          of course it could have been bigger without modern control measures,

          you are really struggling with this

        • Bill Jamison says:

          You asked “What not in 1850 or 1920, only a decade ago?” so I gave you the information you asked about. Now you complain.

          We had all of the modern firefighting equipment 10 years ago and that fire grew to over 120,000 acres (485 sq. km) in just 18 hours. Firefighting equipment and firefighters can only do so much when conditions are at their worst.

  10. john byatt says:

    those who keep claiming that the Australian bush needs these fires to germinate are ignorant, having germinated many including flannel flowers, some need smoke and some need quick hot fires not raging infernos that last for hours,
    i grew up in the royal national park area south of sydney, i remember one year, the biggest fire there in many decades, the seed pods were completely incinerated and it took many years for much of the bush to return, meanwhile the park was overrun with blown in weed species,

    • Bill Jamison says:

      So there were massive fires when you were a kid?

      • Nick says:

        Spare us the deliberate idiocy, Bill…. no-one said there have been no fires before, and no-one disputes that our worst fires [summer fires] have been huge and costly..

        The research shows we have introduced complicting factors ; extended fire-season, CO2 enhanced plant growth, increasing warm periods.

        If you cannot comment constructively, don’t bother. Keep your parallel reality separate from the real world.

    • J Giddeon says:

      This is quite true. The raging inferno is not the type of fire the Australian flora have evolved with. In the past the native humans burnt the bush quite regularly to encourage new growth and therefore attract prey. As such the massive fuel loads that now occur never eventuated. Over the millennia (40-60 of them it is claimed) plants evolved to reflect this yearly burning.

      In the early 1800′s, it was possible to drive a horse and cart from Hobart to Launceston even though there were no roads, but instead just open grass land and open wooded areas due to the regular burning. Now these areas are considered old-growth forest which the Greens are determined to protect.

      Equally, in the early in Sydney’s history, escaped cattle were found in a place that was named Cowpastures for obvious reasons. The open grasslands were maintained by yearly burning.

      • Nick says:

        Really, Gids, Aboriginal fire influence should not be overstated. And they have only been here for sixty thousand years. Aborigines were not fools, they avoided substantial areas as inferior hunting land because the energy return on energy invested was low. These areas were not regularly, or not often deliberately, burned.

        The shift ,or actually diversification, in the Australian flora to fire adapted predominance start tens of millions of years ago, with the continental drift of the continent north into drier warmer latitudes. The shift to sclerophylly and fire adapted propagation strategies is ancient and well-documented.

        Your anecdote about Tasmania is geographical nonsense: It is now mainly cleared grazing land between Hobart and Launceston, with only a little woodland.
        The old-growth forest is restricted to a slender north-south band in deeper, narrower, moister valleys in the mountains west of the Derwent Valley south to the Picton in the Huon, many kms west of the Hobart-Launceston line…and it is old, six hundred-eight hundred years, and the area was largely avoided by Aborigines as the terrain demands too much effort for reward.

      • Bernard J. says:

        In the early 1800′s, it was possible to drive a horse and cart from Hobart to Launceston even though there were no roads, but instead just open grass land and open wooded areas due to the regular burning. Now these areas are considered old-growth forest which the Greens are determined to protect.

        Eh?!

        What a load of utter crap. Please point to the forests in “these areas” between Hobart and Launceston that are “considered old-growth forest which the Greens are determined to protect”.

        Please.

        In fact, you can even throw in (with due acknowledgement) any and all old-growth forest which the Greens are not determined to protect.

        You’re being called out J Giddeon. Step to the podium.

        • Bernard J. says:

          Heh, and if I’d read further down I’d have seen that Nick has already pulled J Giddeon up on his crap.

          The questions stand though. J Giddeon can either answer, or avoid the questions and be seen to be making indefensible claims.

      • Nick says:

        The Aboriginal burning myth….more accurately, the exaggeration and oversimplification of the influence of human activity on plant ecology and distribution…Gids?

  11. Bill Jamison says:

    Are the current fires really any worse than past fires in Australia? From what I can find it looks like Australia has suffered from significantly worse fires in the past with many of the biggest being 30+ years ago.

    http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/worst-bush-fires-in-Australias-history.htm

    As far as the French revolution….some scientists attribute unusually cold winters as contributing to the famine (along with drought and hot summers) due to the extended eruption of Laki volcano in Iceland.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012JD018414/abstract

    • john byatt says:

      comparing past fires is not really an option when we now have dozens of aircraft dropping water ever 45 seconds, hundreds of units and thousand of fighters all coordinated from a major control centre ,

      of course in times past without such measures then fires may have been bigger or worse due to lack of these new resources,

      • Bill Jamison says:

        In that case I guess we shouldn’t worry too much if future temperatures are warmer since we have new technology such as air conditioning that we didn’t have in the past.

        • john byatt says:

          oops, did i end on on WUWT comments by mistake?

        • Debunker says:

          Bill, how is air-conditioning going to help with bush fires? Do your best to stay on topic. No wonder the ‘no personal insults’ policy is violated so often in your case, when you come out with pointless, asinine comments like that.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          So you think that we shouldn’t compare modern fires to historic fires – particularly size – because of modern technology available to fight fires?

          My point was simple, although you obviously missed it: if you want to claim that modern fires are the worst in history then we need to look at historic fires and try to draw conclusions. John tries to make the point that this comparison isn’t valid because of modern firefighting equipment. I disagree. Either recent fires are significant in a historical context and are related to a changing climate or they are just more large fires in a country that has a long history of devastating fires.

          So which is it?

        • Debunker says:

          No Bill, your point was so obscured by your idiotic reference to air conditioning that anyone would have missed what you were trying to get at. Don’t blame us for your poor communication skills.

        • Nick says:

          I think the thing here is not that we cannot compare the past and present, it’s that we cannot dispense with our brains before we do it, Bill.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          So Nick are you saying that John Byatt was wrong when he said “comparing past fires is not really an option”? If so then I agree with you.

        • Nick says:

          Bad faith elision of the rest of JB’s sentence…the part that provided caveat,conditionality and context. Way to go, Bill.

          You guys are apprentice Bolts…really a mediocre way to ‘argue’.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          John said you can’t compare fires today to those of the past because of modern firefighting. I disagree. I don’t see any cites of facts to back up that assertion either. Either you agree with him or you don’t. From you previous post you don’t appear to agree with him and yet when I ask you about it you refuse to answer.

          It’s a simple question.

        • Debunker says:

          The only objective measure would be a year by year comparison of acreage burnt, plus the frequency of serious fires (perhaps those above an agreed acreage), plus perhaps an objective comparison of the length of the fire season.

          I don’t know if anyone has ever done this, but since you guys are arguing about it, perhaps one of you guys should do it. Maybe you could then create a graph and if this correlates with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere… Bingo! There’s your answer.

        • Nick says:

          So what I gave you did not qualify as an answer, Bill? Just read the whole of JB’s answer, and comment on it as the whole. I mean, why would JB add all that other stuff if he just wanted to utterly rule out comparisons between past and present?

          And your remark that started this is just the Hunt Strawman Redux / Reflux.

          Past fires were indeed left to run in rural Australia. The ‘technology’ — beating and smothering– only allowed defense of a few structures at best. Bulldozing fire breaks didn’t turn up till post WW2, as ownership of machinery was limited.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          So fires were significantly worse in the past.

          Got it.

        • Peters says:

          If the air-conditioning is shut down because the power has been cut by the raging fire outside the back door….how is it going to make it better. Duuhhhh!

        • Nick says:

          Bill, please do not be obtuse. Stop trying to exclude all factors ina multi-factorial issue. You are now agreeing with JB that fires could be more extensive and frequent in the past because of low technological capability…. to which I’d add the forest estate was larger,and more of these fires were deliberately lit for landowners motives.

          This still happens: very dry winter spring up my way, and local landholders love to burn for some green pick. They also like to get in before the date deadline for requiring a fire permit is reached because it’s cheaper. So we had a moderate fire crisis from escaped burn-offs as people burnt off despite conditions being dangerous.

        • john byatt says:

          maybe builders etc could carry portable battery powered A/C on their back, it was just one of the trolls usual departures from reality.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          Nick if someone is trying to argue that fires are worse today than in the past then you can’t turn around and say fires in the past were worse because they didn’t have modern firefighting equipment to battle them. Either fires today are worse than in the past or they aren’t.

        • john byatt says:

          of course you can , you just do not do context

        • Bill Jamison says:

          So what you’re trying to claim John is that the modern fires would be worse than historic fires except for modern firefighting equipment and manpower. Which means there is no way to make a truly valid comparison.

          I could also make the claim that you can’t base the severity of fires on the number of homes lost since today there are many more homes in more dangerous fire-prone areas.

          Either fires today are worse or they aren’t.

    • zoot says:

      Note that William links to a list of the five worst bushfires in Australian history (as at 2011 – always up to date is our William).
      Note also that all of these fires occurred in February or at the end of January.
      Note that the current fires are occurring in October.
      Note the influence of climate change.

      • Bill Jamison says:

        Are there major fires missing from the list?

        • Sou says:

          Yes there are major fires missing from the list. The fires in the list Bill provided are listed by the number of human fatalities.

          It’s not just firefighting equipment that’s changed, it’s communication technology as well. Back in 1939 for example there were no mobile phones and no internet. People weren’t able to look up Sentinel to try to see how close the fires were.

          The list doesn’t include the Canberra fires which were unique by a number of measures including the ferocity of the firestorms. It doesn’t list fires by area burnt or the type of conditions. The number of big fires has increased in frequency as the climate has changed. Victoria has had several major fires since 2000 including huge areas burnt in 2003 (more than 1.3 million hectares), 2006 (which burnt more than 1 million hectares and lasted the longest in modern history) as well as 2009 – plus more. The record temperatures we’re getting these days don’t help. Hotter often means drier which means stuff burns more easily.

          I don’t know where you live, Bill. You’d have to live in Australia to appreciate the change in conditions here. Even then, if you live in a city you probably don’t appreciate the change in climate and what that means for fire conditions.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          The complaint was that the list only went up to 2011. If you have other lists please post them.

    • Chris O'Neill says:

      “it looks like Australia has suffered from significantly worse fires in the past”

      I think the claim is that the fires are the worst for this early in the season. I have no idea how you missed that part.

      • Rodger the Dodger says:

        “Chris O’Neill says:
        October 26, 2013 at 5:50 am
        I have no idea how you missed that part.”
        Bill is just another clueless climate zombie troll. It’s what climate zombie trolls do. It defines them. Motivated reasoning combined with sheer unbridled stupidity and persistent ignorance. Also I am not insulting him, I am just stating an observation.

        • john byatt says:

          “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical like money,” it says. “They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

      • Bill Jamison says:

        I don’t see anything in Mike’s blog post regarding the fires being the worst for early season. All he says is they are part a changing pattern. Is there a new pattern of large fires early in the season? Or is this year unusual? If it’s unusual then how can it be part of a pattern?

        • Chris O'Neill says:

          “I don’t see anything in Mike’s blog post regarding the fires being the worst for early season.”

          How about:

          “the extraordinary fires”

        • Bill Jamison says:

          Right, “the extraordinary fires” not “the extraordinary fires for October”.

      • Nick says:

        Hey, Gids, we’ve had a chat about fire in NSW [and Australia] before, and its seasonality varying with latitude. Either you do not learn, or you are determined to spin first.

        The highest risk for serious fire is the dry winter / spring season in northern News South Wales, and indeed north to Cape York and throughout northern Australia, as the heat builds the environment dries and the Monsoon awaits. Any schoolkid should know this.

        Any mention your link makes to spring fires north of Sydney’s latitude is just pointing out the climatic reality. Spring fires are NOT out of the ordinary in Rockhampton, or the Clarence Valley for instance, though they are usually human sourced, given the lower storm frequency.

        That leaves a few instances of serious spring fires Sydney and south. Yes, sometimes winter moisture fails at these latitudes, but serious fires are pretty uncommon. Quoting the article that your source, the notoriously deluded Trove-ophile Marc Hendrickx, seems to find so problematic:

        “As Anthony Clark, a spokesman for the Rural Fire Service, said, fires aren’t uncommon at this time of the year but ”it’s unusual to see fire burning with so much intensity so early”. My emphasis…for your information.

        ABCnewswatch–such a pretentious handle– just got fact checked.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          You’ve had a long hot summer followed by a warmer than usual winter. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the fire season is off to a unusually strong start. The question is whether that is due to weather or a changing climate. For example is it due to ENSO? Other climatological factors?

        • Nick says:

          Yes, that is the question. Other climatological factors include AGW’s influence. The science shows the drying, warming south-east [drying trend per decade], always fire prone in summer, is now a bit more fire prone.

          ‘Warmer than usual winter’…and much drier than usual as well throughout most of NSW, even the dry winter north. ‘Long hot summer’…with good moisture to boost plant growth,along with ACO2….and actually it’s been a warmer than usual twelve months plus…

          [Parts of the north of NSW are in drought despite a superficial look at rainfall stats: a very extensive rain event occurred in the first few days of July. IOW July was superficially better than average, but the rain all fell in the first week,and the drought has rolled out since with only one day of significant rain since]

          The issue is the COALitions framing: trying the strawman from the start: ‘There is a climate change link to this fire behavior’ was the claim–> ‘No, climate change does not cause fires, and Australia has always had fires’ ….Huh? But that is the level of misdirection Abbott and Hunt tried on! It’s that blatant. And they are deservedly getting their education in public for it.

        • J Giddeon says:

          Nick,

          Its probably a good idea to make sure you have a clue before going into full-on snide mode. Its very true that Rockhampton is north of Sydney but that is a relevant as saying Tokyo is north of Sydney.

          The articles referred in the link talk about fires on the North Coast, Mt Colah, Woy Woy. The North coast they refer to is Coffs Harbour and Nambucca. These places are ~400km north of Sydney – not quite on the outskirts of Rockie.
          Mt Colah and Woy Woy are on the Central Coast, less than 100km north of Sydney and on the same latitude as some of the current fires.

          “ABCnewswatch–such a pretentious handle– just got fact checked.”

          I suspect they’re not shaking in their boots just yet. Maybe when you get an atlas….

        • john byatt says:

          nick has it, you too are out of touch with the reality

          the facts

          http://tinyurl.com/mohdbhs

        • Nick says:

          ‘Have a clue’ yourself, Gids. Re-read your link: a substantial number of Hendrickx’s ‘gotchas’ are north of Sydney, and up the coast of Queensland in spring fire zones…including a mention a Rocky fire amongst others in Qld! You haven’t read the whole or followed link?

          Coffs Harbour and Nambucca are spring fire dominant zones. The scale and location of 1951 events are similar to the present. But they occurred in the 1951/2 El Nino, and we are not in one now! And he mentions a fire in the Northern Territory : the buildup to the monsoon. That’s truly irrelevant.

          1948′s dust storm? 1946-47 El Nino was severe in inland NSW and across northern Australia.

          Hendrickx would make a better argument if he excluded fires from spring fire dominant regions, and spoke about ENSO conditions. The fact that he doesn’t reveals he is not arguing in good faith. And his inclusion of small blazes around Woy Woy or Mona Vale is foolishly diversionary: these areas were semi-rural then, and fire fighting technology was almost non-existent. Careless ignition or arson in populated areas that generates a small fire does not give you much insight into climate at all.

          Hendrickx is off on the Gish gallop and pushing the Hunt Strawman… we have to clean up his mess. In the end he has a few analogies….and falls into line with current reporting.

          You are not very good at comprehension…perhaps re-read what I wrote, if it’s not too confronting, or ‘arrogant’ of me to suggest it!

        • J Giddeon says:

          Original claim – (paraphrase) fires of this magnitude are unprecedented in spring.

          Oh there were some major fires in spring in the same areas or at the same latitudes. Well that’s just diversionary. How dare someone refute the assertion.

          Ah, but the current weather conditions are different to the past weather conditions so they are unprecedented. And those past fires were “small”. Only 45 dwellings were destroyed in one of these small fires. As the evidence comes in to refute the original assertion the assertion is seamlessly changed.

          How long before we find out the current fires are unprecedented because more houses with blue rooves were burnt than ever before. Defend the assertion, irrespective of the facts.

        • john byatt says:

          you are arguing your own stupidity JG

          extreme weather in SE Australia which supports these catastrophic events has become more frequent over the last thirty years and the season is also extended which also means less time for hazard reduction

        • Nick says:

          Nobody has really refuted the claim made by local a bloke who fought the 1968 fires. He said this was worse. I’ve explained why the situations are less than perfect analogs. You’ve ignored that, or you don’t get it. The 1951 fires occurred during an intense El Nino, and no mention is made of the Blue Mountaains, while this situation has occurred in neutral conditions,with a higher mean temperature.

          You have brought nothing but Hendrickx’s Gish Gallop, and admit nothing, though you failed to read the link. So far it’s pointless engaging with you.

      • john byatt says:

        “scores of firemen”

        if we had nothing but scores of firemen to fight the NSW fires this week Sydney’s westernsuburbs would be a smouldering ruin

        we had dozens of water dropping aircraft in 45 minute drops
        hundreds of fire units many from interstate and literally thousands of fire fighters on the ground,

        we also have the undeniable facts

        http://tinyurl.com/mohdbhs

        i can remembering fighting fires as a child most of the blokes had nothing more than a wet bag

        comparing fires in the past with very little manpower etc to fight them and then claiming they were worse than now is just being plain ignorant of the reality of the amount of hazard reduction and modern methods used to make sure that they no longer are worse

        • Bill Jamison says:

          It’s good to hear you say that recent fires are “no longer are worse” than one in the past. That should make Aussies feel better knowing that fires aren’t as bad now as they used to be due to technological advances and modern firefighting equipment.

        • john byatt says:

          were you born stupid or have you had to work on it?

        • john byatt says:

          climate council report

          Fires

          australia has a long history of fire and already
          faces the regular risk of serious and extreme fire
          danger conditions. over the past decade large
          and uncontrollable fires destroyed 500 houses in
          canberra in 2003, bushfires in victoria in 2009 took
          173 lives and destroyed over 2,000 houses and in
          2013 large fires in tasmania destroyed nearly 200
          properties and forced the evacuation of hundreds of
          people from the tasman Peninsula. climate change
          can affect bushfire conditions by increasing the
          probability of extreme fire weather days. many parts
          of australia, including southern new south wales,
          victoria, tasmania and parts of south australia have
          seen an increase in extreme fire weather over the
          last 30 years. the projections for the future indicate
          a significant increase in dangerous fire weather for
          southeast australia.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          John they are your own words:

          “the reality of the amount of hazard reduction and modern methods used to make sure that they no longer are worse”

          You said “they no longer are worse” and that’s a good thing yet you seem to have an issue with it. For some reason you WANT the current fires to be worse than historic ones. Why is that? Why can you celebrate the idea that modern technology and regulations have reduced fire risk.

        • Bill Jamison says:

          ^^^ Should have read “Why can’t you celebrate the idea that modern technology and regulations have reduced fire risk?”

        • john byatt says:

          and has increased the cost and will further increase the cost, we were very lucky that the fires did not also occur in SA and Vic at the same time further stretching resources,

          you just wish the undeniable fact, that the climate is changing due to global warming and making extreme weather conditions more likely in this area would just go away,

          sadly due to the likes of you it won’t, so you place more people at risk and do not give a dam

          dark knight ” some people just want to see the world burn’

        • Bill Jamison says:

          I know the climate has changed and that warming can contribute to an increased risk of catastrophic fires. You’re the one that said that today’s fires “no longer are worse” than ones in the past thanks to modern equipment and firefighting. I happen to agree with you.

          According to the climate commission report the risk of extreme fire conditions has increased in some parts of Australia.

    • Debunker says:

      “After interviewing Hunt, the BBC spoke to Professor Roger Jones from Victoria University, who took the same history of disastrous Australian bushfires Abbott had listed to make his “it’s all part of the Australian experience” argument and pointed out how many years had elapsed between them.

      “Twenty-nine years, 14, 11, nine, six, four … you might detect a pattern in that in that the gap between the fires is getting shorter,” he noted”

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/24/bushfires-coalition-straw-man-against-burning-issue

      As I have previously noted, there is little point in arguing whether fires are more extreme now than 30 years ago. The important thing is the relative frequency of the really serious ones. Sure seems to be a link between AGW and bush fires when you look at it that way…..

    • Nick says:

      As I’ve said before, and has surely been the theme of many observers, the modern ‘conservative’ is in the business of constructing parallel realities….this is so far the legacy of a failed media colluding with genuinely disingenuous politicians. News Ltd’s active campaign, and Abbott’s journalism background and his life among and with spin doctors, has brought us to this imposition of a nonsense in place of truth.

      Abbott is looking more like a Putin or Kim in his willingness to push deceitful constructs. Shorten’s best policy is to laugh at him. Mock Abbott. We must all mock Abbott! For this latest gambit is built on an absurd lie. Dear Leader Abbott has unilaterally declared his first fifty days a success, despite the methodical dishonesty of his campaign becoming obvious, the heavy censorship of his colleagues, and the screaming corruption of the expenses scandal in which he is seriously mired.

      The political aim has been the demonisation of a ‘tax’, [really a narrowly imposed levy with a compensatory distribution]… enabled by a campaign of demonisation of taxation in general, and the casting of government as a predator on the fruits of labour by media stooges and party perception managers.

      Abbott is talking to his faithful in Hobart, next it’ll be dinner with the deluded swill of the News Ltd blogocracy….his parallel reality is harbored in a parallel society, the gated community of liars that has corrupted our countries public conversation.

    • Bernard J. says:

      John, there’s another very interesting implication from that story, that occurred to me when I heard it on the radio news this afternoon.

      Abbott is desperate – desperate – to force the Labor party into believing this guff that they must accept his “mandate” that the carbon tax be repealed. Abbott is doing so because he knows that he has no moral or scientific basis for removing a price on carbon, but if he can manoeuvre the Labor Party into capitulating he removes the pressure on the Coalition – in essence he is trying to force the Labor Party to cede the moral high ground.

      Not only is this a cynical and ethically depauperate gambit, it is a perversion of the polictical process. The people who voted for Labor (and those who voted for the Greens) did so mandating a price on carbon. This mandate is not removed by the Coalition gaining government – the Labor and Green Parties still represent the people who voted for them. Further, given that the Coalition and their media allies grievously misrepresented the science and the economics of a price on carbon, their mandate is tenuous at best.

      Further, it is logically fallacious to compare Shorten changing his mind on running for the Labor party leadership to the Labor Party changing their stance on a carbon price. The former is simply a change of a single person’s mind, whilst the latter is matter of extended discussion amongst politicians, the electorate, and scientific and economic experts.

      Tony Abbott and his cabinet of clowns are struggling now that they have scammed they way into government. They have no competence where it counts, no understanding or foresight that extends beyond the interests of their self-serving ideologies and of their industry chums. They are rapidly revealing themselves to be inadequate for the job and they’re flailing around trying to dupe the Australian public again, just as they did prior to the election. That electorate is certainly sufficiently pliant that the Coalition might pull it off long enough to do some serious damage, but at some point there will be a critical mass of awareness and they’ll be called to account for their mangling of the Australian political landscape.

      Let’s hope that when the time comes the damage can be repaired…

      • Nick says:

        Yes, they are barkingly, destructively mad

        “The carbon tax is socialism” Why stop there? “All taxation is socialism” logically follows. Abbott will no doubt take his insight to the world’s economic fora….

        Carbon taxes and pricings are the ordinary stuff of economics, but you wouldn’t think so listening to Abbott’s awful hyperbole. And without fear of hyperbole myself, I suggest the Coalition is providing some of the most destructive and venal ‘input’ into public discussion yet seen.

        • Bernard J. says:

          Nick.

          Indeed.

          Abbott, Hunt, and company keep on with the mantra that making Australians pay a carbon price will make “no difference” globally. Well, I am sure that my income taxes make “no difference” to the nation’s revenue, so I would like Abbott to remove my obligation to pay them.

          Really. After all, there’s a precedent for it – he’s going to remove the mining industry’s responsibility to pay tax on the profits they make from commonwealth/state-owned (= publically-owned) resources. If they can have a tax break, why can’t I?

          Now, I wonder what Abbott would say to my request that my income tax be scrapped?

      • zoot says:

        Bring on the double dissolution.

        • Bernard J. says:

          Zoot, you’ve reminded me of another point that I was going to make in my original post, and that is that according to Abbott he is going to have a compliant senate after July, in which case he hardly needs to worry about getting Labor’s cooperation. So why the urgency?

          And as you mention, there is always the option of a double dissolution if the senate doesn’t play nicely with him. Why is he not showing the DD bravado that he exhibited prior to the election?

          The answer is simple – he’s afraid that he will have his arse served to him on a platter.

        • Chris O'Neill says:

          “Why is he not showing the DD bravado that he exhibited prior to the election?”

          There is also the issue that instead of having 4 Palmer/Motoring Enthusiast Senators to deal with after the joint sitting, he will most likely have to deal with 8 or more of them.

        • john byatt says:

          The PUP senators on any vote about mining or carbon tax would be obliged to disclose their conflict of interest and abstain.

          Palmer still owes 6 million due carbon tax, so would probably benefit by that much per annum if tax is quashed.

          Abbott however needs every vote from PUP to pass the legislation.

          As long as Shorten keeps the troops in line , the tax will remain ( unless PUP senators reveal that they are corrupt to the whole nation

        • john byatt says:

          lets say that labor does hold the line and reject legislation

          PUP do declare conflict of interest and abstain

          DD trigger would not occur until October 2014

          Abbott would be obliged to call DD straight away no matter what polls were saying or look like he was running scared.

          no wonder he is trying to link the carbon price with socialism, of course it is idiotic but News ltd will be pushing the same line.

          of course if labor folds in the senate he will get his way but the labor vote will bleed to the greens in a big way,

        • J Giddeon says:

          I think Abbott is pretty comfortable with where the CO2 tax situation is. I’d suspect that he hopes Shorten holds the line all the way through to 30 june. There are two benefits for the Libs. One, they continue to gather the tax to help the budget bottom line while Electricity Bill gets the blame and (2) he can go to the next election with good evidence that the ALP will want to reintroduce the tax.

          In the meantime he’ll push to see if he can get it through this senate because, if the ALP caves it will cause divisions for years to come. Its win/win for Abbott all round.

          As to the new Senate, he doesn’t need PUP so long as they don’t vote against the repeal. If they abstain then the number required to pass will go from 39 to 37. that means Abbott will need four indi votes and he’s almost certain to get the DLP LDP, Family First and Motor vote. Xenophon would also be on side.

          If, on the other hand, he can’t get it through then its unlikely a DD could happen before 2015. As I understand it, any triggers he gets in the current senate will not count once the new senate is sworn in so he’d have to start again. If he gets the first rejection in say late July 2014, he then has to wait three months minimum to get the second, so late Sept. Any delays (eg send it off to a senate inquiry) would push it back to Oct/Nov and that means a Dec election at the earliest. But in reality Dec elections aren’t favoured, or Jan/Feb so we are back to Mar 2015. Plenty of time to save the world.

        • john byatt says:

          then of course the PUP could demand that abbott reimburse all taxes received back dated or vote against it, I am sure that Clive has a good handle on it.

          Xenaphon has stated that he wishes to see the replacement DAP before deciding

          others will have outrageous demands for their support

        • J Giddeon says:

          “then of course the PUP could demand that abbott reimburse all taxes received back dated or vote against it,”

          Yeah sure. How much would Abbott love that. An election where the ALP are promising to keep/reintroduce the tax and PUP were refusing to repeal it without the appropriate bribe.

          You’re living in a fantasy world. Even Palmer’s not that dumb.

        • john byatt says:

          ““then of course the PUP could demand that abbott reimburse all taxes received back dated or vote against it,”

          that is exactly palmer’s position.

        • john byatt says:

          I am sure the voters would love this

          Experts forecast Australia’s largest ­polluters could make windfall gains totalling up to $4 billion from the repeal of the carbon tax because the government will have to compensate them for free permits issued beyond the ­scheduled abolition date.
          plus palmers backdating

          Abbott would be running on axe the tax pat billions to the polluters

          fantasy world alright

        • john byatt says:

          I can see Palmer’s campaign now, backed by the polluters

          “abbott claims that the tax is socialism yet refuses to return the spoils of socialism”

          abbott has dug himself a huge hole on this and it will collapse on top of him

        • Chris O'Neill says:

          “If he gets the first rejection in say late July 2014″

          I don’t know what all this talk about 2014 is for. The DD is only proposed if the existing Senate rejects twice in the near future, i.e. well before July 2014.

        • Chris O'Neill says:

          “Xenophon would also be on side.”

          No. Not without a replacement scheme.

        • john byatt says:

          A DD using this senate would be met by a high court challenge as Abbott would effectively be denying those already elected to july 2014 a say on the matter,

          not really addressed in the constitution but court may rule to place DD on hold until resolved

      • J Giddeon says:

        “After all, there’s a precedent for it – he’s going to remove the mining industry’s responsibility to pay tax on the profits they make from commonwealth/state-owned (= publically-owned) resources. If they can have a tax break, why can’t I?”

        Want to rethink that Bernard?

        • john byatt says:

          for once, just for once state WTF your point is,

          stupid guessing games from this twit

        • J Giddeon says:

          My point was that B might want to rethink what he wrote since its wrong.

        • john byatt says:

          when you debate someone you make a point not just an unsubstantiated claim of being wrong

          you are moronic beyond belief, does your blow up wife know about this crap you write ?

        • Bernard J. says:

          Want to rethink that Bernard?

          Persuade me.

          After you’ve pointed out where the old-growth forest is between Hobart and Launceston, that the Greens are so determined to protect…

    • Martin Barr-David says:

      Shutdown Newscorp

  12. john byatt says:

    http://theconversation.com/what-firefighters-say-about-climate-change-19381

    You do not find many climate change sceptics on the end of [fire] hoses anymore… They are dealing with increasing numbers of fires, increasing rainfall events, increasing storm events. – A senior Victorian fire officer, interviewed in 2012 for a recent National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility report.

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