This is my last post for the year — a phrase my wife says needs a trumpet call, which would be the case had I capitalised the phrase. Ordinary transmission will resume on Monday 6 January.

What a year it has been. What other year saw Australia have three Prime Ministers within a few months? The last was 1945, when John Curtin died, to be followed in an interim way by his Deputy Frank Forde, before the Labor Caucus elected Ben Chifley as the new PM. And there were two similar earlier years in my lifetime, 1941, when Menzies, Fadden, and Curtin followed one another in a similarly short time, and 1939, when Lyons, Page and Menzies made up the trio. So 2013 wasn’t so unusual.

Perhaps 2013 was unusual in the manic quality of the politics, from the beginning of the year right to the end. There seemed to be a vast amount of ego on display. The election in October gave the Coalition a comfortable majority on the floor of the House, and a likely capacity to get legislation through the Senate in the second half of the coming year. But the Coalition Government has not had an easy time in its first few months.

My interest in ‘climate change’ has slackened a little, in part because day by day come new evidence, new papers, and new argument to suggest that the orthodox view which makes carbon dioxide the control knob of the world’s climate is seriously and fundamentally in error. What fascinates me now is to observe what the proponents of the orthodoxy do. The new Coalition Government is ending as much of the ‘combat against climate change’ stuff as it can, but that will take quite a while. I’ve noticed that in areas where the orthodoxy has been strong, like The Conversation, there are fewer and fewer articles putting forward the orthodox position, and they are less frequent in the mainstream media, too.

That doesn’t mean that there has been an acceptance that things have changed: some of the enthusiasm for a global treaty and all its ramifications is as shrill as it was. But my sense is that the electorate has lost interest. I look forward to Earth Day, in the hope that this Government tells departments that it does not want everything to be dark, and that those who need light and heat should have it. I doubt very much that it will be taking a lead in observing that symbolic charade.

My irritation with the political culture of the ABC’s news and current affairs group has not diminished at all, and I was not impressed that the new Chairman, former CJ Spigelman of the NSW Supreme Court, decided to have a review of bias to be carried out by someone from the BBC! I just don’t think he gets it, which is a pity, because he is in other respects a cluey and sensible chap. I know that some of the readers of this website have had a go at complaining about the bias in the ABC, and all they get is a polite letter from the head of complaints which thanks them for their interest, but never addresses the real concerns of those who write. I don’t think we’ll see much change in 2014, unless someone in the organisation makes a really bad boo-boo.

This past year has been a most busy one for me, because I have been involved in a daily musical project as part of the Centenary of Canberra. On the plus side, I’ve heard some wonderful music; on the minus side, I haven’t worked so hard since I was last in paid employment! All that will come to an end on 31 December, and my wife and I will get a break.

But the website and the music meant that I had to abandon my other writing — there just wasn’t time for everything. When the website resumes in January, therefore, I will be writing about three essays a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday as a general rule. They will be better researched than some of the ones I wrote this year, because I will have more time.

I started the website in the middle of 2012, and thus far there have been 457 posts and more than a thousand comments. I have enjoyed writing (the deadline of an 8 am post is a great discipline) and I have enjoyed the comments. I’m not here to persuade you that my view of things is the right one. Rather, my aim has been to provide readers with what I think is the best context with which they can form their own views. I am not sure about most things, and I am by no means always right.

My best wishes to everyone for Christmas and the New Year, and ask you all, as Chairman of the Road Safety Trust, to drive carefully and  in a relaxed way over the holiday period.

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • whyisitso says:

    Sorry to hear you will reduce posts to 3 a week in the New Year. I’ve looked forward to reading you with my weet-bix each morning.

    This is one of the better opinion piece blogs on the web, (perhaps mainly because my views are aligned closely with yours (ahem!)).

    I’m not sure whether I’m a conservative or a libertarian, as I have elements of both, but I think I tend more to the latter. Certainly I’m not a staunch advocate of the status quo, but neither am I seeking change for the sake of change.

    Hope you and yours have a great Christmas, and I look forward to 6 January.

  • Fay Thomson says:

    Dear Don, I hope you have a relaxing and happy time over the break with your family.’Gotta tell you that your Don Aitkin sign written boldly is a division I use on my site to more quickly see messages on Inbox.

  • dedicated lurker says:

    Best of Season to you Don – and a very big Thank You for your thoughtful inciteful posts. I have been both educated and entertained.

    dedicated lurker

  • Mike O'Ceirin says:

    May you and your family enjoy Christmas and the well deserved break. Also you should commend all those involved in road safety for a job well done I am sure for this year and all preceding years. The death rate is lower now in absolute terms than when I was 20. It is a remarkable achievement that despite the huge increase in population and vehicles the absolute numbers have declined significantly.

  • dlb says:

    Glad to hear you will be back next year Don. Looking forward to your insightful and considered comment.

    I remember when I was growing up my mother was an avid listener to “Notes on the News” and “Blue Hills” which came on ABC radio around lunchtime. There were some commenters she thought highly of, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were one of those.

    Have a relaxing and enjoyable break.

  • DaveW says:

    Hi Don,

    Hope you and yours have a happy Christmas and I will look forward to reading you in the New Year. I’m finally back in Queensland after 10 years of exile and more interested than ever at having the ABC back as a functional, politically neutral source of information. They don’t even seem to take the complaints about substandard English or slip-shod fact-checking to heart, let alone political bias. I suspect the sources of incompetence and bias are similar – too many political hacks in the ABC and not enough who care about doing something well.



  • PeterE says:

    I found this on my return from a pleasant two weeks in SA. I have found your posts most interesting and enjoyable. Thanks. May there be many more.

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