More on the culture of the ABC

By May 27, 2020Other

Several years ago I wrote a piece for the Sydney Institute Quarterly (SIQ) on what I saw as a mismatch between the ABC’s charter and the way in which news was presented. It was a ‘more sorrow than anger’ piece, because I had a long association with the ABC, as a talking head on radio and television, an advisory committee member for NSW, and a junior organiser of concerts in a country town. I had even tried, and failed, to get my piano music played, when there was an opportunity to be heard by an expert. He said I wasn’t one, and that was fair comment. You can read a summary of that piece, and some further reflections, plus comments from former sympathisers with inside knowledge, here.

Nothing much has changed in the last seven years. There is still no balance. If you want it, you really need to tune into Channels 7 or 9, plus Sky News. Then you will have to make your own mind up. Likewise in the print media. Those who read only the Oz and the Tele need to see, at least some of the time, what Granny Herald and The Guardian are printing. Again, you will need to make your own mind up.

The Institute for Public Affairs, a longstanding essentially right-wing think tank decided that it would find out more, and used the Freedom of Information system to explore one aspect of the ABC culture, that to do with ‘climate change’ and the environment generally. It has released the 300 pages it received. You can read them here; note: there is a lot of repetition. Oh, and all this was some months ago.

The pages are correspondence, somewhat redacted with respect to most of the repliers, to a request from one Barbara Heggen, a radio producer in Melbourne. Ms Heggen used the whole-of-ABC email list to say this to her colleagues:

Hi there,

Sorry for bulk email but I’m reaching out to gauge [sic] interest in forming a [sic] ABC?Staff climate crisis advisory group.

 The Aim 

To gather together the brains trust of ABC staffers to develop ways to report on and inform Australians about the climate crisis using a solutions journalism approach. 

To report back to ABC Management our ideas and strategies for responding to the climate crisis both internally and externally. 

If anyone is interested in taking this idea further let me know. Or perhaps such a group already exists? Please feel free to share this with others who may be interested.

Thanks in advance,

Surely someone in the ‘brains trust’ might have asked her what the climate crisis actually was, but apparently none did. I didn’t count the responses, but someone else seems to have done so, and I think there were 77 of them. A couple of respondents were irritated, not about the climate exactly, but rather the use of the main list. One correspondent apologised, ‘I’m in a demo until 1 pm but I’ll catch you when I can.’ There’s some honesty. Another called it ‘the issue of our times, please count me in Barbara’. A third said ‘we must report established science, the evidence, and not myth.’ A fourth asked ‘why the denial is so prevalent’. Most of the others used the words ‘brilliant’ or ’fabulous’.

No one asked what ‘a solutions journalism approach’ might be, so I had to look it up. Apparently the ABC has a ‘unit’ of one person in Hobart. Wikipedia defines it like this:

Solutions journalism

 is an approach to news reporting that focuses on the responses to social issues as well as the problems themselves. Solutions stories, anchored in credible evidence, explain how and why responses are working, or not working. The goal of this journalistic approach is to present people with a truer, more complete view of these issues, helping to drive more effective citizenship.

Is it consistent with the ABC’s charter emphasis on fairness and balance, you ask. Is it the same as ‘advocacy journalism’, which another respondent said the ABC should be wary of, even if The Guardianwasn’t? Wikipedia defines it this way:

Advocacy journalism is a genre of journalism that intentionally and transparently adopts a non-objective viewpoint, usually for some social or political purpose. Because it is intended to be factual, it is distinguished from propaganda. It is also distinct from instances of media bias and failures of objectivity in media outlets, since the bias is intended.

Hmm. I don’t see much difference in practice. If there is a problem it is because there are competing ways to solve it. To advocate a particular solution is to suggest that you know what the right answer is, without bothering to present all the possibilities. That, it seems to me, is a form of advocacy. It seems to me also that the ABC has decided that  (i) there is a climate crisis or emergency, (ii) it has to be solved by reducing our use of fossil fuels, and (iii) all right-thinking people will see that this is so, while those who disagree are simply ‘deniers’.

Well, the climate action group was to have a meeting, but this was postponed because of the weariness of staff with responding to bushfires. Moreover, ABC chair Ita Buttrose told ABC radio that the idea was not going ahead, because the leadership team and the managing director were opposed to it. That didn’t stop the crisis action people, one of whom leaked to The Guardian that meetings would be going ahead just the same. You can’t stop informal meetings, and I doubt that was Ms Buttrose’s intention. Rather, she and the management team would not be taking formal notice of anything the climate crisis action group came up with.

A week later Four Corners, the Corporation’s flagship current affairs program, devoted its time to climate policy, with the presumption that there thought to be an effective ‘climate policy’, which would be based on some sort of price on carbon. Why would this be necessary? According to the latest National Greenhouse Inventory, Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) were at their lowest level for 11 years in the year ended September 2019, while emissions per capita have declined since 1990. Globally, GGE have increased a great deal.

It did not help the ABC’s arguments that the former senior bureaucrats interviewed for the program were not asked about this discrepancy. Martin Parkinson, once head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, thought we had no climate policy. Maybe that has been a good thing. Ken Henry, former head of Treasury, felt angry about what Australia had lost. What exactly was that? He wasn’t asked. The implied notion that somehow all this has had a bad effect on our climate is difficult, indeed impossible, to demonstrate. Yet it is at the heart of the ‘policy problem’.

Ah well, nothing much has changed. We go on having droughts, bushfires and floods and bushfires. We deal with them more effectively than we used to, but the ABC rarely mentions successes. Gloom and disaster make for news, not to mention blame, if you can point a stern finger. I said in my essay for the SIQ all those years ago that the problem with organisations is that they tend to appoint people whose values are like those of the appointers. On the evidence, the ABC is a wonderful example.

Join the discussion 86 Comments

  • Rod Stuart says:

    As Gerard Henderson has said many times when on Bolt, the ABC has no “management’ but is instead a collection of little feudal cabals which have their own rules and their own objectives. Why in God’s name the Morrison government has not taken steps to date to trim the sails on this gargantuan propaganda machine is a question that can only be answered by the Deep State. If privatisation is not palatable to vast swathes of the tax payers and consumers, surely trimming the handouts to this lard arse of an organisation from 1.2 billion back to about 150,000 would do wonders to heal the ills of this country.

  • Karabar says:

    Sinclair Davidson and Chris Berg published a plan for rationalisation of the “public broadcaster” propaganda machine.–Chris-Berg-and-Sinclair-Davidson_p_177.html
    A logical and rational government would surely take these concepts to heart well before any future election. Peppa Pig does not vote.

  • John Stankevicius says:

    Thanks Don. I feel better knowing some one else has to watch another stations for the news. Dealing with business people all day, all of them cant watch the ABC as their foot goes through the screen.
    Re the climate change – my massuest who has a job of a driver, has a client – a retired physicist, she saw four sun spot through her telescope in Feb this yr – she said that usually means a cooler and wetter year.
    Yep – Adelaide and SA have had their best start to the growing season since 2016. Also the effect of the Indian Ocean dipole for this year.

  • Karabar says:

    “At the heart of the social vision prevalent among contemporary intellectuals is the belief that there are “problems” created by existing institutions and that “solutions” to these problems can be excogitated by intellectuals. This vision is both a vision of society and a vision of the role of intellectuals within society.

    — Thomas Sowell”

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    DA: “….the problem with organisations is that they tend to appoint people whose values are like those of the appointers.”

    Some organisations also tend to choose experts who confirm their prejudices about an issue, such as “climate change”.

    The Spectator UK’s word of the week, incidentally, is “experts”:

    “For many years politicians have launched waves of initiatives which are ‘evidence-based’ or ‘follow the science.’ The rules for engagement with experts are simple:

    1. Pick your favourite expert
    Politicians recognise that ‘evidence-led’ policy is difficult when there is such a range of evidence, that leads us in different directions. When dealing with contradictory evidence, it is important to ensure that any policy is evidence-led, by carefully selecting experts who will produce the required evidence in support of a proposed policy. The careful selection of experts enables policy-led evidence to be produced in support of evidence-led policies

    2. Produce a number, any number
    Experts use computer programmes to produce numbers that inform policy. Computer models can generate a series of forecasts and predictions on demand, by applying the appropriate assumptions. Some programs randomly produce numbers until an appropriately large number is generated. The big, scary number provides the evidence required to justify a radical policy.

    Use: “We are following the science which shows that experts produce the best evidence when they are commissioned by politicians, to produce it.”

  • TERRY JESSOP says:

    The best thing to come out of the Corona Virus panic is the way “Professor Lockdown” got egg all over his face, thereby de-valuing the status of “experts” in general. “Professor Lockdown” is of course Professor Neil Ferguson (the epidemiologist), not Niall Ferguson, the brilliant historian. Professor Neil Ferguson became famous for incorrectly predicting alarming levels of deaths from Corona Virus (as he had similarly predicted alarming levels of deaths from SARS, Bird Flu and other “epidemics” that didn’t eventuate, as well as being responsible, almost twenty years ago for causing the British government to over-react to Bovine Encephalitis (Mad Cow Disease) by ordering the slaughter of a large percentage of the British cattle herd).

    Then Professor Lockdown became doubly famous (and became christened “Professor Pantsdown” by the British press) after he was caught out breaking lockdown to have multiple trysts with his married lover Antonia Staats.

    We owe a vote of thanks to Professor Lockdown, with his long career of false alarms, for doing more to make the public sceptical of “experts” than anyone else in recent times.

    Let us all remember to apply a healthy pinch of salt to the predictions of other so-called experts

    • Stu says:

      I see you are using the same reasoning that concluded that Y2K was not a problem, so maybe I will reserve judgement on the Covid-19 issue till we really know the outcome. Meantime the variation in outcomes so far shows significant difference in deaths depending on country and policy. And if you want to use the “so-called experts” tag in relation to climate you will have to allow that neither side knows if AGW is real or not but there are a lot less “SCE” on the no issue side.

      • Boambee John says:


        “And if you want to use the “so-called experts” tag in relation to climate you will have to allow that neither side knows if AGW is real or not but there are a lot less “SCE” on the no issue side.”

        Did you really intend to admit that “neither side knows if AGW is real or not”?

        Yet you regularly demand that we move ahead with renewables with blind faith that technology will solve the issues of reliable and continuous supply? That we should spend hundreds of billions without being certain that there really is a problem?


        On COVID.

        “variation in outcomes so far shows significant difference in deaths depending on country and policy.”

        And also climate, population density and a range of other factors. Still, let’s destroy the world economy before we work out what really is happening.

        More insanity!

        • JMO says:

          My humble experience with experts is they are human and therefore prone to exaggeration if it suits their thinking, career/salary/ self importance. Best way to find out is to do your own research gain some knowledge, question and be your own fiercest critic. I was a climate alarmist and really trusted Tim Flannery, and thought in 2006 we had a planetary emergency on our hands.
          I now consider him not worth even listening to. Following the above I am now a sceptic. I still can change. If the (relevant and genuine) facts change, I will change (again). Final hint, always seek out what is not said.

  • Stu says:

    “Did you really intend to admit that “neither side knows if AGW is real or not”? No mate, not at all, merely pointing out the hypocrisy of his statement, he can’t have it both ways using that language. On the other hand as I mentioned, probably not clearly enough, all of the major scientific institutions, be they government, academic or independent research based, accept the published science. It is only the “so-called experts” which your side relies on for an alternate view.
    Regarding Covid, so you deny that the rapid lockdown in NZ and Oz, had a huge impact on the outcome to date! Of course if we follow the US path through and after the long weekend things might change. If you don’t like the local example compare the Scandinavian countries excluding Sweden with Sweden itself. Nuff said really.

    You persist with the “billions of dollars” argument which I find amusing. Go and argue with Cannon-Brookes et al on that one. He argues, and he quotes many who support, that the “cost of action” is way less than the ‘cost of inaction”

    But we stray from the theme of Don’s post. Never mind, it seems to be a gravitational force. Although on that subject it may be pertinent to point out that the ABC does present the consensus view (of Academia and the Public Service view, when not altered by policy) and does host the venerable views of the other side in the person of Greg Sheriden and others frequently. I fear your side would only be happy if all we heard from the ABC was the Murdochian and fossil view of denial.

    By the way have you been following the bushfire inquiry? Interesting evidence.

    • spangled drongo says:

      “By the way have you been following the bushfire inquiry? Interesting evidence.”

      You wouldn’t be referring to BoM and CSIRO [those govt employed first cousins to the govt employed ABC] “interesting evidence”, would you?

      Where they have yet to admit that there has been no reduction in fuel loads for many years but claim that “climate change” of around 1c of warming over the last century is a big factor in those fires.

      That’s not “interesting evidence”, stu, that’s true-believer propaganda.

    • Boambee John says:


      “He argues, and he quotes many who support, that the “cost of action” is way less than the ‘cost of inaction”

      Yes. Albo takes the same (insane) line, but none actually offer any actual “costs of inaction”, only typical alarmist hand waving.

      Re the bushfire enquiry, the first witness, from the BoM, claimed that their predictions were good. Seems he forgot the Bureau telling agriculture ministers in November there would be no rain until April (or was it May). With “accuracy” like that, who relies on their predictions?

      Then there were the “experts” whose modelling showed over 400 deaths due to the effects. Strangely, they relied on modelling, rather than checking actual death certificates. Models reflect the assumptions on which they are based.

      • Taieri says:

        The main problem with models is that their results are presented as facts rather than as a range of possible, although not necessarily likely scenarios. Nobody examines their inputs, but everyone is fascinated by their outputs, at least in the media. This applies as much to the “climate change” issues as it does to Covid-19. The intellectual capacity of most journalists (and politicians) is just not not up to the task, consequently all the world’s charlatans are having a ball…

  • spangled drongo says:

    Thanks Don. Yes it is high time that the ABC was done away with in all areas where it competes with private media and if it has to be retained anywhere it should only be in areas where media is commercially unviable.

    Even those areas are currently biased and politicised by them.

    As an avid fan of the ABC in the past, these days I find them pretty well unbearable.

    • dlb says:

      Get with the times SD, the ABC is no longer the conservative voice of the past, but the mouthpiece of the New Establishment. With all the prescribed doctrine that befits any establishment.

      Those wanting to sell it off are a noisy minority. Probably the same bunch that are pursing legal action against the closures of State Borders.

      • Boambee John says:


        “With all the prescribed doctrine that befits any establishment.”

        So now the new establishment works to silence the opinions of the counter culture? How very ABC.

      • dlb says:

        I can’t see the new “Counter Culture” going anywhere, it needs the vitality of youth. The youth seem to be totally onboard and running “The New Establishment” perhaps with some guidance from those once long haired boomers.

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    Don’t forget that hotbed of ‘evidence based’ and taxpayer funded opinion, ‘The Conversation’, whose alarmist articles are regularly and dutifully republished by the ‘independent’ ABC.

  • Stu says:

    Yes indeed roll forward to a world where only private (narrowly controlled, highly politicised media figures control the message) interests filter the news. Fine while it is your narrative being presented but that may not always be the case, then what? If you really love the narrow extreme right wing view of the world, great, so stick with Skynews. The outlier is Seven West media but even there the chief influence is engaged in major mining activities, so has a vested interest.

    “ As an avid fan of the ABC in the past, these days I find them pretty well unbearable.”. Have you ever stopped to question whether perhaps your views are out of whack and perhaps you should rethink?

    My perspective is that the ABC spends too much effort trying to be balanced. For example giving equal time to very questionable opinions like anti-vaccination. Some would put climate change denial in that same category. Some things do not warrant equal treatment such as flat earth, moon landings, 5G and nano control.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Stu hasn’t noticed how many left wing private media sources there already are to do the ABC lefty spiel without huge taxpayer funds being wasted.

      It’s amazing how you can never produce any real evidence to support your silly claims of ABC balance [or anything else for that matter].

      Just consider their discussions about Obama in the past and compare that with their current discussions about Trump.

      And why would you always assume climate sceptics are also anti-vaxxers?

      You’re as unbalanced as Auntie.

      • Stu says:

        SD, just for the record, going forward to November, can you give me your wish and your prediction regarding the election? I take it you think Trump is a genius and much put upon by the media and the Democrats, is that true? What do you believe he has achieved that merits re-election? Do you think he has any failings? What do you think of his prolific twitter utterances? Where do you think he stands in the ranks of US Presidents? What do you think of his golf swing? My observations lead to the conclusion he is not a great golfer, but apparently he cheats a lot so could score highly. But note that he only ever plays social golf so his handicap is meaningless.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Stu, stick to the point. Like Don, my opinion of Trump varies on many things but both you and Auntie deny the fact that he is the democratically elected POTUS and as such is entitled to the same balance from a govt media organisation as any other POTUS.

          Private media is entitled to campaign against him but not the ABC.

          • Boambee John says:


            I admire your strength in being able to read right through Stu’s stream of consciousness diatribe. He really does have a morbid fixation on DT.

          • Stu says:

            Yes he is the elected POTUS but the democratic part is arguable as he lost the popular vote. The electoral college process is a farce, but not as bad as the Senate where just over half the population live in nine states and therefore get to elect just 18 of the 100 senators. The flow on effect is still unfolding with the stacking of the Federal courts by Mitch McConnell.

            And historically the POTUS has usually governed with a view to it being one nation and not attempted to divide it as is happening now. Given how narrow his victory was this has increased the tension.

            November is going to be very interesting

          • Boambee John says:


            “usually governed with a view to it being one nation and not attempted to divide it as is happening now”

            Are the phrases “bitter clingers”, “basket of deplorables” and “flyover country” familiar to you?

            Such unifying rhetoric! Torally non divisive!

          • spangled drongo says:

            Michael Moore thinks Trump will win.

          • Boambee John says:


            I’m not sure why Stu introduced his obsession with DJT to this thread, but to improve his education, and to be more pedantic, I suggest that

            “fact that he is the democratically elected POTUS”

            Should be changed to

            “fact that he is the constitutionally elected POTUS”.

            There are good reasons that states get only two senators each, and for the Electoral College, to try to ensure that a few heavily populated states do not dominate.

            In 2016, the Demorats and the media (birm) were convinced that Hillary would sweep the EC. When that did not happen, they seamlessly switched to a focus on the popular vote, where the votes of the dead, non-citizens and the “vote early and often” crowd show up.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Good points, BJ.

        • spangled drongo says:

          BTW stu, Michael Moore is finding out what its like to be a sceptical and rational person.

          He has now had his film “Planet of the Humans” removed from Youtube:

    • dlb says:

      Skynews- shudder! now that is overtly biased. Fine I suppose if that’s your world view, so long as I am not paying for it.

      Not sure what you mean about Seven West being an outlier?, but I have noticed Seven News is refreshingly neutral on many topics, if a bit light in intellectual content. I wish the ABC could be less agenda driven.

      Can’t say I’ve seen the ABC in any way supporting anti vaccination, though I think these people deserve some acknowledgement in a neutral fashion. Not the usual ABC “holier than thou” approach, like they use for environmental issues.

      Some things are clear cut, like a round earth & moon landings, but many issues such as Covid 19 and climate change are not black and white. For complex issues like these the ABC are often no better than the tabloids, dumbing things down to a prescriptive black and white view, and not applying a critical approach.

      • Boambee John says:


        “Skynews- shudder! now that is overtly biased. Fine I suppose if that’s your world view, so long as I am not paying for it.”

        Strange, that is exactly my view about the ABC.

        • spangled drongo says:


          And we are paying for the ABC but not Sky News. Sky news is entitled to say what it likes.

          When people like dlb refuse to get this difference is it any wonder how we get taken for a ride by the ABC biased propagandists.

        • dlb says:

          BJ & SD,

          I can’t say I am happy about the ABC’s soft Left wokeness, and green advocacy, considering we pay for them.
          However I would be hopping mad if they went as far left as Sky is to the right.

  • Neville says:

    Dr Humlum’s 2019 state of the climate report is now available. Doesn’t seem to be much to panic about , but I’m sure the BS and fraud merchants will ignore the data and carry on as usual.
    The full PDF is available at the link.Certainly we know that over the last 32 years the human race has become much healthier and wealthier and we have a much higher life expectancy today of about 72 years.
    Of course this is exactly the opposite outcome that the Earth day loonies tried to sell us in 1970.

  • Neville says:

    Dr Patrick Michaels has highlighted two recent studies about the present and future greening of the earth.
    One has a CSIRO scientist as lead author and the other uses satellite data to arrive at the same conclusion.
    It now seems that future greening of the biosphere will be nearly three times faster than previous studies have claimed.
    What a wonderful trace gas we have in co2 and I’m sure a proper cost benefit analysis would support these claims. We should leave the Paris BS and fraud agreement ASAP and cancel all of the S&W idiocy immediately.

  • Boambee John says:

    One of the less admirable elements of the ABC culture is its ability to attack others while ignoring the beam in its own eye.

    The ABC has spent many hours on allegations of child s3xual abuse in religious institutions, and its effects on victims. However, it shows minimal interest in the peccadilloes of its own staff. The recent conviction of one of its own staff on historical charges received no publicity outside the region concerned, and no effort seems to have been made to contact and assist the victim.

    Also, in 1975 (a time when such offences were more prevalent than now), an ABC radio program interviewed three p3d0ph1les, discussing their activities. No report was made to the police, and the recordings were subsequently destroyed. Imagine the uproar had a religious institution been found to have done the same thing in that era!

    About the sane time, the chairman of the ABC wrote an op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald iirc, defending p3d0ph1les with words on the lines “In general, men will sleep with young boys”. The ABC has never repudiated these events.

    • Boambee John says:

      Apologies. It was a letter to the SMH, not an op-ed. Indeed, the Herald was one of the critics of the p3d0ph1le program.

  • spangled drongo says:

    And now, following this current crisis, huge numbers of regional newspapers are either going online or closing down altogether at the expense of hundreds of jobs and services, yet the taxpayer continues to fund a one-eyed, biased mammoth that is more than partly responsible for their demise.

  • spangled drongo says:

    For at least two decades of our darling ABC has been banging the drum on how “climate change” is responsible for huge health, environmental and world food supply problems that will [and does] cause ever-increasing death rates, yet rarely deals with the actual facts:

    • Stu says:

      Good to see you acknowledging an article which says the world is warming. All you need to do now is agree that your “natural variation” might be affected more than a little by putting back into the air over one hundred years that which the earth took 100 million to bury. Or do you still claim that is irrelevant?

      • spangled drongo says:

        Not having second thoughts about nat var are you stueyluv?

        Do I detect a more rational and philosophical outlook there?

        Could it be that the penny has finally dropped on your realisation of that 1c warming over the last century may not be the catastrophe you have been so worried about?

        And that your “relevant” geology and cli-sci is maybe not as applicable as you were once brainwashed to believe?

        It’s good to see, so now always ask yourself, if you find yourself regressing at any time and need to ease your enuresis, what is it that’s happening today, climate-wise, that hasn’t happened for the duration of civilisation?

        In spite of the extra billions of hot bodies?

        Answer; NOTHING!!!

        And all your prollems are solved.

      • Boambee John says:


        Good to see you finally acknowledge that such a thing as natural variation exists.

        I doubt that anyone who has given the matter even cursory thought would be surprised by the earth warming as it comes out of the Little ice Age. As I have said often before, the two key questions are the extent of the anthropogenic influence and whether the impacts will be catastrophic or beneficial.

        As to the first, the question, despite much hand waving btpy alarmists remains open. As to the second, the effects so far have been broadly beneficial, except as to the reputations of science and media organisations such as the ABC, if I might draw the conversation back to the subject of this thread. For them, the effects have been catastrophic.

        It will take a lot of reform and hard work for scientists and journalists to regain public trust.

      • Stu says:

        No, you guys malign me. I wrote “your ‘natural variation’ in that post, not mine. And so, as you usually do, you avoided the question. So once again, you think putting stuff into the air one million times faster than the natural systems took to remove it has no effect? Or to put it another way the carboniferous period sequestered a bucket load of carbon, reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere and cooling the world. Roll on 300 million years and we are reversing the process at a rate nature has never matched. The climate change the scientists fear is the likely big change from present conditions not the minor fluctuations we have seen to date and that we are approaching tipping points. Humans had not yet evolved the last time CO2 reached current levels, but never mind, you assure us all will be well in a greener world, great.

        • Boambee John says:


          “So once again, you think putting stuff into the air one million times faster than the natural systems took to remove it has no effect?”

          Again you demonstrate your limited reading comprehension. To repeat, the question is the scale of the anthropogenic contribution. Perhaps you can provide some reliable data to demonstrate your point?

          “The climate change the scientists fear is the likely big change from present conditions not the minor fluctuations we have seen to date and that we are approaching tipping points.”

          Apart from GIGO computer models, what is the empirical basis for this fear?


          “I wrote “your ‘natural variation’ in that post, not mine.”

          Are you a natural variation denialist? Seems so, since you reject its occurrence.


          Nothing to say on the subject of this thread, the destruction of the former reputation of the ABC by its cultural obsession with climate change? Let’s get back to the main subject

          • Stu says:

            “ the question is the scale of the anthropogenic contribution.”

            How about changing the atmosphere from 280ppm to 412 and rising.

          • Boambee John says:


            You assume that CO2 is the only contribution to the limited temperature change seen so far. The key part of your response is “ppm”. Parts per million!

            How many ppm is water vapour, also a so-called “greenhouse” gas? Which makes the greater contribution? Should we attempt to de-hydrogenise or de-oxygenise the planet?

            How about some real empirical data, rather than hand waving?

            I notice you still ignore my question about the ABC,

      • spangled drongo says:

        “Roll on 300 million years and we are reversing the process at a rate nature has never matched.”

        You’re quite sure you know what you are talking about, stueyluv?

        Do you know what caused the PETM?

        No, I thought not.

        And you’re the one who forever avoids the most important question:

        “What is it that’s happening today, climate-wise, that hasn’t happened for the duration of civilisation?”

        And that’s simply because you cannot tell us.

        Because, like us and everyone else, you simply DO NOT KNOW.

        When your consensual “scientists” come up with something perhaps we can talk about it.

        Meantime, like Manuel, “you know narthing”.

        • Stu says:

          “What is it that’s happening today, climate-wise, that hasn’t happened for the duration of civilisation?”
          Answer, possibly not much yet, but you are too thick to see what the scientists are saying, it is what is going to happen that is the problem. And they see the signs of that already. And regarding your addiction to the Holocene, tell me again how as life before that and how widespread was the human form geographically?

          • spangled drongo says:

            “it is what is going to happen that is the problem. And they see the signs of that already.”

            You mean real-world happenings as opposed to shonky blither, stueyluv?

            Things like this:


            This 25 million ocean-front house sale is precisely where I spent many nights during the howling cyclones of 50 years ago trying to save them from being washed out to sea.

            You couldn’t give these places away 50 years ago. Now they sell for 25 million.

            How much better is it going to get in the future if smart people like Al, Barack and Co are spending millions while trying to talk the market down?

            And are you saying that pre-warming, pre-Holocene-man was better off?

          • Boambee John says:


            “it is what is going to happen that is the problem. And they see the signs of that already.”

            Where? In the computer models? ROFLMAO!

            They see what is necessary to keep the research grants coming. They nearly got their fingers burnt a while back with the “Science is in” mantra, when the suggestion was made that since the answers were already known, then no more research was needed.

            Now, have you anything to say on the culture of Their ABC? That is the subject of this thread, after all.

          • Stu says:

            No guys it is saying you are like the guys who thought slavery was fine or who thought women should not have the vote. You are just reactionary thinkers in a world of change and unable to Comprehend or care what impact might result from current action or in this case inaction. You are no different really to the people who brought rabbits, camels and cane toads to this country or took possums to New Zealand and shot all the Thylacines in Tasmania. Thinking and caring about the future is more akin to the efforts that NASA makes to ensure that the Mars rovers are completely sterile so they don’t mess the environment there. But I really don’t expect you to comprehend any of that.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Thanks stueyluv. You’re getting easier to understand all the time.

            Your love tryst with “climate change”, which you finally admit is a non-event, is obviously your key to blaming the sins of the world on those of a rational outlook you can’t cope with.

            You’re really getting into madman territory.

            Even Auntie isn’t that far into it.

          • Boambee John says:


            “No guys it is saying you are like the guys who thought slavery was fine or who thought women should not have the vote. You are just reactionary thinkers in a world of change and unable to Comprehend or care what impact might result from current action or in this case inaction.”

            So you have no empirical evidence to offer, no logical response concerning other “greenhouse” gases, no response about computer models.

            You simply revert to your default position of personal abuse and slander.

            And you still refuse to address the subject of this thread, the culture of Their ABC.

            Perhaps you should take your obsession about climate change to a more simpatico environment, where the absence of substantive argument will be applauded, rather than criticised, because it fits the “narrative”?

      • spangled drongo says:

        Stu and Auntie,

        This bit of common knowledge might help to get your minds right:

          • spangled drongo says:

            Bad luck old chap, your link doesn’t come up. Try something more reliable.

            Even Auntie might be better.

            The fact that you admit that virtually nothing is happening is a step in the right direction, but you still need to accept that we are in a cooler climate now than most of the Holocene.

            If Warmist Wiki can’t avoid denying that very obvious science, it’s even possible that “our” ABC could change its spots too.

            The fact that nothing other than nat var is happening is totally supported by the greatest doomsayers spending their millions in complete repudiation of their public claims and statements.

            But you just can’t see that, hey, stu?

          • Stu says:

            SD yes that link is odd. Here is the article.

            Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been present in the atmosphere since the Earth condensed from a ball of hot gases following its formation from the explosion of a huge star about five billion years ago.
            At that time the atmosphere was mainly composed of nitrogen, CO2 and water vapour, which seeped through cracks in the solid surface. A very similar composition emerges from volcanic eruptions today.
            As the planet cooled further some of the water vapour condensed out to form oceans and they dissolved a portion of the CO2 but it was still present in the atmosphere in large amounts.
            The first life forms to evolve on Earth were microbes which could survive in this primordial atmosphere but about 2.5 billion years ago, plants developed the ability to photosynthesise, creating glucose and oxygen from CO2 and water in the presence of light from the Sun.
            This had a transformative impact on the atmosphere: as life developed, CO2 was consumed so that by around 20 million years ago its concentration was down to below 300 molecules in every one million molecules of air (or 300 parts per million – ppm).
            Life on Earth has evolved under these conditions – note that humans did not appear until about 200,000 years ago – and atmospheric CO2 has not exceed that concentration until the industrial revolution brought with it massive emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels: coal and oil.
            CO2 plays an important role in climate because it is one of the atmospheric “greenhouse” gases (GHGs) which keep the Earth’s surface about 33 degrees warmer than the -18C temperature it would be at were they not present.
            They do this by being fairly transparent to the Sun’s rays, allowing them through to warm the surface, but then absorbing the radiant heat that the surface emits, so trapping it and enhancing the warming. In the present climate the most effective GHGs are water vapour, which is responsible for about two-thirds of the total warming, and CO2 which accounts for about one quarter.
            Other gases, including methane, make up the remainder. The atmospheric concentration of water vapour is less than 1% and, with CO2 making up only a few molecules in every ten thousand of air, it may be surprising that they can have such a significant impact on the surface temperature.
            They are able to do this, however, because the structure of their molecules makes them especially effective at absorbing heat radiation while the major atmospheric gases, nitrogen and oxygen, are essentially transparent to it.

            The greenhouse effect means that as the atmospheric loading of GHGs increases the surface temperature of the Earth warms. The overall increase in global temperature of about 1C over the past 150 years is almost entirely due to the human activities that have increasing amounts of atmospheric GHGs.
            Most significantly, the concentration of CO2 has been rising exponentially (at a rate of about 0.17% per year) since the industrial revolution, due mainly to the combustion of fossil fuels but also to large-scale tropical deforestation which depletes the climate system’s capacity for photosynthesis.
            In 2015, it passed 400ppm, more than 40% higher than its pre-industrial value of 280ppm and a level that has not existed on Earth for several million years.
            While the basic science of how GHGs warm the Earth is very well understood, there are complications. The climate system responds in various ways which both enhance and ameliorate the effects of these gases.
            For example, a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour (before it condenses out in clouds or rain) and because water vapour is a GHG, this increases the temperature rise. Another example: as the oceans warm they are less able to hold CO2 so release it, again with the result the initial warming is enhanced.
            The global temperature record over the past century does not show the same smooth increase presented by CO2 measurements because the climate is influenced by other factors than GHGs, arising from both natural and human sources. Some particles released into the atmosphere by industrial activities reflect sunshine back to space, tending to cool the planet.
            Similarly, large volcanic eruptions can eject small particles into the higher atmosphere, where they remain for up to about two years reducing the sunlight reaching the surface, and temporary dips in global temperature have indeed been measured following major volcanic events.
            Changes in the energy emitted by the Sun also affect surface temperature, though measurements of the solar output show this effect to be small on human timescales.
            Another important consideration in interpreting global temperatures is that the climate is inherently complex. Energy moves between the atmosphere and oceans in natural fluctuations – an example being El Niño events. This means that we cannot expect an immediate direct relationship between any influencing factor and surface temperature.
            All these factors complicate the picture. Nevertheless, it is indisputable that the global temperature rise over the past century is a result of human-produced GHGs, mainly CO2.
            While, until the industrial revolution, the CO2 concentration has not exceeded the 280ppm value that last occurred several million years ago, it has gone through periods when it was considerably lower.
            Notably, during the ice ages which have occurred roughly every 100,000 years over at least the past half million, drops in global temperature of perhaps 5C have been accompanied by reductions in CO2 concentration to less than 200ppm.
            The ice ages, and associated warmer interglacial periods, are brought about by changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun which take place on these long timescales. The cooling in response to a decline in solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface results in a greater uptake of CO2 by the oceans and so further cooling due to a weakened greenhouse effect.
            This is an entirely natural phenomenon and it is worth noting that such amplification of temperature fluctuations will occur in response to any initiating factor regardless of its source and including human-produced greenhouse gases.
            The effects of increasing CO2 are not limited to an increase in air temperature. As the oceans warm they are expanding so producing a rise in sea level, this being exacerbated by the melting of some of the ice present on land near the poles and in glaciers. The warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour resulting in increased occurrences of heavy rainfall and flooding while changes in weather patterns are intensifying droughts in other regions.
            If human emissions of GHGs into the atmosphere continue unabated then the global temperature will continue to rise and the associated weather impacts become ever more severe. The UN climate conference in Paris in December 2015, at which 195 nations unanimously agreed on an aim to restrict the temperature rise to less than 2C, or preferably 1.5C, above the pre-industrial “baseline” was an extraordinary political achievement.
            To achieve this, however, will require a complete cessation of global CO2 emissions by the second half of this century and, while the world considers how this might be achieved, the crossing of the 400ppm mark in CO2 concentration has been matched by a global warming of 1C.

          • Boambee John says:


            “And that, children, is how you suck eggs.”

            “Thank you grandma!”

            I foolishly thought you had finally found something substantive to offer, and ended up with a standard alarmist tutorial.

            Still, it did at least mention water vapour!

          • spangled drongo says:

            “I see you on that and raise you with this one.”

            Stu, that bundle of blither didn’t even raise my eyebrows.

          • Chris Warren says:


            This link is broken by duplication.

            Try this:

  • spangled drongo says:

    OT but our ABC isn’t covering it so here is the latest on the appeal by JCU against Peter Ridd which ended today and here is Peter Ridd’s report for anyone interested. JCU are trying to prove that they were entitled to force Peter Ridd to be “collegiate” and maintain their Climate Change groupthink WRT coral and the GBR:

    by Peter Ridd,

    The Federal court appeal hearing is over and the lawyers have done their work. We now wait, possibly for some months, for the three judges to make the decision. In essence the appeal was about defining the limits of academic freedom, and what a university scientist can say, and how he or she might be allowed to say it. For example, was I allowed to say that due to systemic lack of quality assurance, scientific results from Great Barrier Reef science institutions was untrustworthy? JCU said I was not even if I believed it to be true. I am certainly not ashamed of anything I said, how I said it, or of my motivation

    Irrespective of the outcome of the appeal, I can now focus on other matters.

    First, I will work tirelessly to raise the problem of hopeless quality assurance of the science of the GBR, including the effect of climate change on the reef. I am hoping that the Senate Inquiry will come out of Covid hibernation soon. I will also be pushing AIMS to release their missing 15 years of coral growth data, and JCU to release its buried report on possible fraud at its coral reef centre. It is shameful the contempt with which these institutions treat the people of the region.

    Second, I will work with those agricultural organisations that show a determination to fight, which is sadly far from all of them, to demonstrate that the recent unfair regulations on Queensland farmers are based on shoddy science.

    Third: I will work to encourage governments at both state and federal level to force universities to behave like genuine universities and not the glossy public relations companies that they have become. Governments must mandate the introduction of genuine and enforceable guidelines on academic freedom such as those outlined in the Commonwealth governments (unimplemented) review by ex-High Court judge, Robert French.

    Thanks again for your support

  • Neville says:

    I would never support Moore or Gibbs or agree with their stupid left wing political ideas, but I still think they have a right to trade in the market place of ideas.
    If anyone wants to watch POTHs again or for the first time they can still watch it on Vimeo. We shouldn’t allow this blatant You tube censorship to stop people from watching their doco.
    If we did we would be as censor happy as their ABC who haven’t allowed a conservative program presenter a front line position for at least 50 years.
    In fact so many of their program presenters are blatantly left wing and care more about feelings, pseudo- science and more PC nonsense etc as time goes by.
    Of course their charter states that this shouldn’t be the case,yet every lefty turns a blind eye and couldn’t care less. And at least 50% of the population are expected to stomach this unfair situation from now until eternity.

  • spangled drongo says:

    I have been searching ABC News to see if they had any report on the JCU appeal against the Judge Vasta decision in favour of Peter Ridd but not likely unless and until the appeal goes against Ridd.

    Talk about a one-eyed ABC.

    Meanwhile a good article from the Australian from Gideon Rozner:

    “A court case this week in front of three judges of the Federal Court was a further stage in Peter Ridd’s fight for freedom of speech on climate change. The case, James Cook University v Peter Vincent Ridd, has enormous significance for the future of Australia’s universities and scientific institutions.

    Ridd’s case is a dramatic illustration of the free speech crisis in Australian universities….. It confirms what many people have suspected for a long time: Australia’s universities are no longer institutions encouraging the rigorous exercise of intellectual freedom and the scientific method in pursuit of truth.”

    I wonder why Auntie also doesn’t want us to know?

    • spangled drongo says:

      A lot more in the Australian at that link and a lot more from Jennifer:

    • Stu says:

      The Oz and JM seem to have a different take on this story than what the judge wrote in the initial judgement. Presumably JCU had some good advice to decide it was worth appealing. And the law can be weird so we will see how the appeal turns out. Does anyone have information on the case he presented in opposing the appeal?

      Judge Vasta wrote;

      “1. Some have thought that this trial was about freedom of speech and intellectual freedom. Others have thought that this trial was about the manner in which academics should conduct themselves. Some observers may have thought that this trial was about the use of non- offensive words when promulgating scientific ideas. Media reports have considered that this trial was about silencing persons with controversial or unpopular views.
      2. Though many of those issues were canvased and discussed throughout the hearing of this matter, this trial was about none of the above. Rather, this trial was purely and simply about the proper construction of a clause in an Enterprise Agreement. Whilst the Court acknowledges that there may be consequences that touch upon these other issues because of the Court’s construction of that clause, none of those consequences can play any part in the determination of the proper construction of that clause.
      3. The clause in question is cl.14 of the James Cook University Enterprise Agreement. It is headed “Intellectual Freedom”. It, and it alone, is the focus of this judgement.”

      I note that in some of his judgement Vasta referred to the scientific method and the need to challenge ideas. He even referred to Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein as examples of taking on the status quo. I do hope our Ridd did not try and equate his pronouncements with those two heavy weights of science in his case as he appears well short of warranting that status.

      • spangled drongo says:

        Naturally the judge would be guided by, and stick rigorously to, the agreement that was signed and agreed to, but do you seriously think that alters the fact that universities desire these agreements that remove FOS?

        Just look at what is currently going on at UQ:

        “An Australian university that suspends a student for protesting against Chinese Communist Party influence is neither Australian nor a university. On Friday, a University of Queensland panel decided to bar student Drew Pavlou until 2022. It prevents the politics student from completing his final year. Thus far, UQ has protected the faceless cowards who made the appalling decision. They are unaccountable to the Australian public that pays their wages. At the time of writing, they had not provided a written explanation for his expulsion. The government cannot sit idly by and allow it.”

        And guess what?

        Our darling ABC totally avoid this very newsworthy item.

        Why is that, I wonder?

      • spangled drongo says:

        “I do hope our Ridd did not try and equate his pronouncements with those two heavy weights of science in his case as he appears well short of warranting that status.”

        Are you seriously claiming that Darwin and Einstein knew more about the GBR than Peter Ridd does?

        • Stu says:

          Since you ask, most likely Einstein didn’t but possibly Darwin did. Apparently in spite of his noise Ridd does not actually have any qualifications in the biology of coral, he is a physicist. If he has I am sure you will provide the link. His expertise seems to be in sediments and currents etc often supported by particular interests such as the Queensland cane growers and constructors/operators of coal loaders on the adjoining coast. It seems his criticism of fellow researchers has been answered in the published journals after which he relied on media attention rather than further publication. There are claims that he rejects conventional science regarding climate change.

          • Boambee John says:


            “often supported by particular interests such as the Queensland cane growers and constructors/operators of coal loaders on the adjoining coast”

            Back to your usual ad hom technique?

            “It seems his criticism of fellow researchers has been answered in the published journals”

            The same journals which accepted research now known to be faulty?

          • spangled drongo says:

            ” Ridd does not actually have any qualifications in the biology of coral”

            Please stop blithering and shooting the messenger, stu.

            I wonder why JCU employed him for decades as their coral expert.

            And if you paid attention he deals precisely with the claims by JCU of farmers polluting the reef even though the natural runoff causes most of the immediate problem and always has, yet the greater part of the main GBR is virtually not affected by that runoff.

            And do you have a link to show how much Darwin knew about coral? Or any evidence other than your usual foolish assumptions?

            “There are claims that he rejects conventional “science” [as in “consensual groupthink”] regarding climate change.”

            There, fixed it for you. I’m sure that’s what you really meant.

            You are also way off-thread but did you forget to add that you also have not been able to find this story on our darling ABC?

          • Stu says:

            Sd, “I wonder why JCU employed him for decades as their coral expert.” Are you sure about that, not the decades bit, the “their coral expert” bit?

            “…….natural runoff causes most of the immediate problem and always has, yet the greater part of the main GBR is virtually not affected by that runoff.” I am not a reef scientist but you seem to be agreeing there is a problem on the reef. If so and “..always has..” that is a curious statement. If it always has, it should not be a problem at all, except for the pesticides and fertilisers which are more recent.

            “And do you have a link to show how much Darwin knew about coral? “ Of course not, it’s a joke Joyce!

          • spangled drongo says:

            I probably should have put “problem” in inverted commas but I did think you would have been familiar with JCU’s fixation with them.

            And you’re quite sure Darwin didn’t use computer models?

            Things are looking up.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Our ABC have no problems in misrepresenting history and promoting lies as facts. Particularly as regards Bruce Pascoe’s aboriginal history for school children:!/digibook/3122184/bruce-pascoe-aboriginal-agriculture-technology-and-ingenuity

  • spangled drongo says:

    Chris Kenny from the Australian describes the ABC bias and obsessive groupthink.

    Thanks to Alan Moran:

    “The internal ABC emails detailed in this column last Monday demonstrated the organisation’s obsession with climate change, as well as some of the ignorance around the topic. That night, the national broadcaster’s premier current affairs program, Four Corners, amplified these faults.

    The program showcased the simplistic, incurious and deceptive way the ABC covers climate change. It opened with horrific bushfire vision accompanied by dramatic ­music to exploit our Black Summer’s tenuous link to global warming.

    Reporter Michael Brissenden noted it was “one of the longest and most widespread fire seasons in our history” without, apparently, pondering the significance of the words “one of”, before then adding it was “fuelled by a changing climate”.

    “Still, the program made no ­attempt to interrogate scientific ­issues beyond Brissenden’s laughable insistence that this year will be a climate “tipping point”.

    “How many of them have we had now?”

    • Boambee John says:


      “before then adding it was “fuelled by a changing climate”.

      And there was I thinking that it was trees that were providing the fuel.

      No emotionalism in that wording at all! Not even a pretence of objectivity.

  • Neville says:

    More clueless nonsense from their ABC trying their best to deflect the heat away from their friends and supporters in the CCP.
    When will the Morrison govt start to cut back funding and do so every year until this far left mob of extremists start to wake up to themselves?
    And pity the poor taxpayers of a conservative leaning who’ve seen their point of view mocked and ridiculed by these mental ABC midgets over the last 50 years.
    More power to Sherri Markson, Chris Kenny and the Sky news team who’ve done their level best to give us the latest data + Science on the origins of CV-19.

  • Neville says:

    Wonderful to see Matt Canavan take on the extremists and calling for OZ to pull out of the 2015 Paris COP 21 BS and fraud con trick.
    Don’t these stupid lefties understand very simple kindy sums that prove that world co2 levels continue to soar since DEC 2015? And at a higher rate. Zali Steggall is clueless and still believes that gas emits the same co2 emissions as coal. See her ignorant reply to Fitzgibbon at the link.

    • spangled drongo says:

      Thanks Neville.

      To think she was elected because of her supposed “climate change” knowledge:

      Ms Steggall continued [on ABC Q&A]: “That is an absolute fact — gas is as high in terms of emissions as coal. If you are absolutely committed to net zero, you cannot be advocating for more gas.”

      These people are an absolute liability with basically no idea.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Just as the ABC has basically no idea:

    “The ABC started the COVID-19 pandemic giving free rein to health reporter Dr Norman Swan and his regular “Coronacasts”. He claimed on Q&A in March that Australia was only two weeks behind Italy on the infection curve. Since then ABC journalists have led calls for ever more work shutdowns, continued school closures and higher welfare payments, all from the security of their government-funded jobs.

    Many at the ABC seem to support state premiers who want to keep their borders shut. Most seem to agree the $60bn saving ­revealed by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last Friday week on the government’s JobKeeper program is a windfall that should be spent on payments to artists, short-term casuals and foreign workers. There’s not much ABC advocacy for economic recovery, new jobs and the growth to drive them.

    Conservative commentators have pointed to the danger of blindly accepting computer modelling that has been wrong about both the spread of the virus, the number of deaths and now the number of people who would lose jobs. Many have suggested this should highlight the risks of relying on computer models to justify action on climate change.”

    More here:

  • Ian MacCulloch says:

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas; it has some interesting chemical behaviours; It dissolves best in cold water and is released when the water heats up. Now that eminent blogger, Jo Nova picked up the salient fact that CO2 levels in the ice core trailed the changes in ice ages; sea levels and the rest of the regalia by some 600 years. The identification of this singular piece of information puts paid to the role of CO2 as a driver of atmospheric change but rather CO2 has the role of a camp follower.
    And there is Dr Roy Spencer’s calculation that the saturation of CO2 is slightly less than 500 ppm in his 11 April 2019 blog. It will be interesting to see if his projections are correct given the near term atmospheric CO2 readings from Mauna Loa.

    • Stu says:

      Ian, you wrote “CO2 levels in the ice core trailed the changes in ice ages; sea levels and the rest of the regalia by some 600 years. “. Could you then explain to me what changes occurred 600 years ago that are now showing up in current CO2 levels (I am assuming that current atmospheric levels will show up in the ice cores now being deposited)? This is relevant given that current levels over 400ppm are generally acknowledged to be the first such occurrence in more than a million years. Perhaps the intervention of mankind has changed the timings!

      • Boambee John says:


        The Medieval Warm Period (which alarmists say did not occur) ended around 1250.

        When did the atmospheric CO2 level start to increase? Perhaps around 100 to 150 years ago? Close enough for computer modellers?

  • Ian MacCulloch says:

    Boambee John is on the mail. All CO2 for climate change protagonists have trouble explaining this period. Because it is before 1910 then neither the CSIRO of BOM have to explain it in the context of their record keeping. In fact the CO2 levels have ranged between 150 to 500 ppm over the last 800,000 years (ice cores). The lowest CO2 readings were recorded when temperatures were at their lowest thus confirming the absorption capability of the water of CO2 when at its coldest. Temperature rising sees the release of CO2. When sampling of ice core is taken over very small intervals it was not uncommon for levels to exceed 400 ppm of CO2 just after the Little Ice Age. There is some fascinating raw data available to view on these aspects.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Andrew Bolt points out the oh so obvious treachery and stupidity of our ABC:

    ABC presenters are pouring petrol on Australia by peddling wildly exaggerated claims on Aboriginal deaths in custody, and hailing “our own” George Floyd.

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