Why won’t clever people like John Menadue look hard at the global warming scare?

John Menadue is a most distinguished former public servant who was, among other things, the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for both Gough Whitlam and Malcom Fraser, the CEO of Qantas, and our Ambassador to Japan. He knows a lot about health schemes, and he runs his own website. With Mike Keating, another former head of PM&C, and a no less able man, he has prepared a set of essays on policy reform. He has a blind spot: he seems to be a ‘believer’ in ‘climate change’. I know him and like him, and indeed used to write essays for him when he ran ‘New Matilda’ ten years or so ago.

The other day I read one of his essays, and felt I had to respond. What follows is a slightly expanded version of what I wrote there, and it has all the proper links.

When you move into the ‘climate change’ domain, John,  your perspective shifts from the hard-nosed to hand-waving. Have you ever looked at any of the critiques of the global warming orthodoxy? You want ‘a sensible discussion on climate change and carbon pollution’. You can’t have one on ‘carbon pollution’, notwithstanding that it is in the title of an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament. ‘Carbon pollution’ is an example of scientific illiteracy: there is no such thing. What you are talking about is ‘carbon dioxide’, the basis of plant life, and therefore of our own. If it really is a pollutant, plants and animals haven’t been told.

Surely a ‘sensible discussion’ would start with the case for and then the case against the notion that CO2 accumulations are leading towards danger or some kind of catastrophe. The case for is built on (i) the recognition that a doubling of CO2 will, all other things being equal, produce an increase in temperature of about 1.1 degrees C, (ii) the proposition that ‘climate sensitivity’ will multiply that increase by much more — conventionally 3 times, and (iii) the output of global circulation models (GCMs) that propose floods, droughts and other unpleasant weather events becoming more frequent in consequence. Solution: reduce carbon dioxide accumulations by shifting towards sources of energy that do not involve the burning of fossil fuels.

The case against is no less straightforward. Yes, there has been an increase in global temperature over the past century of about 0.7 degrees C, and that increase has occurred as carbon dioxide accumulations have also increased. But temperature has increased in fits and starts, while CO2 appears to have gone up in a very steady way. There are factors of natural variability in temperature which also have effects on temperature. Alas, we don’t know exactly what they are. There has been very little warming in the last twenty years, but a considerable increase in CO2. No one knows what ‘climate sensitivity’ is. Inasmuch as one can observe it, it seems to be very little different from zero. The GCMs have been woeful in predicting the course of global temperature, and one reason, very likely, is that they have built into them much higher levels of ‘forcing’ for CO2 than the gas actually possesses. Outcomes? The warming and higher CO2 levels of the last hundred years have helped to produce much higher levels of agricultural and pastoral production on the same or less land, and a perceptible greening of the biosphere. Why is all this a problem? What should we do about ‘climate change’? Adapt to it. There will be floods and droughts again. Be ready for them.

You say that a carbon tax and an ETS are not the same thing, and that is true. But their effects are the same — an increase to the cost of energy, an increase that falls on the poorer more significantly than on the comfortably off. Doesn’t that have to be spelled out? If there is to be some kind of compensation for the poorer in society, than what we will have is another tax that falls more heavily on those better off — i.e. an income tax. Why not just increase income tax? But what is the point of all this? Why, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and thus global temperature. Are you aware that even if Australia stopped all production and all transport tomorrow, there would be no discernible change in global temperature even by 2050? And that would be true even if it were the USA that ceased all production? So why, again, are we doing this?

You say ‘Almost every reputable economist believes that a market mechanism like an emissions trading scheme is the best way to reduce carbon pollution.’ I shake my head again at that ignorant phrase, but how many of them have actually looked at the ‘challenge’ of global warming? Ross Garnaut didn’t, and said so. It was all too hard for him. Rubbish! None of it is very hard, for him, for you or for me. The basic science is accessible, but so many commentators refuse to look at it. They happily accept what they are told is the ‘settled science’.

You object to Tony Abbott’s ‘stepping up his attacks on renewable energy’. Have you any idea at all about the difficulties of renewable energy as contributions to grid power? Bill Shorten wants to have 50 per cent of grid power by 2030 from renewable energy. Do you think this feasible? If you do, please explain how it would happen. I’ve written about these matters on my website, and no one has faulted me yet for gross inaccuracies. It is simply impossible — worse, deeply ignorant. Why won’t you, and people like Shorten, actually look at what is proposed and how it might happen, instead of simply hand-waving about greenhouse gas emissions?

You say ‘The public wants something better in public discussion on climate change.’ I agree. The public would like some serious discussions about whether or not there is a problem, and if there is, what sort of problem it is, and what might be done about it. On the face of it, global warming is presently a public good, and there is no hard evidence to the contrary. What we have is scare-mongering, and with posts like this you contribute to it. Why don’t you use your considerable talents and acumen to look hard at this bogeyman? I think you would change your perspective if you did.

And it is not true that 97 per cent of climate scientists think there is a real scare, or that the learned academies around the world do either. The 97 per cent figure comes from four pieces of work none of which passes a decent smell test. I have written about all those papers on my website, and they are in my former field of expertise. You can also read a good demolition of one of them here. while only the executives of the learned academies have issued statements. The last one from the AAS was actually prepared by a group most of whose members are not Fellows, and all of whom are ‘believers’.

It is impossible to get any kind of serious or balanced view of the AGW scare, especially while people like yourself go on repeating the thought-cliches that pass for discussion. We can do much better than this, and you can, too.

I will use this response to you as the basis for an essay on my own website, and that will have links to relevant papers. I’ll add the link when it is done. I’m happy to debate the issues here on your website, whichever you prefer.

Join the discussion 73 Comments

  • Alan Gould says:

    First-rate shooting, Gunner Aitken! Your sights are most finely tuned, your ‘piece’ flawlessly rifled, your ammunition judiciously chosen for the job in hand. Accept a promotion to Bombadier First class!

  • handjive says:

    Here is a good debate.

    One enviro side wants a neutral-free tax, the other want to keep the money:

    Carbon-tax initiative divides environmentalists

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/carbon-tax-initiative-divides-environmentalists/

    • Aert Driessen says:

      I would prefer that this debate continues on the topic of whether or not CO2 if harmful rather than on how we adjust our tax system as a response (to what?).

  • whyisitso says:

    I went in to his website and found the article you are referring to. There appear to be no comments. Was your response meant to be a comment, or was it a personal response to Mr Menadue by email?

    • Don Aitkin says:

      I’m afraid that my long reply disappeared into moderation, and has not returned. But I’ll add a link to this post

      • Don Aitkin says:

        Whyisitso:

        Yes, my comment has disappeared, so i added this one:

        ‘Don Aitkin

        just now

        Your comment is awaiting moderation.

        John,

        My long comment seems to have disappeared into moderation. Is it to reappear? I wrote an expanded version of it on my website, at
        http://donaitkin.com/why-wont-clever-people-like-john-menadue-look-hard-at-the-global-warming-scare/

        There have been a dozen or so comments. Perhaps you would like to add one. I’ve offered to debate the questions with you here or there. What about it?

        Don

        • whyisitso says:

          Don, like a lot of far-left bloggers, John Menadue doesn’t tolerate opposing views on his website. His remark that you should use your own blog simply confirms this. I was banned from commenting on his site long ago for a non-offensive but disagreeing comment to one of his main contributors.

          To him, you’re a denialist, and therefore immoral (heretical).

          • Don Aitkin says:

            I really sorry to hear this. I have seen what he has written, and have responded like this:

            Don Aitkin replied:

            just now

            Your comment is awaiting moderation.

            OK. When can I expect a contribution to the discussion?

            Cheers,

            Don

  • Doug Hurst says:

    Very well said, Don, but sad you have to say it to so many who have not taken the trouble to check the facts. The press reaction to Bill Shorten’s 50% RET is indicative, with the large majority judging it ‘bold’, ‘a clever initiative’ etc and only a handful understanding it is impossible to do with solar and wind. Michael Asten, of Monash University (where I believe he is a Professor of Earth Sciences or something similar), in a letter to the Australian today, provides further proof for a previous comment ‘regarding instability of a power grid when wind-solar power is above 20%”.

    He ends by saying that: ‘If Victoria decommissions two of its coal-fired power stations, then SA and Victoria will suffer outages when the wind doesn’t blow.’ Maybe that will have to happen before folks here in the ACT finally realise that on still, cold nights, they are not sitting shivering in the dark because someone, somewhere, is burning fossil fuel, and their dreams of a wind-solar future without coal and gas are a fantasy.

  • David says:

    Don,
    Thanks for this post. As I read, I could see all your now very familiar arguments and errors. And then I saw a new error. 🙂

    As an alternative to an ETS or Carbon Tax you asked; [w]hy not just increase income tax?

    The answer is that income tax does not provide an incentive to substitute energy consumption with a high CO2 emission for energy consumption with low CO2 emission.

    Hope this helps.

    • JimboR says:

      I guess price signals only work when you’re trying to discourage pensioners from going to the doctor. Who knew they were filling in their lonely bored days by hanging out at their local GP?

      Here’s an example of just how responsive generators can be to input price signals:

      http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/2/6/energy-markets/swanbank-shut-down-swan-song-gas

      I guess once you’ve decided there’s no point in reducing CO2 emissions, there’s not much point investing academic rigor in analysing which methods work best.

      • David says:

        Jimbo,

        I get the sense that your are disagreeing with me. I would respond, but your comment is incoherent.

        • Margaret says:

          David while others fade away you keep chipping away with a sharp chisel and you have a sense of humour, thank goodness.

          • Dasher says:

            David and Margaret ….. Are you disagreeing with the thrust of Don’s essay, if so what is your main concern?

          • David says:

            Dasher, see above.

            A carbon tax with some mechanism to compensate the poor is not equivalent to an income tax, as Don suggests.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            He didn’t. See above.

          • David says:

            “You say that a carbon tax and an ETS are not the same thing, and that is true. But their effects are the same — an increase to the cost of energy, an increase that falls on the poorer more significantly than on the comfortably off. Doesn’t that have to be spelled out? If there is to be some kind of compensation for the poorer in society, than what we will have is another tax that falls more heavily on those better off — i.e. an income tax. Why not just increase income tax? ”

            OK, explain yourself. 🙂

          • David says:

            OK Don I see your comment above, thanks

          • Dasher says:

            David and Margaret ..its not just that…we are spending massive amounts of money on initiatives that don’t fix the problem…how many windmills should we build? how many acres of solar farms will make a difference? What is the opportunity cost of all this…precautionary principle? OK I buy insurance for my car and if it is smashed I can get it fixed or replaced..worth doing. If I spend obscene amounts of money on wind farms and solar that will make NO difference to the climate where’s the value…a start you say, OK how much should I spend to make the difference needed? I know we could shut down the US and Australia and the climate would not flicker up or down..just give me something to hang onto before we do this stuff!!

          • Margaret says:

            David and I are not a tag team or a minor party. He knows more about the science than I ever shall. I’m just more philosophically aligned with his comments. Even if it would take one thousand years and I and my descendants are long departed I would prefer to ‘waste’ money on forward thinking for humanity than spend on weaponry for example.

          • Dasher says:

            Margaret, The point is that you may be spending massive amounts of money to achieve absolutely nothing. I am a doubting Thomas and I want to know the truth before I squander taxpayers money…don’t you?Bjorn Lomborg has some interesting views on this and I note that Flinders University is the second institution of excellence in this country that is trying to shut him up…what an indictment of the institutions and a now typical response by the warmest zealots…a medieval mindset if there ever was one..are these your cohorts? The whole point of Don’s essay is to point out that feel good initiatives can actually work against your admirable aspirations. Lets hear from you and David in general terms where Don is wrong.

          • David says:

            His analysis is primarily based on cherry picking.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Come on, you can do better than that! Find some errors. Don’t hand wave.

          • David says:

            “There has been very little warming in the last twenty years, but a considerable increase in CO2.”

            If you simply point to “perceived” fluctuations in the data,and ascribe meaning to them, without identifying some causal process, that is called cherry picking.

          • Dasher says:

            I am a person with a thirst to understand this…the lack of warming over the past 20 years was not expected….yes the temperature has increased but the increase is so flat (noting the increase in Co2 emissions) that it was a surprise…can you tell me why this is so? Is it in the oceans or under the bed…with the reds?

          • Don Aitkin says:

            No. Maybe you can find a definition that fits that meaning. But as I understand it, cherry-picking is starting a trend line at a point and finishing it at another point, in a way that suits your argument, but which has no other real validity.

          • David says:

            Yes, that’s what you do, imo. 🙂 .

          • Dasher says:

            Pathetic

          • David says:

            I give this comment 31/2 stars, what do you think Margaret ? 🙂

          • Margaret says:

            It’s a comment that asks a lot of questions David – I can’t agree with you, although I do sense the frustration and the passion coming through in this commenter – 2 1/2 from me.

          • Margaret says:

            David it wouldn’t be the first thing that money has been thrown at – space exploration, nuclear missiles, useless maintenance of detention centres instead of spending the same amount on actually resettling the asylum seekers. Just a few examples that I find less worthy.

          • Margaret says:

            Apologies there, Dasher not David.

          • Dasher says:

            Margaret you are entitled to you opinions but I find your counter argument a tad strange ..there are clear reasons for spending on all the examples you cite which you may not agree with but it is a bit distance from the discussion at hand..are you saying its a question of relative wastage? Makes me think you do think it is a waste of money but waste you can live with.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            I think it’s John Menadue that has to spell it out — it’s certainly true that the mechanisms are different, but they are surely alternative ways of getting us to prefer alternative energy sources even though they are more expensive. For the rest, I think I have answered it elsewhere here.

          • David says:

            Your welcome 🙂

      • David says:

        JimboR, I owe you an apology.

        Having now read your other comments, I can see now that I misinterpreted your meaning.

    • dlb says:

      I took Don’s question about increasing income tax to be rhetorical as he forthwith asks “what is the point of all this?” (ETS & carbon taxes) but “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and thus global temperature”
      Either you misunderstood what he said, or you are engaging in petty point scoring?

    • Don Aitkin says:

      I’m sorry that I am so predictable, David. But in fact, I have argued that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will not make a discernible difference to global temperature. If that is the case, why do it? If the answer is to redistribute incomes to the poorer, then why not just increase income tax?

      Yes, I know that it is all rather rhetorical…

      • David says:

        That is an interesting line of argument. But your admission that the line of argument is rhetorical suggests you can see that Menadue probably does think reducing CO2 emissions is worthwhile (just a wild guess :)).

        It would be madness to introduce a Carbon tax, simply as a mechanism to redistribute income. So much political pain for so little gain.

        • Don Aitkin says:

          I agree. My reference ‘rhetorical’ applies mostly to the orthodox argument. It assumes that reducing greenhouse gases is worthwhile. Few ever try to show how, or what the effect is. So we get a new proposition — we’ll have an ETS, but the poor will be compensated, so they won’t notice. But of course they will, and nothing happens to temperature. Flannery conceded that you wouldn’t notice a change for a thousand years.

          • David says:

            “Flannery conceded that you wouldn’t notice a change for a thousand years.”

            Don, you misquote Flannery and the science.

            Its not that people wont “notice” the change, it that it will take a “1000” years before CO2 returns to normal.

          • David says:

            You are conflating what you think with what Flannery thinks. 🙂

          • JimboR says:

            Provided we continue to produce just a little more CO2 than we consume, it will never return to normal. The concentration will just continue to get bigger and bigger.

            Don just how much CO2 do you think is too much? Even if global warming does turn out to be a hoax (or real but manageable) do you think CO2 concentration can continue to grow indefinitely? Presumably you wouldn’t be happy with 1000ppm… we all know that lethargic feeling you get in a crowded poorly ventilated conference room.

            Wherever you decide is the safe level, what do you propose to stop us continuing to power towards it? Are you just hoping we’ll run out of fossil fuels before we get there?

            It’s a bit like debt…. so long as you continue to spend just a little more than you earn, there’s no immediate problem, but one day you wake up Greek.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            On the current evidence, I can’t think of any level of CO2 that is bad for the ecosystem save very low levels, when plant life dies. Submarine crews live for weeks with elevated levels of carbon dioxide without any apparent problems. I don’t think there is a ‘normal’ level — what we have is an accumulation and use system that at the moment is allowing the planet to become gently hotter. As someone said above, at present rates it will be a long time before temperature rises much, unless we get several el Ninos in a row.

            In general, I can’t see that levels of CO2 are a real problem.

          • dlb says:

            Quote Flannery 2011

            “If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as 1000 years because the system is overburdened with CO2 that has to be absorbed”

            Flannery thinks the damage has already been done. So Don is right, why have an ETS or carbon tax?
            Of course there is always a chance Flannery doesn’t know what he is talking about 🙂

          • JimboR says:

            It’s not a binary thing. The more that’s up there, the longer it’ll take to suck it back, and that sucking doesn’t start until we produce less of it than we consume. At the moment it’s at about 400ppm and climbing. You can follow along here:

            http://co2now.org/current-co2/co2-now/

          • dlb says:

            Certainly no doubt CO2 is 400ppm and rising, but at the current rate of increase it will take 200 years to double the concentration. It is increasing looking like climate sensitivity will be under 2 deg (see Lewis & Curry) for a doubling of CO2 so I can’t see what the fuss is about. I also doubt current emission rates will increase much as developed nations turn to gas and nuclear, and oil production declines. Probably in 100 years a more economic fuel will be found and we won’t be burning hydrocarbons regardless of their perceived ills.

          • David says:

            dlb, This line of argument relies on Providence, to save us. That way of thinking went by the wayside with the Enlightenment. 🙂

          • David says:

            No he is not.

            1. The key word is “notice”. The Flannery quote you provide is NOT saying we wont “notice” the change. Flannery is saying the “system will take a 1000 years to return to normal”. There is a huge difference in meaning!

            Yes Flannery thinks some of the damage is done, but the whole reason he is engaged in the public debate is he is trying to prevent more damage. Hence he is an advocate of an ETS and carbon tax etc.

            Common dlb, you are not silly.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            No, dlb is not silly. You misquoted Flannery, who said that the average global temperature would not drop for a long time. That’s what I reported him as saying, too. He didn’t say anything about returning to normal. Nobody know s what normal is, anyway.

          • JimboR says:

            I think there are three temperatures of interest here:

            1. the temperature today
            2. the temperature in 1000 years if we all cut emissions today
            3. the temperature in 1000 years if we carry on regardless

            Flannery’s quote compares 1 and 2 and makes no mention of 3 (at least not in that quote).

            Don you used that quote to claim that if we introduced some reduction scheme now we’d not notice any difference to the temperature. While that may be true comparing #1 and #2, it may not be true comparing #2 with #3.

          • David says:

            Don this statement, which is your take on Flannery

            “Flannery conceded that you wouldn’t notice a change for a thousand years”

            is not equivalent to this statement

            “Flannery, who said that the average global temperature would not drop for a long time”.

            They have different meanings.

            For example, I could say it will take a long time for the bath
            to empty. But that does not mean I will not notice it slowly empty.

          • Don Aitkin says:

            Oh dear, what do you think Flannery meant, given his words? He did say it would not drop for a long time. What do you think that means?

          • David says:

            Exactly what he said.

            That it will take 1000 years for the world climate to
            re-equilibrate. 🙂

          • Don Aitkin says:

            How on earth can you infer that from what he said? He said nothing at all about re-equilibrating! To quote you above or somewhere, you are conflating what he said with what you would like him to have said.

          • David says:

            “system will take a 1000 years to return to normal” or

            “system will take a 1000 years to re-equilibrate” take your pick.

            But my point is that Flannery did not say that we would not notice a change for a thousand years.

  • aert driessen says:

    Great piece Don, a summary of the issue in plain language. It confirms for me what I thought years ago, namely that the politics has overwhelmed the science, and that is a great pity because it affects trust in science also in other fields, like medicine. I stick to my own prediction that this corrupted debate will be sorted by the climate itself which, I think, our climate has already started to do. I think that we are on the threshold of a cooling phase under the influence of the sun. That brings me to your reservation about the undue influence of CO2 ‘forcing’. I certainly agree with that but I think a far more serious deficiency of the models is that they ignore the sun. Seems a strange approach to me seeing that we live in the Solar System. I look forward to a response from John Menadue.

  • PeterE says:

    Well put. The grating phrase ‘carbon pollution’ does seem to indicate a confusion in the mind of many commentators, including clever ones. They seem to confuse smoke and steam with ‘greenhouse’ gases. In their minds they are the harbingers of the future, the new steam engine men replacing the horse and cart fellows. That change turned out well and now we change we move forward from coal and steam to windmills. Ah, bliss!

  • Dasher says:

    I would love to read the response.

  • Don Amoore says:

    Don, Your correspondence with John Menadue mirrors exactly what I go through every time I try to have a reasoned exchange with almost all of my, usually university educated, friends. I have come to despair that I or you or any of us will be able to influence these committed believers. Apart from the “consensus” and “97% of scientists” I find I come up against the “truth” of the “Computer Models” as the most difficult point to counter.

    If it cannot be conclusively demonstrated to these people that the basic assumptions of the models are incorrect, i.e. CO2 is the major (only?) cause of temperature increase, and water vapour is a minor contributer then how can reason hope to prevail.

    Also it appears that the title “Denier” is miss applied. If any CAG warmist is asked to answer this questionaire then they would probably answer YES to all.

    Would you DENY
    that:-
    1. Global temperature has hardly increased in the last 18 years
    2. Greenland ice sheet is increasing
    3. The Antarctic ice sheet is increasing
    4. Hurricanes, cyclones, tornados andsevere storms have been decreasing over the recent history.
    5. Earthquakes and tsunamis have nothing to do with AGW or climate change
    6. Arctic summer ice melt is a natural regular event- like twice a century
    7. CO2 is merely a player in global warming and not a controlling or major factor.
    8. Historically increased CO2 has followed a global temperature increase.
    9. Global average ocean temperature has not changed significantly
    10. A majority of Australians agree that the IPCC is not a credible authority.
    11. Total mean sea level rise over the last century has been only 9.35 centimetres.
    12. Global food production has been increasing significantly since CO2 increased.
    13. There is a large expert and credible group of scientists who wish to examine and
    review IPCC data and results – but are prevented from doing so.
    14. Forests worldwide have been greening and increasing
    15. Global warming will be beneficial in many areas
    16. Most Climate Change computer models do not produce useful, verifiable results
    17. The GBR is healthy and capable of self-repair from runoff and cyclones and
    bleaching
    18. Mount Kilimanjaro icecap is melting due to deforestation and not global warming
    19. Polar bears are thriving normally despite the current arctic summer melt event
    20. Emeritus Professors and academics of prominent Universities who Deny CAGW should NOT be sacked for their views
    21. CO2 caused ocean warming results in more clouds that reflect sunlight and so cool the planet.

    So who are the Deniers?
    Cheers in despair.

  • JimboR says:

    “If it really is a pollutant, plants and animals haven’t been told”

    Looks like the coral and shellfish missed the memo too. Nobody warned them to harden up against the lower pH waters they now find themselves in.

    • dlb says:

      Do you have any references?
      As far as I am aware this is nothing more than speculation.
      Was it a memo to Nemo, Jimbo?

        • dlb says:

          Hi Jimbo,

          That video of the volcanic seep was interesting. The pH of
          that water should be quite acidic with all that CO2 bubbling through. Carbonated water has a pH of 3.5 and being a volcanic seep there should be SO2 forming sulphuric acid with is more acidic again, and the coral is loving it! Though admittedly of different species to what is further away.

          The ocean has a current pH around 8.05 (slightly alkaline).
          To acidify it to pH 7.9 (still slightly alkaline) we would have to keep adding CO2 to the atmosphere till the concentration is around 600 ppm which would take over 100 years at our present rate of emissions. Even then the ocean would have
          to absorb this which may take even more years. Also don’t forget a proportion of this CO2 will be transferred from the surface to the deep oceans leading to less acidification at the surface.

          I’m certainly not concerned about ocean acidification.

          see http://barrettbellamyclimate.com/page52.htm

  • Colin Davidson says:

    People have speculated why Menadue has not researched this topic, but blundered along with the rest of the Left.
    Is it because he has form in the leftie agenda stakes?
    That agenda is the imposition of an elite over the rest of us, and the suppression of democracy.
    A major obstacle to this agenda is the Australian Constitution, and the great difficulty of changing it without consent.
    Gough Whitlam started a great weakening of the Constitution. In particular he gravely damaged the Federation by vastly increasing the Commonwealth’s involvement in, and funding of State responsibilities such as Health, Education, roads etc, while reducing the expenditure on the Commonwealth’s responsibilities of Defence, Overseas Affairs, etc.
    This power grab from the States was not corrected in the subsequent Fraser government (to be fair, they had plenty of other stables to clean after the donkeys were chucked out). It was continued under Hawke and Keating, not reversed under Howard. Rudd and Gillard again upped the Commonwealth’s involvement, to the point where States responsibilities under the Constitution are now very blurred.
    Did Menadue help Gough start this?

    • Don Aitkin says:

      Margaret,

      After the first few visuals, I was reminded that a wise old bird once said to me, after a seminar, ‘Beware of those who argue with pictures.’ I think it’s good advice about that piece, which uses visuals to make points.

      • Margaret says:

        Yes, I agree … far too many – but the words were illuminating and too many statistics can also obscure reality.

  • […] I wrote my long response to John Menadue, I did so because I had suggested to him on previous occasions that he accepted the views of people […]

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