Happy birthday and many happy returns Sarem, Penelope Grace, Ruby Bulatao Madera, Misay Lim and Tony Nguyen. Born on the same day, across the years Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
Mark Latham responded today in comments below this post today with a silly personal attack based on a misrepresentation. He did not even attempt to answer the points I’d made in the post.
Just before 7pm, he rang me to claim:
- I’d “censored” his comment. (I don’t actually do the moderating on this blog, and his was one of about 120 comments still awaiting moderation. It is now up.)- I’d made “100 allegations” against Gillard, and suggested they were all false. (Asked to name just one of my allegations, he failed three times to correctly state what I’d said. He then gave up what he called a “silly” game - which others would call backing up what you’ve alleged.)- I’d failed to report a crime - Mark Baker’s alleged breach of client confidentiality. (Which breach? Which client of Mark’s exactly? What crime? Latham then conceded there was no crime actually involved.)- that nothing that could be alleged in the AWU case could be said to be a [potential] crime. (Fraud isn’t a crime, I asked? And is failure to report a fraud is not an offence? So police have and are investigating what allegations then?)- that no proven crime could have been reported to the police by Gillard. (That’s not the test, Mark. No crime is ever “proven” when it’s being reported to the police, as I tried to tell him. Only complaints or suspicions of possible criminal activity are reported. Then it’s up to the police and the courts. Incidentally, Latham ignored the apparent duty of Gillard to also notify the AWU.)
After 10 minutes of Latham’s aggression, which I’d been pleasantly spared the last few times we spoke, I twigged. I asked if he was actually planning to report on our conversation, which I’d naturally taken to be as private as our last. Only then did he confess that he was indeed planning to do so. He said that by noting early that he been “doing” a story about me, that covered the matter adequately. I should have known, he said.
At that stage I told him I thought his behaviour unethical. He had had an obligation to properly inform me that our conversation was on the record. Clearly I would not have engaged him in what was, on his side, a clearly irrational, angry and hectoring conversation had I known he planned to write it up.
I also told him his arguments were absurd, and I had no interest in listening to a Latham rant. End of conversation.
Is this how columnists of the Australian Financial Review conduct interviews? We should be told.
PS: Needless to say, I have not and do not claim Gillard knew of her boyfriend’s scams or profited from them.
With Steve Price from 8pm. Listen live here.
Last night: on the royal commission into sexual abuse of children. Listen here.
I look forward to getting more distinguished company in the dock with me under our absurd Racial Discrimination Act:
TONY Abbott has described Australia’s first indigenous lower house MP Ken Wyatt as an “urban Aboriginal” and says parliament must do more to encourage “authentic” indigenous representatives.Mr Abbott said he was “very proud” that Mr Wyatt had entered federal politics as a member of the Coalition but said he hoped Northern Territory indigenous MP Alison Anderson would also join his team in order to better represent “the ancient cultures of central Australia”.That said, the actual quote is a little less provocative than reported:“I think it would be terrific if, as well as having an urban Aboriginal in our parliament, we had an Aboriginal person from central Australia, an authentic representative of the ancient cultures of central Australia in the parliament,” he said.Abbott and I will have a vice chancellor for company:A PROMINENT Aboriginal politician has declared elder Shane Mortimer should “shrug off” remarks by a Canberra academic that he looks like a white man and get on with fixing the real problems affecting indigenous society.Northern Territory MP Bess Nungarrayi Price labelled as “silly” Mr Mortimer’s concerns over the comments by former University of Canberra vice-chancellor Don Aitken…In August, Professor Aitkin, a former National Capital Authority chairman, wrote on his blog he was attending a “now obligatory” welcome to country ceremony given by Mr Mortimer, who ”looks about as Aboriginal as I do”…Mr Mortimer has launched a Federal Magistrates Court damages claim under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which conservative columnist Andrew Bolt was found to have contravened when he labelled a group of indigenous leaders self-serving, light-skinned Aborigines.Price might have to join us, too:The member for Stuart said welcome to country ceremonies were not particularly meaningful to traditional people anyway.“We don’t do that in communities. It’s just a recent thing,” Ms Price said.“It’s just people who are trying to grapple at something that they believe should be traditional.”What? Aborigines doing welcome to country ceremonies aren’t traditional? Can that still be said in this country?
Julia Gillard last year launched Solar Dawn, an “important” project to achieve our “clean energy future”:
Together, Solar Dawn and the Moree Solar Farm will bring Australia closer to a cleaner energy future.... The Australian Government is helping drive this transition by directly investing in these and other projects under the $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative, through the expanded Renewable Energy Target and by pricing carbon.
Your money thrown away:
Solar Dawn will be one of the largest power plants of its kind in the world as well as the most environmentally responsible, with at least 85 per cent of its power generation to be emissions-free.A total of $464 million in federal funding will go towards that project, worth an estimated $1.2 billion.
THE Solar Dawn Consortium has confirmed it no longer plans to develop its beleaguered Western Downs facility, dashing any hopes of resurrecting the nation’s largest solar energy project.The $1.2 billion Solar Dawn project - which was to begin construction of a 250 megawatt solar thermal power plant near Chinchilla in 2013 - was dealt a blow earlier this year when the Newman Government pulled out $75 million in funding.
(Thanks to reader John.)
Police have asked lawyers for former AWU official Ralph Blewitt if he’ll talk to them about the slush-fund Julia Gillard helped her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson set up in 1993.
Blewitt’s lawyer, Robert Galbally, of Galbally Rolfe, says Blewitt was “happy” to give police a statement if it included a “built in” assurance the evidence would not be used against him.
He said a Victoria Police sergeant wanting to talk to Blewitt was now seeking instructions on whether this could be done.
The slush fund, deceptively registered as the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association, was used by Wilson to misappropriate $400,000, some of which was used to buy a house for Wilson under Blewitt’s name.
Gillard helped to register the slush fund, witnessed a document giving Wilson power of attorney to buy the property allegedly on Blewitt’s behalf, attended the auction and is said by Slater & Gordon in a Press Council complaint to have worked on the conveyancing.
Gillard says she did not know her boyfriend’s frauds, did not profit from them, was not in charge of the conveyancing file, did not operate the slush fund and did not go to police when she became aware of Wilson’s scams, allegedly because inquiries were already on foot.
Blewitt, currently in Malaysia, is understood from other sources to be prepared to discuss the slush fund, the purchase of the Fitzroy house, the sale of the house and the delivery of cash to Wilson at another Melbourne property.
The investigation came in response to the laying of a complaint by Michael Smith, dumped by Fairfax Radio after asking Gillard “unauthorised questions” on the scandal.
Julia Gillard claimed she did not do the conveyancing on a property bought for her boyfriend using a power of attorney she witnessed with stolen money from the slush fund she helped to register:
JOURNALIST: The former AWU official, Peter Trebilco, has said that if he’d been told by Slater & Gordon back in 1995, 1996, they could have acted about that slush fund more quickly. So the question for you is why didn’t you communicate to the AWU what you knew about the creation of that fund?PM: ... My role here was as a lawyer. I provided advice on the incorporation of an association. I was never connected with the operation of any fund. Never connected with the operation of any fund. I was not an office bearer of the association. I was not involved in its activities. I was not involved in any bank accounts it may have held. I was not an official of the AWU. I was not in charge of the conveyancing file. So you are effectively asking me why didn’t I report to authorities things I did not know.
Mr Latham has taken issue with an editorial in The Australian Financial Review yesterday, saying it misrepresented key facts about the Prime Minister’s role in the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association fund when she was a lawyer in the 1990s. The editorial followed a Weekend Financial Review article which examined allegations against Ms Gillard about the fund…Mr Latham said the AFR editorial misrepresented the report by saying it raised unanswered questions about the conveyancing...
But Slater & Gordon now appears to contradict Gillard’s claim even as it goes to the Press Council, increasingly being used as a weapon by the Left to stifle reporting:
But Slater & Gordon managing director Andrew Grech has confirmed Ms Gillard ‘’acted directly’’ in the conveyancing work on the property purchase. The confirmation came in documents lodged with the Australian Press Council in support of a complaint against Fairfax newspapers and this journalist over reporting of the firm’s role in the Australian Workers Union ‘’slush fund’’ scandal…In a ‘’summary of issues’’ submitted to the Press Council, Mr Grech objected to accusations by lawyers representing Mr Blewitt that Slater & Gordon was stalling the release of an unofficial file created by Ms Gillard detailing work on the incorporation.‘’The only documentary evidence Slater & Gordon was in possession of was that Ms Gillard acted directly for Mr Blewitt in relation to a conveyancing matter, a union dispute and a defamation matter,’’ he said.
Gillard clearly misleads in claiming she simply gave some legal advice on the incorporation of the slush fund and no further involvement in its activities, which included using stolen money to pay for a house for her boyfriend:
She drafted the power-of-attorney [boyfriend Bruce] Wilson used to buy the unit in the name of his crony, Ralph Blewitt, at an auction she attended with Wilson. She organised finance from a Slater & Gordon loan facility (in addition to more than $100,000 siphoned from the AWU association) and she rounded off the work by signing, ‘’fee declined, Julia’’. And later she was a regular guest in the premises Wilson made his Melbourne home.When asked at her August media conference whether she had a problem because she couldn’t rule out that money from the association had been used to pay for renovations on a house she owned in Abbotsford, Gillard snapped: ‘’I paid for my renovations.’’ Yet when challenged by the senior partners at Slater & Gordon in 1995, she could not ‘’categorically rule out’’ that association or union money had been used for work on her house.
How could the waiving of fees be Gillard’s call if she was not in charge of the conveyancing?
(Gillard says she did not know of her boyfriend’s scams and did not profit from them.)
Reader Ben wonders if anyone should be rushing in a request for more Slater & Gordon documents before they disappear for good:
Only sexists could doubt such an honest woman:
(Thanks to reader Grant.)
Mark Latham thinks the best way to defend Gillard is to smear Chris Kenny:
In watching, know this about Latham’s attacks:
- Mark Baker must have an impeccable source for his allegations on the contents of the letter Gillard sent the WA Corporate Affairs Commission about her boyfriend’s slush fund since not only has Gillard not denied what Baker reported, but The Age lawyers are satisfied enough to have allowed him to publish. Logic suggests the source is the publicly redacted parts of the record of interview between Gillard and her Slater & Gordon partners in 1995 - an interview in which Gillard was questioned over the file which had been found and about which the partners wanted answers. I have little doubt Baker has a copy of that record of interview, no doubt at all that he read it, and none on who showed him.- Latham says only a “flint-hearted Tory” would shop their ex-boyfriend to the police over an alleged fraud. This ignores the fact that Gillard was actually her boyfriend’s solicitor, as well as a solicitor for the AWU he’d ripped off, and she had a clear professional duty as a solicitor as well as a citizen to notify authorities - and the union - of his possible crimes the minute she suspected him. That she did not simply underscores her gross misjudgement and her conflict of interest in having her boyfriend as her client and that of Slater & Gordon. Further, Latham overlooks the apparently false explanation Gillard gives for not having gone to the police - that there were inquiries in place already.- Latham asserts as fact that Gillard was not in charge of the conveyancing. Slater & Gordon itself suggests she had in fact a direct role in the conveyancing, and Gillard is recorded has having declined the fee for the work she did. She was also involved in key aspects of the purchase of the property, as explained above.
All Latham’s yelling, abuse and attempted intimidation (and the talking over the sole woman on the panel) does not disguise the fact that his defence of Gillard was based not on evidence but bluster, red herrings and very suspect information.
While nothing beyond circumstantial evidence has emerged to challenge Gillard’s insistence that she did nothing wrong - and knew nothing wrong was being done - her account of events remains questionable in several key areas: her role in establishing the AWU association, her role in the purchase of the Fitzroy unit and her recent insistence that none of the stolen funds slushed in her direction.Gillard says she only gave routine advice on the establishment of the association, but, as The Age revealed last month, a letter she wrote to the West Australian Corporate Affairs Commission in mid-1992 was instrumental in overcoming the commission’s objections to its formation - supposedly to promote workplace safety and training rather than the union election ‘’slush fund’’ she later conceded it was. Now Slater & Gordon is unable to find the unofficial incorporation file kept by Gillard, and a corresponding file held in the WA archives was recently found to be empty - neither of which supports the wistful contention of Gillard backers that this is the end of that matter.
Many in the Left seem to feel entitled to the organs of the state - and to using them to promote their politics. I mentioned the Left’s takeover of journalism courses yesterday. Today’s example comes from South Australia, where public servants were yesterday emailed this message, inviting them to a lecture to take up the themes of an Abbott-smearing speech by Julia Gillard and rally to her side:
From: Information Message from [mailto:DPC-INFORMATION@LIST.SA.GOV.AU] On Behalf Of DPC:Information
Sent: Monday, 12 November 2012 18:21
Subject: A Switch in Time: restoring respect to Australian politicsA Switch in Time: restoring respect to Australian politicsPresented by Mary Crooks AO for the Don Dunstan FoundationDid the Prime Minister’s recent speech in Parliament (that went international) strike a chord with you?
If so, come to Elder Hall on Monday 19 November and join in the conversation…DATE: Monday 19 November, 2012Mary Crooks argues that sexism, inflammatory journalism and political inaccuracies are taking their toll on ‘having a fair go’. The time has come to take a stand and to restore respect for democratic principles and work for the common good.
TIME: 5.45pm for a 6.00pm start
VENUE: Elder Hall, North Tce, University of Adelaide
TICKETS: $20 General, $15 Concession/DDF subscriber
“In a frighteningly short space of time, a series of interrelated, negative forces have come into play (in Australian politics) and are taking their toll…” The Sydney Morning Herald
Launched in September 2012 and published by the Victorian Women’s Trust, A Switch in Time, is a call to action in the Trust’s long standing quest for gender equality, interest in strengthening our democracy and commitment to care for the Earth. Mary Crooks AO is the Executive Director of the Victorian Women’s Trust.
Join the Don Dunstan Foundation to be inspired and to gain ideas on how to play a constructive part in redirecting the negative, destructive undercurrents of the current political landscape towards a more productive and civil discourse.“This message has been authorised by Dr Tahnya Donaghy, Deputy Chief Executive on behalf of Jim Hallion, Chief Executive, Department of the Premier and Cabinet”
Does the director of the Department of Premier and Cabinet also circulate messages of support for Liberals? Invitations to group-love sessions for Tony Abbott?
Are Liberals actually welcome in the South Australian public service?
(Thanks to reader R.)
Here’s the theme of Crooks’ message - that criticism of this Prime Minister’s record of deceit is sexist, criticism of her carbon tax is driven only be the corrupt or the partisan, and claims (by Gillard, among others) of dangerous man-made global warming shouldn’t be questioned:
The gendered attacks directed towards the Prime Minister are disrespectful - to her and women and girls generally. Levelling constructive criticism of government policies and decisions is one thing; relentless, gendered attack as has dogged the Prime Minister since her election is another. Different standards are applied to her. We are told that she lacks ‘’authority’’, that her leadership is ‘’tainted’’ and that she has ‘’breached the faith of the public’’ even though this is not the first occasion that a leader’s undertaking has altered....A great weight of scientific evidence warns that our planet is in peril. Yet sectional business interests, parts of the media and a politically expedient campaign against carbon pricing have sought to discredit this evidence. Even scientists and other professionals who spend their lives in the service of the community have become targets of violent abuse and threats. In eroding public confidence in climate science, these negative elements elevate self-interest at the expense of the common good - creating confusion, mistrust and a diminishing of the reservoir of community goodwill that previously existed regarding action on climate change.The combined weight of these developments poses an immediate and real threat to our democratic culture.
Really? What’s truly dangerous to our democratic culture is to use government resources to ram this illiberal demand for the stifling of criticism of the government down the throats of people who depend on government for their salary.
Scott Prasser, author of Royal Commissions and Public Inquiries in Australia, may be hoping against hope that this won’t be a witch-hunt:
IT is not surprising given the pressure from within her own party, numerous interest groups and concerned citizens that Julia Gillard has announced a royal commission into the child abuse issue across religious, state and not-for-profit sector institutions…What exactly is this royal commission to do? The terms of reference and membership will be vital in ensuring this royal commission is not being manipulated for political purposes or be a “witch-hunt” for some group....The public nature of royal commissions and that they can take evidence in the form of hearsay and scuttlebutt, also means that those mentioned at hearings may have their reputations permanently damaged…[in addition], as royal commissions are arms of executive government and are not part of the legal system, they have largely avoided the extensive normal checks and balances imposed on the courts in terms of appeal or review… Justice Ronald Sackville, experienced in chairing royal commissions, believes “investigative royal commissions constitute a serious and continuing threat to civil liberties in Australia."…The allegations about child abuse in the Catholic Church and other institutions raise grave concerns, of course. However, if this royal commission is not going to result in a media circus and a feeding frenzy of prejudice and revenge of unprecedented scope then the Gillard government must take time to determine its aims, its powers and its membership so that this inquiry is conducted not just effectively, but with due respect to everyone’s rights.
Chris Merritt warns real justice may not be done:
A commonwealth royal commission ... might provide psychological benefits to the victims of sexual abuse. It might shine a spotlight on priests and others who have protected pedophiles…But if the goal is to lock up criminals by uncovering fresh evidence, there is a real risk of failure… Even before Julia Gillard unveiled her plans, concerns were emerging about the fact that evidence gathered using the coercive powers of a royal commission cannot generally be used in subsequent criminal proceedings.
And before Gillard gave the inquiry a focus that goes beyond the Catholic Church, concerns had also emerged that the commission’s hearings would be used to smear this church with allegations that would never stand up in court…“There is clearly a political, anti-Catholic agenda here,” says Melbourne’s Peter Faris QC…Terry O’Gorman, president of the Australian Council of Civil Liberties, says the extreme powers that are vested in royal commissions mean great care will need to be taken to ensure it does not become a witch-hunt.
The Catholic church could not dare stand against a process that will cost it millions and become a weapon against it, however the evidence falls:
CATHOLIC archbishops last night supported the decision to set up a royal commission into institutional child abuse, but denied the existence of systemic sexual abuse within their church.“Sexual abuse is not confined to the Catholic Church. Tragically, it occurs in families, churches, community groups, schools and other organisations,” said a statement agreed by the archbishops.“While there were significant problems concerning some dioceses and some religious orders, talk of a systemic problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is ill-founded and inconsistent with the facts,” they said on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops ConferenceThe nation’s most senior Catholic, Archbishop of Sydney George Pell, released a separate statement, saying “the air should be cleared and the truth uncovered”.
The day after the royal commission is announced and already a fiance of a government minister turns this into a witch-hunt against the Catholic Church itself - throwing in a cheap slur of the Opposition as racist:
One other thing - if the church is going to be serious about this issue it should examine the question of celibacy, in the same way it is looking at the question of whether the confessional should continue to be off-limits for the reporting of crimes. So much of the problem would seem to stem from insisting on the nonsense that you cannot be close to God if you engage in physical pleasure. No wonder these blokes are so bent out of shape…A few years ago the federal government staged an intervention in Aboriginal communities because some black people can’t be trusted around kids. The church on the other hand gets tax-free status, millions of dollars in government funding, and the ability to influence public policy, such as its successful insistence on deciding under law who should and shouldn’t be allowed to get married.
But Barney Zwartz is right to note the Catholic Church has a culture to confront:
The argument by Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, at the weekend that the Catholic Church was no worse than other organisations, and that calls were motivated by anti-Catholic prejudice, was clearly self-serving, and it is appropriate that it fell on deaf ears.
As the Victorian inquiry has been told, nine out of 10 cases of clergy sexual abuse involve Catholic priests or brothers. But victims of sexual abuse in other institutions, whether state orphanages or Jewish schools, must also have the opportunity to tell their stories.
The witch-hunt against the Catholic church actually started within hours. Check this astonishing debate on the ABC’s The Drum - and bravo to Sue Cato for calling it out.
No need to wait for an inquiry or hard evidence. The accusation becomes the proof. The Catholic Church itself becomes the sin.
Rhys Muldoon, actor and commentator:
Joe Aston, Australian Financial Review:The Catholic Church are really at the pointy end of this… I think it’s time to actually really have a look at stopping the tax-free status of the churches all round, most sincerely. I don’t think they deserve it. They have betrayed our trust.There’s been a cover up… The Age said the one in 15 Catholic priests are pedphiles. I would have thought that something should be done… Why can’t we go for the Catholic Church?
It’s quite clear that almost exclusively this is an issue within the Catholic church… A lot of this goes down to outdated practices in the Catholic church, the celibacy of priests. Other churches have been able to move with the times.
(Thanks to reader Ben.)
Theodore Dalrymple on the trashing of Western culture in Britain, too. Example - the elevation of serial pedophile and professional vulgarian Jimmy Savile:
The real scandal of Savile was that the BBC ever employed him in the first place. Although personally a highly intelligent man, he was a militant vulgarian, indeed vulgar stupidity was his stock in trade, his only real or distinguishing quality. He was not unselfconsciously vulgar, however, or vulgar because he did not know better. His mission in life was to vulgarise the culture of his country and in this he was triumphantly successful. To the last day of his life he dressed in garish vulgar clothes and expressed himself crudely. And by seeming (and very conspicuously) to do a lot of charitable work, he gave vulgarity a good name, as if it were somehow associated with a warm heart and a generous spirit, unlike restraint and refinement. Of course, he was not solely responsible for Britain’s strenuously and studiously low-IQ popular culture, but he was an important pioneer of it.He could not have succeeded by his own exhibitionist efforts alone; on the contrary, he was made into a “star” in effect by the state, or at any rate by the expenditure of public monies. It was the hierarchs of the BBC who promoted him and turned him into a national institution as well as a millionaire although by doing so they were breaking the charter of the very organisation for which they worked. They were tired, however, of the difficult task of maintaining artistic and intellectual standards; it was easier to provide what George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four called “prolefeed”, using the argument that it was democratic to do so, though in fact the demand for the vulgarisation exemplified by Savile never came from below…The award of a knighthood to him as a form of public recognition was a deeply subversive act. It suggested that, provided you did good works (as they then seemed, and no one is more sentimental about conspicuous good works than the British), it mattered little how you comported yourself publicly.
Meanwhile, in Australia:
A GROUP of students from an exclusive Gold Coast private girls’ school, including the mayor’s daughter, partied in a bikie clubhouse after a formal graduation dinner on the weekend.The girls, aged 17 and 18, were bussed to the clubhouse of the Nomads outlaw motorcycle gang in Carrara after the dinner at the Gold Coast convention centre on Saturday night...
Filmmaker Chris Tangey shot this footage of a naturally occurring event. But no matter how clearly he demonstrated it had nothing to do with man-made warming, Al Gore’s team would just not accept natural as an answer. This exchange of emails is a damning insight into the Gore mindset.
Gore team’s first attempt to buy the footage for propaganda purposes:
On 25/09/2012, at 2:52 AM, Jill Martin wrote:Hi Chris,I work for former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Mr. Gore recently saw the amazing footage of the fire tornado taken on September 11th, and is interested in showing it during some of the presentations he gives on environmental topics.Could you give me an idea of what you might charge to license that footage to us? Here are some details about how it would be used:Usage: in live, PowerPoint-type presentations to live audiences
Term: for up to five years
Context: Mr. Gore often shows photos and video of wildfires in his presentations. This video would augment that section.Thank you very much,JillJill Martin | Office of the Honorable Al Gore
Jill@xxxxFrom: chris tangeyDate: 30 September 2012 5:29:32 PM ACSTTo: Jill MartinSubject: Re: Licensing the “fire tornado” film clilpJill,Sorry for the late reply but I have been in Melbourne on a shoot down there.I’ve now had time to look at your offer to license my footage, no doubt for a substantial amount of money, and have carefully considered it.
Having now had time in the last couple of days to research Mr. Gore and his usage of third party material previously I have to say I am a little concerned about the context in which my footage might be used.To be honest, in terms of a global warming/climate change presentation it is difficult for me to imagine a fire event less relevant. This was, by all accounts and as reported, a highly localized event. The fire occurred in a patch of highly flammable spinifex grass, renowned for its intense heat, which had remained unburnt for a period of over 50 years, possibly causing an unprecedented build up of oils and resins in that small area. The local cattle ranchers had been protecting the habitat of the nearby mesa, Mt.Conner right up until this month’s fire.On top of that it has been reported that the 10 day-old fire it emerged from was deliberately lit, not a natural event. In fact with not a cloud in the sky that day or even the slightest breeze, the only “weather” around had to come from the very-much contained area of the fire itself.I am aware that you may have missed the reporting on the very localized nature of this firestorm. However, in any case, I am confused as to why you would offer to buy a license to use it at all unless you had conducted even elementary research which might indicate that this Mt. Conner event had direct linkage to global warming/climate change. I am happy to hear your response, but I can’t personally imagine one that I would find convincing.Having taken all of the above into account I have had to make a decision not based on monetary reward but on what is the right thing to do. Hopefully I have demonstrated that I have not dismissed this offer lightly. For me, if I were to allow this footage to be used in an out of context scenario, even by insinuation, I just wouldn’t feel right.In fact if I were to use it myself in any climate change framework I would feel like I were being deliberately deceptive, so please thank the Vice President for your offer, but I must respectfully decline.Kind regardsChris Tangey
Gore team’s second attempt to buy the footage for propaganda purposes:
On 07/11/2012, at 1:04 PM, Andrea Smith wrote:Hi Chris!Wasn’t sure if this is the same Chris who shot the fire tornado? But I was curious if Alice Springs Television still controlled the rights to the footage?I’m a producer working on some documentary pieces for a nonprofit organization doing an internet broadcast, and was wondering how much it would
be to license some of the footage?Thank you so much for your help and time!Best wishes,Andrea L. Smith
Producer/The Climate Reality Project
andrea.xxxxxxxOn Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 4:28 AM, chris tangey
I mean no disrespect, but I have to say that at best your organisation has some serious internal communication problems.At worst, Mr. Gore is now requesting these images “through the back door”, and I note in your email that you completely omit mentioning Mr. Gore or the specific intentions you have for its usage.As I’m sure you are aware I have previously refused a request for this footage from your Founder and Chairman on the grounds that there is no evidence to support your proposed usage.That is, that this intense, but incredibly localised, event has any relationship whatsoever to climate change/global warming. In fact from the expert advice I have received, I believe the evidence is to the contrary.I am happy to be proved wrong, but that appears highly unlikely.In any case, even if “the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing” in Mr. Gore’s organisation, I again have to ask the question; Why would you request this footage if you do not have firm evidence to prove that this particular event was caused by, or was in any way attributable to, global or even regional climate change?If a project is bold enough to call itself “Climate Reality, “ then I would reasonably expect a great deal of fact and reality attached to it… Are all your requests for visual material to support climate change presentations made without any prior requirement for supporting evidence?I must say that this continuing episode has adversely affected my view of those promoting anthropological climate change , and I now view any programs about it with a more sceptical eye.So, yet again, I cannot in all conscience accept your offer, for any amount.SincerelyChris TangeyOn 08/11/2012, at 4:05 AM, Andrea Smith wrote:Chris,First of all, I in no way meant to disrespect or offend you. I am an independent, freelance producer, and I don’t think anyone is trying to acquire the footage through “the back door.” I can assure you that the Climate Reality people have been very very tough on us as far as what stories we are able to cover. For instance, I have produced a piece on climate change and coffee in Colombia with scientists from CIAT, so it is very grounded in science, and both fascinating and terrifying as to what is happening all over this planet.The program this year is to discuss “Dirty Weather” and “Extremes” of weather. It’s an open point for discussion for the scientists and panelists that will be participating. It’s to invite conversation and discussion. As a freelance producer I had no idea when I started this project that the US is the only country in the world that has an active Climate Denier movement - every other country in the world has accepted this as a fact and is moving forward to do something about it. From what I understand, Australia has implemented a very innovative carbon tax and has a number of other programs in place in many of their cities. I’m somewhat embarrassed I live in a country where we so greedily use up so much of the earth’s resources and seem immune to it.Anyway, it’s an incredible piece of footage and fantastic you captured it. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit your country twice for extended periods of time, including Alice Springs. I can easily say Australia is one of my favorite places in the world. Again, no offense meant, and none taken. I hope you do have the opportunity to watch part of the programming and that you find merit in it.Very best wishes,Andrea L. SmithFrom: chris tangey
Date: 8 November 2012 11:25:39 AM ACST
To: Andrea Smith
Subject: Re: Firenado footageAndrea,Thanks for your response, I’m sure from your comments below that you are personally committed to the cause of anthropological climate change, but as copyright owner my primary concern is that any usage of this material should be scientifically valid and in context. I find that your response hasn’t addressed my specific questions on whether it would be scientifically appropriate to use it in an extreme weather context .As has been widely reported, it was such a highly localised event it was most likely caused by the fire itself, let alone any external “weather” and certainly not anything on a climatic scale.The cattle station owners (who have been on that property for 55 years) have indicated that is their firm belief, and that in fact its heat and severity was caused by the fact that they have deliberately protected that patch of resin-filled spinifex grass for over half a century, allowing that resin to build up over time. Spinifex (Triodia) is highly flammable and creates intense heat in any case.Joel Lisonbee, Manager of the Northern Territory Climate Services Centre, was quoted as saying he also saw no connection between this event and climate change/global warming.“This event was better described as a dust devil within a fire. Most of us have seen dust devils and know they are not uncommon,” Mr Lisonbee said“You need hot, dry conditions but you get those in desert-like conditions everywhere, regardless of global warming.”I know that we could just “agree to disagree” but I feel I must raise some real concerns to your response. Firstly your title indicates your are employed at the highest level of the Climate Reality Project, a Producer, freelancer or not, so I am confused as to why you refer to “the Climate Reality people” in the third person. Assuming for a moment that these people are separate to yourself you go on to say that they “have been very very tough on us as far as what stories we are able to cover”. So clearly this indicates they must have approved not just your enquiry about the footage, but the next stage of actually offering to buy it.Since Mr. Gore’s office first contacted me to buy the rights, which indicated Mr. Gore himself had made the request to purchase, I have had cause to conduct considerable research on climate change. In the course of this research I have discovered a lot of non-scientific, apparently agenda-driven name-calling going on, including your below “Climate Denier” tag.Apparently “climate deniers” are people with a different viewpoint to yours, so are fair game to be labelled , put in a box and publicly pilloried. I would have though the correct scientific response would be to simply convince them of your argument. I think few people have doubt that the climate is changing, the questions are to what extent and whether it is human-induced. I am happy to be convinced, but by simply labelling questioners who need more information “climate deniers” might be colorful politics, but would seem a doomed approach to science education.Now, the doubts that I mention don’t appear from thin air, but have actually been introduced by your own “team” so to speak , so it would appear a bit rich to be blaming others, let alone calling them childish names for them now having doubts:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/9192494/Climate-scientists-are-losing-the-public-debate-on-global-warming.htmlhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/globalwarming/6636563/University-of-East-Anglia-emails-the-most-contentious-quotes.htmlMuch more relevant to me is that my research has shown that your own Founder and Chairman has had his own share of controversy:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7849441/Michael-Mann-says-hockey-stick-should-not-have-become-climate-change-icon.htmlI have even found a quote from Mr. Gore saying that “the science is settled”. As far as I know true operational science is never settled, it is always open to additional data that may later arrive at a new conclusion.You say the context of using my footage on this global media event would merely be as “an open point for discussion for the scientists and panelists that will be participating” and to “invite conversation and discussion.” If there is going to be an “open discussion”, then I presume there will be Scientists with opposing opinions, if not, how will it be “open”?I’m sorry, but this seems to me both disingenuous and illogical and echoes Mr. Gore’s original request to simply use it in “presentations” on “environmental topics”. In barely the space of a month 2 major Al Gore organisations, Climate Reality Project and Carthage Group have asked to buy this footage. Given the very reason for the existence of these organisations is to promote anthropological climate change, I am to believe that the purpose is actually NOT to sell viewers on climate change? Then sorry… why do you wish to buy it?For your information I am no stranger to either science or extreme, wind-related weather events. For instance, I was Associate Producer, Head of Research and Co-Writer on the 1 hour long, 2001 National Geographic Channel (U.S.) documentary “Red Storm” which dealt with dust storms and the relevant science globally.It seems to me I am the type of person you are making this program for, those of us yet to be convinced, but after the experience of the last month or so I’m afraid I am left less convinced than ever.CheersChris
Tyler Durden on a syndrome in US politics that’s emerging here, too:
There is a rational explanation for the President’s reelection which doesn’t invoke a deep or complex meaning. The only way to explain the outcome is in the simplest and direct prose: the moochers prevailed...From cell phones and contraceptives to food stamps and unemployment benefits, the Obama administration kept the money flowing to ensure a steady turnout on Election Day. The coup de grâce was painting his opponent as a second coming of Dickens’ Scrooge that was ready to cut the voters from their trust funds.The campaign made no attempt to hide this tactic. In an online video, celebrity Lena Dunham was tapped to extol the virtues of government-supplied birth control. The advertisement was aimed at a younger generation already guaranteed access to their parent’s health insurance till they turn 26 (and then morph simultaneously into full grown, self-sufficient adults). The video was a great demonstration of the campaign strategy but it was topped by one woman from Cleveland, Ohio who exemplified the public trough mentality on camera. Commonly referred to as the Obama-phone lady, this woman was so enraptured by her “free” cell phone and other welfare entitlements, she was determined to “keep Obama in president” to use her exact words. Though clearly dimwitted, Ms. Obamaphone was a phenomenal orator of the President’s message of goodies in exchange for votes…Obama won the election by catering to the worst of all human traits: envy. He demonized the rich while promising to take more of their income and give it out in the form of entitlement payments. Under his presidency, the attitude of the takers will continue to swell as they clamor for more privileges. Anybody who speaks out against the Robin Hood scheme will be called an unconscionable xenophobe and a hater of the poor. The protestant work ethic will slowly be choked into submission through deliberate iconoclasm launched by the political class and their pet media pundits.
I think this is why so many conservatives are more shaken by this loss than by the two to Clinton and the first to Obama. It signals more than just a decline in political fortunes. It may be a permanent decline in cultural fortunes, too.
Allegations at ICAC yesterday:
THE family of the Labor power broker Eddie Obeid received $30 million and stood to make a further $70 million using inside information on coal exploration licences provided by the disgraced former mining minister Ian Macdonald.Not only is this ‘’the most important investigation ever undertaken’’ by the Independent Commission Against Corruption but ‘’it is corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps,’’ counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson, SC, said in his opening address on Monday.Mr Obeid, the dominant factional player in the ALP, manipulated Mr Macdonald to do his bidding. This included rigging a public tender, demoting a senior official and even making changes to the state’s formal coal licence maps to ensure the scam would ‘’confer massive cascading profits upon Mr Obeid and his family’’, the ICAC heard…The inquiry heard that the Obeids had both ends of the coalmining deal sewn up. Using inside information, the family and its associates bought three adjoining properties over which Mr Macdonald would later grant an exploration licence. The profit for the Obeids and their associates from this deal alone was almost $26 million.They also had highly confidential information about who would win the government tender. This allowed them to join forces with the successful bidder, Cascade Coal, and later to extract a $60 million payout from Cascade from an outlay of a mere $200,000, Mr Watson said....The former premiers Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees will give evidence today on how their attempts to remove the controversial ministers Joe Tripodi and Mr Macdonald from cabinet ultimately ended their premierships. It was Mr Obeid and Mr Tripodi who really controlled the Labor government, the inquiry is expected to hear.
The allegations are denied. The hearings continue.
More than just one bad man. There was, it seems, a culture of approval:
THE sister of Mohamed Merah, the Islamist gunman who shot seven people dead in Toulouse in March, is the subject of a criminal investigation after declaring herself proud of her brother in a television documentary, judicial sources say…A program broadcast by the M6 channel on Sunday included secretly filmed footage of her saying she was “proud” of her brother for “fighting to the end"…Mohamed Merah, a self-described al-Qaeda sympathiser, shot a rabbi, three Jewish schoolchildren and three French paratroopers in attacks in and around the southern city of Toulouse in March before being shot dead in a police siege.
A sister so proud of a big, brave man who shot dead these unarmed girls and this father:
VOTER support for Tony Abbott has dropped to its lowest level since he became Opposition Leader three years ago, as the Gillard government’s relentless attacks on his character take a toll on his standing with the electorate.Less than one third of voters, 27 per cent, are satisfied with the way the Liberal leader is doing his job, and the highest number on record, 63 per cent, are dissatisfied with his performance…With Greens’ support unchanged on 10 per cent in the last survey, the Coalition holds a narrow lead over Labor, 51 per cent to 49 per cent, on a two-party preferred basis using preference flows at the last election.
I misjudged Gillard’s vile “misogyny” attack on Abbott. I thought voters would see it for what it was - a lie by a Prime Minister desperate to divert attention from her sleazy defence of a sleazy Speaker, and a divisive ploy for victimhood. But Gillard sounded strong, Abbott reacted passively, and many of the women particularly who do not really follow politics simply assumed that what Gillard said must be true - that Abbott really had been sexist to her “every day”. They didn’t realise how dishonest Gillard is prepared to be, or didn’t care.
And now this royal commission into bad Catholics…
That said, the Coalition still leads, it has not yet fired its big guns on policy, and Labor surely cannot get a better run than its had in the past two months. Narratives eventually change. But there is is becalmed feel to the Opposition’s campaign that must change. It is too reactive, and has failed to get the third-party endorsement that Labor uses so well and, being the party of the media class, can summon so easily.
In one of the true ironies of modern political campaigning, a relentlessly negative and obsessive campaign is being run to portray an opponent as relentlessly negative and obsessive.
No more defensiveness against this. Call it out as the diversion from waste, bungling, division, deceit and - allegedly - corruption. Demand a new culture of respect, unity and progress. Go after what Gillard has protected - not least crooked unions. Stress family policy in everything, and surround Abbott with reminders of it. Make the Liberals the family party.
Yet another promise being broken. Yet another example of the difference between announcement and delivery.
Kevin Rudd in 2008:
I’d like to enlist your support for a great new enterprise: how we as a nation can begin to turn the homelessness crisis around for the long term rather than just apply band-aids in the short term…If we take a hard honest look back over the last decade or more - as a nation we have not done enough to address homelessness…Which Way Home – the Green Paper on homelessness - is the Government’s first Green Paper… The White Paper will include a comprehensive national action plan to reduce homelessness by 2020.
According to the 2011 Census, the rate of homelessness in Australia was 49 persons for every 10,000 persons, up 8 per cent from 45 persons in 2006…The rise follows then prime minister Kevin Rudd’s unveiling in 2008 of a $6 billion plan to halve homelessness by 2020 and offer crisis accommodation to every person sleeping rough. Mr Rudd had promised in his first month in the job to make the issue a priority.