A less than usual election coming up

On October 15th the citizens of the Australian Capital Territory will go to the polls to elect their representatives, and through them their Government. No one much outside the ACT will pay much attention, but I do, since I live there and will be voting. Of course, the result, whatever it is, will be seen as a pointer to the next Federal election, and denied by the other side, dismissing it as simply local. But there are a number of reasons why those interested in politics at all should watch what is happening, because this one is not simply the usual poll.

The ACT has four-year fixed-term parliaments, so the date of the election is not subject to the caprice of the Chief Minister. There is no upper house, so the Legislative Assembly is supreme. The voting system is a form of proportional representation, and candidates are given even chances at the donkey voters through Robson rotation, where ballot papers are printed so that each candidate gets an equal share of each position on the list on the ballot paper.

The most interesting aspect of the election is that the Legislative Assembly has been enlarged to 25 members, so that the three multi-member seats returning, five, five and seven MLAs have been replaced by five new electorates, each returning five MLAs. That means that the whole shooting match has been changed almost completely. The system of proportional representation tends to produce a Legislative Assembly with almost equal representation from the major parties. Indeed the present Assembly, in which the Labor Government of Andrew Barr is now operating in caretaker mode, had eight Liberals, eight from the ALP, and one Green. The Green, who had been Speaker in the previous Assembly, is currently a Minister in a Labor-Green coalition.

If you turn three electorates into five you change all the boundaries, so the new electorates are  different, and have different names as well. Along with these changes has come a flurry of new candidates, as well as those whose names are known to us because they have been sitting MLAs. In our area the Liberals have been quick to advertise their standard-bearers, three of whom are young women (I speak as a 79-year-old) with impressive credentials. One is a former RAAF aviator, another is a budget officer in the Federal Department of Finance, and the third is a Korean/Australian woman who teaches law at the ANU. Someone letter-boxing for one of the Labor candidates said clearly and slowly to us that the candidate was not aligned to any faction and was not a union member! The local CFMEU has had some bad publicity in the past year or so.

So the field is wide open in some respects. At least ten of the to-be-elected MLAs will be new. The phrase ‘freedom of choice’ is floating around my mind. I don’t think I’ve had such an opportunity since the first election for the ACT Legislative Assembly back in March 1989, when four of those elected were opposed to self-government anyway. Tough. The Hawke Government had made the decision, and the ACT has had to live with ever since. I should say that most of the MLAs since then have been respectable, sensible people who take their work seriously. Without wishing to make invidious distinctions, I would think the quality of the ACT’s elected representatives has been at least on par with the best of those in the State Assemblies. (As with all jurisdictions, there have been a few lemons.)

What about the issues? Well, the Barr Government has committed itself to light rail (‘tram’) as the beginning of a long-term public transport solution to the large, sprawling city’s love affair with cars — Canberra was, of course, designed and built as cars became the most desired form of transport. The problem is that the first, expensive, line connects very few Canberrans with the city centre. The Barr  Government is also committed to paying for alternative energy (wind and solar, but mostly wind) by 2025 to the level that would equal the ACT’s total electricity consumption. This WILL NOT mean that Canberrans have no carbon footprint, or anything like that. Seventy-three per cent of ACT electricity will still be coming from coal, 13 per cent from natural gas, and nine percent from hydro. The Liberals have decided that they’re not going to contest this absurdity, mostly because a majority of Canberrans ‘believe’ in ‘climate change’.

Moreover, while  the Liberals think that the tram issue is decisive for them, they have added a major hospital building and renovation to show what they would do with the money not spent on the tram. Labor has announced that it will build an even bigger hospital, but not until after 2019 (it would not have the necessary money until then).

The Liberals have something of any image problem, which is the case with most oppositions, most of the time. But the Barr Government has one too. Labor has been in power now since 2001 and, as always happens with long-lived governments, its members have got used to power, and think life should always be like this. Around long-lived governments there grows a web of expectations. You want to talk to Minister So-and-so? Have a chat to X (not a staffer or an MLA), who’ll tell you if the Minister might be interested in what you want. There are brokers and fixers and useful contacts. In a recent case, the government looked as though it was listening too intently to a major developer who had ideas for a new stadium and some new residential development at Manuka Oval. That caused fury.

Then, only a few weeks ago, the Barr Government persuaded a former Liberal leader, Brendan Smyth, that he should leave the Assembly and accept a five-year $300k-a-year job as kind of business ambassador for the ACT. This little offer seems not to have gone through the usual channels, been advertised, or budgeted for, and seems also to have been accepted at once. Now Mr Smyth was a popular MLA, and probably worth a quota and a half at election time. Little moves like that do not smell of roses. I need to make clear that both sides have done that sort of thing in the past in order to reduce the popular vote of the other side. But this government has been in office for fifteen years, and I am beginning to hear again the ‘It’s time!’ whisper of 1972.

The ordinary assumption is that Labor and the Liberals would get twelve seats each, with one going to the Greens: that’s what PR ordains. But with so many new seats, much will depend on how attractive they seem to a somewhat weary electorate. The quota for election is that fraction of the vote which is one over one more than the number of seats to be filled, plus one vote. With five seats, that means a sixth plus one vote, or a quota of 16.67 per cent. I would not be surprised if some candidates other than the major parties and the Greens finally get up. We won’t know who all the candidates are for another week. Nor would I be surprised at any outcome in terms of the Government to be formed, when all the electoral dust has settled.

For my part, I hold to the view that long-lived governments are bad for democracy. I know the Chief Minister, like him, and think he has done a decent job. But it seems to me also that it would be better for everyone if the Labor Party had some time in Opposition. It is a great period in which to work out afresh what you really are for. As for the light rail, it is not an issue of importance for me. Maybe the Barr Government was right about that. None of us will know for twenty years. As I wrote in a piece for the local newspaper, making those decisions is what governments are for. Nor is the hospital proposal central for me. All our health systems, nationwide, are in stress. If the Liberals win and start work on the hospital, will they be able to find the necessary nurses and doctors? Will they be able to pay staff properly? Buildings are fine. But having them work well is much more important.

So, there’s more campaigning ahead for Canberra voters. But this time the outcome will be hard to pick.


Join the discussion 60 Comments

  • BB says:

    We are in debt already the light rail is to be had at a cost of $4000 for each of us to me that matters especially since it will serve only 3% of the population. To cancel that and turnaround to spend money on a hospital which I didn’t know was needed doesn’t really help. I am not against light rail but at the present time it seems stupid. Particularly since we spend a lot of money on roads and our bus service. There is not a good patronage for the buses and the seems no end to the expansion of the road system. This does not seem to me to be a transport system with a lot of thought. I am also a bit disturbed that we have 25 parliamentarians in a city of less than 400,000 people, it seems excessive.

    I know it seems to be acceptable to the general voter but to get into office and then decide on some madcap scheme does not to me. Generally this costs a lot of money which consequently places the taxpayer in debt. Personally I would like to see a government that promises to not spend any more than it is getting. I know it may be necessary for infrastructure that is an asset to all Canberrans but I would argue that such expenditure should not be entered into lightly. There is also penchant to get into the national arena for instance euthanasia I feel sure that the only reason Stanhope approved of that legislation was to confront the federal government of the time. There have been quite a few of these things our pollies should concern themselves with running Canberra at the cheapest cost possible.

  • Neville says:

    Don, you said this about the renewable energy promised by 2025.

    “The Barr Government is also committed to paying for alternative energy (wind and solar, but mostly wind) by 2025 to the level that would equal the ACT’s total electricity consumption. This WILL NOT mean that Canberrans have no carbon footprint, or anything like that. Seventy-three per cent of ACT electricity will still be coming from coal, 13 per cent from natural gas, and nine percent from hydro. The Liberals have decided that they’re not going to contest this absurdity, mostly because a majority of Canberrans ‘believe’ in ‘climate change’.”

    Doesn’t anyone challenge this absurdity and how much does this super expensive fairy tale cost? Your numbers for coal, gas and hydro add up to 95%, so how much more will Canberrans have to pay to have zero impact on the climate or temperature?

    • Chris Warren says:


      There is a trick with carbon accounting to avoid double counting.

      If the ACT uses only coal generated electricity from NSW then there are no carbon emissions from the ACT. They are all counted in NSW. So if coal based electricity is 73%, then this does not add to ACT carbon emissions. Similarly with concrete. Canberra is practically all concrete, but no concrete is made in the ACT – so again, zero carbon emissions for the ACT.

      I guess the main source of ACT emissions would be motor vehicles.

      Similarly if Australian coal is mined in Australia and we consume goods made with that coal, our emissions are also zero if the coal was used in China. It is counted as a Chinese emission.

      Electric vehicles made interstate would reduce ACT carbon emissions.

      • Neville says:

        Chris, Lomborg has covered the ” made in China and some of the products used by the west “years ago. But last time I looked the ACT was in the state of NSW and if they use fossil fuels to back up their clueless S&W they are still using that energy to run the economy.
        Perhaps the rest of OZ could all use this brilliant strategy to condemn Vic, or NSW for most of OZ’s co2 emissions? Perhaps every council could transfer the blame as well?
        Remember OZ’s co2 emissions add up to a whopping 1.3% of total human emissions But I’d like to know how much this duplication costs the ACT taxpayers for a guaranteed zero return on their investment. IOW no measurable change to temp at all.

  • alan moran says:

    Profligacy with the tram to nowhere, ambassadorial jobs for favoured sons and carbon-induced high energy costs say the present government has very little merit. But such a large swathe of voters are government employees that it would be a wonderful and unusual positive statement on the merits of democracy if they threw the ALP Green coalition out – even if the alternative is inevitably flawed.

  • bryan roberts says:

    “three of who”

    Three of whom. If you’re 79, you should know this.

  • PeterD says:

    You write, Don: “long-lived governments are bad for democracy”

    There is a perception in some parts of the community that Labor is a bit too cosy with developers and that this has developed over a long period in government; and that Labour is a bit too tricky in the way it has extracted Brendan from the political arena and has him embedded in the arm of government. Another point is that if Labor had gone to this election with a very clear mandate-seeking confirmation for light rail, it would have been a more consultative process.

    Other issues?:

    * Medium density housing has been occurring – many apartments etc – but look, too, at some of the ugly, ulcerous high-rise buildings – particularly in Belconnen – that are out of sync with reasonable design and healthy-city planning processes

    * The ‘tram’ as you call it is divisive and controversial. Rates are increasing and it will cost in the short term but many European cities have these light rail systems and in a longer terms sense, the investment may represent value

    * $30 levy for family violence paid for by all ratepayers: some might argue that we should not pay to support the victims of thuggish behaviour in our midst but the proposition that this is a community problem is based on certain values or ideology

    * Events at the Canberra Airport, the commencement of international flights to Singapore and Wellington etc, will bring benefits to Canberra but the role of local government – as distinct from Snow innovation and drive – or how the two work together- will be seen as a plus

    * Investment in solar, wind, ‘clean’ energy: this agenda is off and running and has been for some time; and for most Canberrans this will be recognised as a positive

    * Given the tight balance of power, the Greens have been able to extract significant gains in government programs and initiatives, not always justified by the economic benefits

    * The overall budget situation, the level of rates, the projected deficits: these are critical management issues but most voters tend to think of particular issues rather than the overall economic health of the government until it personally impacts on them in terms of very high rates

    * Canberrans are lucky to live in such a wonderful city but sometimes the rhetoric is unmatched by performance. I think, for instance, of Coles & Wooly shopping trollies in Belconnen, Macquarie etc littered around the streets despite ‘policy’ in this area. Aldi trollies rarely appear and to some extent Coles and Woolies escape with community vandalism in this area because they are too concerned about each other rather than the streets and values-driven leadership.

  • PeterE says:

    Thanks for a most interesting analysis. It is time, all right, but Canberra traditionally votes like Melbourne Ports. Can this change? Your revelation that only a tiny portion of ACT power comes from wind and solar will be news to the vast mass of the holy, rose-tinted spectacles citizens who ‘believe’. There is, as you say, a good chance that a number of ‘independents’ could get elected but only one political party can bring both change and a semblance of political unity and that is the Liberal Party. It is vital therefore to vote Liberal, even if through gritted teeth. In the still unlikely event that they are elected, a start could be made to seek modification of the insane renewable energy policies.

    • Alan Gould says:

      Nope, Peter,
      I’ve sent off several requests for clarification to the Liberal candidates who put leaflets in my letterbox on their intentions regarding spurious Climate Change alarm and silence has been the response, so my conclusion is that they are nerveless on the issue.
      I see the tram as money-waste and further uglification of a city that seeks to inflate itself without quite enough reason for such a metropolitan aspiration. I oppose the steady rise in rates when I see no actual benefits deriving from this tax on me. Corbell, blithely, told us how much extra we would pay in power bills as a result of his accelerating the renewable program ($400pa from memory) , so I want this depressing fellow chased from the field. Dismally Canberra seems to chase mediocrity in its development, as the lego high-rise masking the glorious panorama of the Brindabellas from City Hill amply illustrates. We were cleverer and lovelier when our population was 100,000, and our political arrangements were more modest.
      As with the Federal Election, and in full sorrow at my iconoclasm, I know what I want to vote DOWN, but have not yet found the candidate with substance I want to vote UP.

    • John Bromhead says:

      The time to reach the nominal 100% renewables is 2020. The ACT government has already awarded contracts for all the 600MW of wind farms and 40MW of solar necessary to reach the target. As Don points out, very little of this electricity will actually be used in Canberra and that the Liberals have decided to support the target. Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson justified taking this stand because the contracts were now in place. This would not have mattered.
      The ACT reaches a higher level of renewable electricity than the rest of Australia not because it has these contracts but because it will take the 2.3 million large-scale generation certificates these generators will produce and effectively tear them, thus removing them from Renewable Energy Target scheme. LGC’s currently cost $80 in the spot market. This high price is due to the fact that speculation is the target will not be met in 2020. If this happens the retailers will pay a tax effective penalty of $93 per certificate they are unable to hand to the Clean Energy Regulator.
      It would be simple for an ACT Liberal government to pass legislation to have some or all of these certificates sold to retailers thus making it easier for the target to be met and have the ACT supporting a more sensible level of renewable generation. The 600MW of wind farms being built but not contributing to met the RET only makes the target harder to reach. Because of the large amount of coal fired electricity which will be fed into the ACT the retailers will also have to buy 500,000 certificates and pass this cost on to their customers.

  • margaret says:

    “In our area the Liberals have been quick to advertise their standard-bearers, three of who are young women (I speak as a 79-year-old) with impressive credentials. One is a former RAAF aviator, another is a budget officer in the Federal Department of Finance, and the third is a Korean/Australian woman who teaches law at the ANU.”
    I’m not understanding the relevance to your age here.

    • Michael Cunningham says:

      Margaret, I think Don means young as seen from his aged perspective.

    • Don Aitkin says:


      For most of us, as we get older, ‘young’ and ‘old’ are relative to ourselves. If I were 30, the a ‘young woman’ would be somebody in her twenties. At my age a young woman is someone under fifty. I thought about it, and decided that it was important to make clear the point of reference. They are all ‘young’ but experienced, and so are many other women who are standing. I think four of my five votes will go to women candidates, not all for the one side.

      • margaret says:

        Maybe simply women is enough. I don’t think you’d have said ‘young men’. In fact one day I hope it will be enough to just say candidates.

        • margaret says:

          Also unlike you I consider young (in terms of adulthood), to be twenties and thirties, mature to be forties and fifties, maybe sixties (although I’m happy to call myself old with a kind of tongue in cheek) and old seventies and eighties, elderly from then on.
          However it’s preferable not to focus on age unless it is something extraordinary on either end of the scale. Look at baby Sam Dastyari (she says, … immediately realising she has given him a label).

        • Don Aitkin says:

          Maybe it is enough for you. I did think about it, as I wrote above. As you might infer from what I wrote, I am pleased that there are so many young women standing for election, and I intend to vote for them, too.

          I would indeed have said ‘young men’, for the same reason. As it happens, I still don’t know the candidates for my electorate. One man who I know is standing is approaching old age, and is a sitting MLA. Another I know nothing about yet.

      • margaret says:

        “I think four of my five votes will go to women candidates, not all for the one side.” I wonder if you and your age and gender cohort would vote for this woman.


  • Aert Driessen says:

    My logic follows closely that of PeterE and I would have voted Liberal but for what Alan has pointed out namely, that the Liberals have
    said nothing about ‘climate change’ and renewable energy — gutless. So I can only assume that they are not opposed to this nonsense. Hence I will be looking for a minor party candidate. The LDP looks OK for now. The most irresponsible, reckless, and childish thing that Labor has done is to lock in contracts for construction of the tram knowing full well that an alternative government would not proceed with it, and so close to the election. Don, a very informative piece, so thank you. You say that you like the Chief Minister but after reading this I wonder if he will still like you (if he ever did). You seem upbeat about the prospect for a change. I’m all for that — time for a change.

  • Malcolm says:

    The fundamental flaw in democracy is that it encourages politicians to increase taxes to buy votes. One way to counteract this in Australia is to encourage the states to compete with each other, and to do this we need to clearly see the comparative tax rates. This is a good project for think tanks.

  • JimboR says:

    “The Liberals have decided that they’re not going to contest this absurdity, mostly because a majority of Canberrans ‘believe’ in ‘climate change’.”

    Perhaps the majority of Liberals ‘believe’ in ‘climate change’ too? I can’t claim to know anything about ACT politics, so will bow to your local knowledge, but I’m curious as to why you’d think they’d be that different from the people they seek to represent. Federally, and in other states, the Liberals ‘believe’ in ‘climate change’ so why would ACT Liberals be different?

    Sure the Liberal Party has attracted a few vocal nutters, but which political party hasn’t? I don’t describe them as nutters for their views on ‘climate change’, although that certainly doesn’t help their case. Amongst Liberal pollies, there seems to be a very strong correlation (I reckon about 0.97) between disbelief in ‘climate change’, bizarre views on Islam, and an absolute conviction that Labrador puppies lie at the bottom of the slippery slope that is marriage equality. So when you consider all of that, their views on ‘climate change’ really are the least of their quirks.

    • Chris Warren says:


      The reason why most Canberrans recognise climate change as a crucial issue may be because Canberra has more graduates per capita than other jurisdictions. Consequently they have the training that gives them a greater capacity to resolve any real skepticism and alternative nutty views such as Andrew Bolt get less traction here.

      Also the Green’s seem to have a greater proportion of the local Parliament than elsewhere.

      There is little industry in Canberra dependent on fossil fuels so less motivation need to manipulate and confuse the local public.

      Although I am not aware of any survey that measures ACT views on climate change.

    • JimboR says:

      “…more graduates per capita than other jurisdictions. Consequently they have the training that gives them a greater capacity to resolve any real skepticism”

      An interesting theory Chris, and I daresay you could be onto something. Although as a counterpoint, Don has more degrees than a thermometer and it doesn’t seem to have helped him.

      • spangled drongo says:

        “…more graduates per capita than other jurisdictions. Consequently they have the training that gives them a greater capacity to resolve any real skepticism”

        Jimbo and Chris are convinced that well educated Canberrans are so aware of this big problem of non-existent warming:


        But in spite of one third of all ACO2 emissions in the last 20 years, guess what?

        NO WARMING.

        “More BRAINWASHED graduates per capita……”


        • Chris Warren says:

          spangled drongo

          That was an interesting UAH Chart . It shows, for Australia, a rising sinusoidal tendency from around -0.25 (left had side) to +0.25 (right hand side.

          So you have spotted a rise, over some 33 years, of a half degree in the middle latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere.

          It is a pity you did not link to the actual data.

          • spangled drongo says:

            I have also “spotted” nothing happening for 20 years during which time one third of all human emissions have occurred.

            I have also “spotted” much greater than this current warming many times during the Holocene, prior to increased ACO2 emissions.

            If you are in such denial of these facts then your scientific processes are just not working for you.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Professor Lewandowsky would be proud of your correlation there, but you forgot to add ‘moon landing was a hoax’.

      If you search in the website you’ll find a reference to the opinion survey that was carried out for the ACT Government on climate change, and from memory something like 70 per cent of respondents seemed to be in the ‘believer’ category. No, I’m not giving you the link — that would be self-referencing…

      • JimboR says:

        I’m happy to accept your 70%. I’m more interested in why you think the ACT Liberals know better, although I’m now wondering if I’ve mis-interpreted the sentence I quoted above. I interpreted it as:

        “The Liberals have decided that they’re not going to contest this absurdity, mostly because a majority of Canberrans ‘believe’ in ‘climate change’.”…. (and the Liberals don’t want to get offside with them).

        But perhaps you intended:

        “The Liberals have decided that they’re not going to contest this absurdity, mostly because (like the) majority of Canberrans (they too) ‘believe’ in ‘climate change’.”.

        • Neville says:

          Well Jimbo I’ve spent a lot of time trying to show why I too believe in NATURAL climate change. There are heaps of PR studies to back up my claims and I even accept some small forcing from AGW since 1950.
          But there are all sorts of problems when people try and tell fibs and exaggerate that warming. There has been no statistically significant global warming using the UAH version 6 data for 23 years.
          And real observations from PR studies show that there has been a slowing of Glacier retreat since 1950. Also there has been an increase in coastal land using satellite data over the last 30 years. In addition NOAA data shows the same SLR rate now that has been measured since 1900., That’s about 2mm/ year or about 8 inches/century.
          But please tell us how we can make a difference and tell Dr Jim Hansen as well, because he thinks Paris COP 21 is just BS and fra-d.

          • Chris Warren says:


            Why would you use just 23 years of data when we have data from Dec 1978, particularly when there is a sinusoidal trend.

            Did you do your own analysis or just copy some elses.

            When I analysed your UAH data for the full data set, your conclusion is false.

  • Neville says:

    Chris the full UAH V 6 data set ( nearly 38 years) shows a little over 1 c / century warming or at the very low end of ECS modelling. But there is also a much reduced trend since June 1998.
    You can claim to know why, but there are many claims in the media about this, like a change to a cool PDO, reduced solar forcing etc. Who knows? But there is very little warming since that time and Ken Stewart has found a reduced trend of about 0.18 c/century. That’s including the August data.
    You may not like it, but that’s your problem not mine. And you have no better understanding about the next 30 , 50 or 100 years than anyone else . But if we have a la nina over the next year or so there would normally be some cooling expected. Who knows?
    But I’ve also linked to real observations like Leclercq’s world glacier study and NOAA’s SLs that don’t support any impact from so called CAGW. And add on the latest satellite observations that also show the increase in coastal land around the planet.
    BTW we’ve just had a wetter than normal winter over SE OZ and up the east coast. Certainly the extra rainfall over the SE is attributed to the negative IOD that I linked to months ago. Even the ABC , TV channels and the BOM have noted this in their reports. Yet we’ve just had the strongest el nino since 1998. It just shows how natural variability can change the equation in just a few months. So let’s not be too certain that we have all the answers, because we don’t.

    • Chris Warren says:


      The over 1 C per century warming is significant particularly when you look at the difference between the northern hemisphere (with high CO2 ) and the southern hemisphere (with low CO2).

      Remember too, that the troposphere temperature result is the result of huge buffering through heating of the oceans and melting of ice. So the real significant data is the cooling at 40 km into the stratosphere.

  • JMO says:

    In my past I invariably voted Labor (sometimes even Green!) – but not this time. I have had a gut full from these regressives (no there are NOT progressives) . With their identity politics, guilt driven policies, climate cassandra extravagance, homosexual marriage, forced to pay domestic violence levy in my rates which have skyrocketed over the last few years. I HAVE HAD IT with Labor and Greens.

    To them a sa 63 year old, raised 3 kids in a heterosexual relationship I am scum and the cause of many problems today. If I say anything slightly to the contrary I am a dinosaur, misogynist, climate denier, homophobic, Islamophobic, selfish baby boomer, ignoramus, stupid … the list goes on. I am expected to agree, respect and most important, fund, any crack pot, PC or plain idiotic idea to support windmills, whales or wombats. I am voting any party who does not support the tram and who gets stuck in to the regressives.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Don, if Canberra [and the rest of the country] only had more like Malcolm…..

    Malcolm Roberts does it in style:

    ‘John Cleese said recently, “I would like 2016 to be the year that people remember that science is a method of investigation and not a belief system.”‘

    If only:

  • JimboR says:

    It turns out the physics is a whole lot simpler than any of us realised, as revealed in the Senate yesterday:

    “It is basic. The sun warms the earth’s surface. The surface, by contact, warms the moving, circulating atmosphere. That means the atmosphere cools the surface. How then can the atmosphere warm it? It cannot. That is why their computer models are wrong.”

    I can see climate scientists slapping their collective world-wide foreheads this morning…. “Doh! Why didn’t we think of that”.

  • Chris Warren says:

    spangled drongo

    Interesting link to a youtube video.

    It demonstrates that sometimes strange democratic elections throw-up real nutters and even one or two extreme climate denialists from the fossil fuel industry.

    I saw a lot of discomfort on the faces of the rest of the Senate as one crazy statement flowed into another. This half-baked Senator even tried to say:

    “… the Bureau of Meteorology, … has manipulated cooling trends into false warming trends. ”

    Is this the level denialists must descend to, to self-validate their own religion?

    • spangled drongo says:

      “… the Bureau of Meteorology, … has manipulated cooling trends into false warming trends. ”

      That couldn’t possibly be right, could it, Chris?

      Why don’t you simply check Brisbane?

      There are two stations that the BoM quotes for Brisbane; Brisbane Regional Office No. 040214, and Brisbane No.040913. Regional Office has been closed for 22 years and was up on the Terrace, 30 m higher than the current Brisbane site and because of understandable differences [like being in an elevated position and away from dense development, particularly in those days] it registered lower mean temps than the current site.

      But it doesn’t exist anymore.

      Nevertheless BoM still list it and give these old averages from this site as though it is current and our ABC quotes them against the daily readings as being the expected norm.

      If that’s not cooking the books, tell me what is?

      And if you don’t believe there is plenty more of this fakery at the bakery, you are not only a foolish innocent, you are in foolish denial.

      • Chris Warren says:

        spangled drongo

        Didn’t you notice that the nutter-in-the-Senate was not talking about Brisbane?

        • spangled drongo says:

          Why would he need to be specific?

          This is precisely his and my point. That you true believers just don’t get.

          It’s ubiquitous!

          And “science” is pushing this unaudited barrow and lining their pockets at everyone’s expense.

          With an evidence-free “consensus”, courtesy of [95% wrong] GCMs to support it.

          When it is so obvious from such casual scrutiny that they appear to have an attitude of such advocacy, please tell me why you think the BoM shouldn’t be audited?

      • JimboR says:

        “There are two stations that the BoM quotes for Brisbane; Brisbane Regional Office No. 040214, and Brisbane No.040913.”

        Actually, they’re both in Kangaroo Point….. the old on the cliff tops, and the new one in Raymond Park.

  • Neville says:

    Here is the BOM’s “Head of Climate Analysis David Jones” in 2008 and now in 2016.
    Wash-out: warmist Bureau’s drought prediction fail
    Herald Sun
    September 14, 2016 6:49am

    Floods? Near-record rainfall? I’d like the head of climate predictions at the Bureau of Meteorology to explain why his 2008 prediction of a “new climate” of drought turned out so wrong. And they wonder why thoughtful people are sceptical? Thanks to Andrew Bolt.


    IT MAY be time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent, one of the nation’s most senior weather experts warned yesterday.

    “Perhaps we should call it our new climate,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate analysis, David Jones.


    Winter was Australia’s second wettest on record – just missing out on a new high by a couple of millimetres, leaving many regions already sodden.

    “It’s about as wet as it has been in the past 110 years [of records] across Australia,” David Jones, head of climate predictions at the Bureau of Meteorology, said.

    Here’s Bolt’s link. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/washout-warmist-bureaus-drought-prediction-fail/news-story/d3a9c8dff77c70ecfb8e9d2f261390e8

    • Chris Warren says:


      You have confused weather with climate.

      You can get wet weather in a dry climate, and you can get drought weather in a wet climate.

      Weather and climate are two different things and the future disruption to our climate cannot be predicted with certainty.

      Please email your informant – Andrew Bolt – with these facts.

      • spangled drongo says:

        It is you, Chris that is confused about weather and climate.

        I am forever trying to get you to look at the big picture but you cherry pick away to make your pointlessness.

        Here is the bigger picture on our national rainfall for as far back as I can find. And it doesn’t even include the latest wet weather.

        So it just proves Bolt’s point and what dummies our climate experts like Flannery et al are.

        Or is that, like you, Chris, they just change their tune to suit the weather:


        • Chris Warren says:

          spangled drongo

          Yes a perfectly useful tool. CO2 warms the planet so, in terms of temperature, it shows exactly what I expect for thew middle latitudes of the southern hemisphere.

          I don’t know why you are talking about rainfall – this has nothing to do with me.

          The science w.r.t. to regional rainfall is not settled although I note that the period when CO2 was high (from 1970) was significantly drier than the period from when CO2 was low (from 1900).

          This is to be expected if CO2 “big picture” predictions are correct..

          Please do not false allegations about cherry-picking.

          When I set the graph to mean temperature I was shocked to find that since 1970 much of Australia is warming at over 0.15C per decade and it is even worse over the Snowy Mountains.

          I suspect that any trend over this period would average out any short-term fluctuations due to the Southern Oscillation Index.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “I don’t know why you are talking about rainfall – this has nothing to do with me.”

            Why then did you infer that Bolt’s comment about the flawed BoM rainfall predictions were not factual?

            And even though you don’t get it, that BoM map shows, overall, the continent has had consistent rainfall for over a century and a slight increase if you added the latest data.

            And the ’70s was the wettest period, not the driest:


            So, Chris, even your cherry picking is letting you down. You’re all at sea.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Spangled drongo

    You are getting bogged down in weather.
    Weather is not climate.
    Australia is not global.

    Sensible people do not substitute Australian weather for global climate.

    The regional impact of global warming on regional weather is unpredictable. Why did you pick the period which had the strongest El Nina on record? Why did you not mention the BoM’s advice that during the 70’s there was

    “… perhaps the longest sustained period of La Niña conditions in the instrumental record,”

    And that:

    “this strong La Niña had a strong effect on Australia, with excessive rainfall over much of the country. For the period from June 1973 until March 1976 , rainfall was above average over virtually the entire country, with more than half of the area east of WA recording its highest rainfall on record for this particular 34-month period. The particularly impressive feature of the rainfall during this period was the complete lack of significant dry periods; only two short periods are worth noting – June to July 1974 and May to June 1975. With an area-average of 760 mm, 1974 was Australia’s wettest year on record, while 1973 (651 mm) and 1975 (602 mm) were third and fifth wettest respectively. ”

    Why did you switch from the BoM “big picture” map to “little picture” 1970’s now make even more mistakes.

    However we can predict that temperatures in the stratosphere will continue to fall thereby providing definitive proof that heat is being trapped in the troposphere.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Chris, you seem to be in denial of your recent statements:

    “I note that the period when CO2 was high (from 1970) was significantly drier than the period from when CO2 was low (from 1900).”

    I showed you that your cherry picking here was wrong and that the ’70s were the wettest.

    “I was shocked to find that since 1970 much of Australia is warming at over 0.15C per decade”

    1979 to 1998 to be precise and that is just extreme cherry picking as the world has warmed at much greater rates, for longer periods, many more times, during the Holocene when there was absolutely NO ACO2 influence.

    You were the one who selected the little picture over the big picture.

    • Chris Warren says:

      spangled drongo

      What little picture. I never picked a little picture.

      Your “1970’s” is a little picture. My period “from the 1970’s” is big picture and when combined with my “period from 1900” it is a very big picture.

      You are looking at a SOI Australian weather event – not a global climate event.

  • spangled drongo says:

    ” My period “from the 1970’s” is big picture and when combined with my “period from 1900” it is a very big picture.”

    But you still got it wrong.

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