Ah Queensland. Perfectly stereotypical one day, even more perfectly Murdoch tabloid stereotypical the next ...
It was this EXCLUSIVE near the top of the digital page by Dennis "the bouffant one", "by royal command, hagiographer to the court of Abbott" Shanahan that made the pond think of Queensland (better done during a bout of tepid sex):
Hmmm, that sounds serious. Ill-informed and insulting, as if anyone observing the state of Queensland under the bantam could fail to note how comprehensively it's gone downright weird and passing strange, and some might conclude, deep into the valley of the fucked...
Was it, the pond wondered, an EXCLUSIVE that was so EXCLUSIVE it might warrant the death and destruction of any number of forlorn trees?
Yes, it was, just beneath an excellent and truly awesome headline analysing the result of any China v. US smackdown, for now and for never ever never, and as we all know, never, or even the twelfth of never, is a very long time ...
Oh heck, the pond was in a gadfly mode this morning, no doubt about it. What or who was this Kokoda Foundation that could deploy the "never" word in such a casual way?
It led to the pond challenge for the day.
It's a simple enough game. You have to head off to the list of Kokoda Foundation Board Members, here, and spot the woman on the board.
Anyone who can spot a woman is in line for a lottery ticket which might well win millions, or might just be a slip of paper with numbers on it.
Note: the pond will not accept allegations of closet transexuality as a serious entry. The pond has many TG friends and takes the matter seriously.
Meanwhile, the pond applauds the lack of tokenism, the sort of servile forelock tugging that can be observed in other foundations that want to win the ABC RN Brendan O'Neill "feminist of the year" medal from that devoted British feminist ...
Ah well, the reptiles got their headline for the day, but stay, it distracted the pond from that other well-groomed and suited male, the bouffant Shanahan, and his report on the fury of the bantam ... (movie producers, that title is patented and copyrighted to the pond, and any attempt to steal Bantam Fury, or The Fury of the Bantam will be dealt with severely by the pond's lawyers).
Now what's most wondrous about the bouffant one's story is that these furious folk don't have the guts to put their names to their fury:
Federal Coalition members are also angry at the US President’s public intervention in the Australian climate change debate at the G20 last Saturday, when most of his remarks in the summit’s closed session on energy, where the issue was discussed, were devoted to US gas supplies and production that have been boosted by coal-seam gas and shale oil.
Tony Abbott told the G20 session that the “four-fifths” of the developed world that had used fossil fuels for economic growth could not now deny “the other fifth” access to coal to generate electricity for the hundred million people who were without it.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi picked up on the theme yesterday in his speech to federal parliament, calling for new-generation energy “that does not cause our glaciers to melt”.
Senior Queensland government MPs are so angry at Mr Obama’s remarks about the Great Barrier Reef and his attack on coal production in a resources state that they are considering a formal complaint.
However, it is unlikely this will happen as informal messages were sent to the US delegation, declaring the President’s speech was not in keeping with that of a guest and ally.
Uh huh. Not a single named source. Just idle bitching and murmurs.
So that's what passes for journalism in the reptiles these days. Unnamed clowns having a moan because their fearless leaders got done over, and given a proper verbal shirt-fronting.
How much of a dropkick non-sequitur is the story? Well it's alleged the nameless ones are considering a formal complaint, but it's not likely, because that would involve using their names, so it's much better to send an informal message, perhaps by carrier pigeon ...
And what's the message? How did Obama get things so badly wrong?
It's not as if Obama couldn't point to how fucked the Great Barrier Reef is of late, and how the bantam and his government have helped fuck it even more. Why he only had to be paying attention at the end of the last month to this report:
The country's leading scientific academy has released a scathing critique of the draft plan to manage the Great Barrier Reef, warning it was inadequate to restore or even maintain the health of the World Heritage site over the next three decades.
In its submission to the federal and Queensland government's draft Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, the Australian Academy of Science stated the plan failed to acknowledge the reef had already suffered greatly from the pressures of climate change, poor water quality from land run-off, fishing and coastal development.
It concluded the Reef 2050 plan had insufficient targets or resources to reverse the reef's downward spiral, documented by countless scientific studies and several government reports. (more at Fairfax here).
Documented by countless scientific studies ...
It's one thing to strut about in the emperor's new clothes, but is it reasonable to expect people outside the glass dome to keep on talking about how splendid the clothes look?
Never mind, how pathetic and miserable does the whinging and the moaning get?
What most angered Newman government MPs was that the state had “bent over backwards” to find a venue and audience in keeping with Mr Obama’s late request to speak to a large number of young people.
The University of Queensland, where Mr Obama spoke on Saturday, was outside the secure area in the Brisbane CBD and added greatly to the inconvenience for city residents.
So what most angered the bantam and his cohorts - even more than their anger about coal and the reef and actual climate science - was that Obama had dared to wander outside the dome and engage with young people in their natural university habitat ...
Why that's shocking, that's downright disgraceful, that's exactly what you'd expect of a Kenyan socialistic communistic heathen atheist Islamic ...
Could it get any more surreal, any more absurd, this bout of bouffant one puffery?
Well actually it could, because it's Queensland, and the rest of the story, again derived from un-named sources, is a complete furphy, a beat-up and a re-cycling of trivia:
Mr Obama said on Saturday that climate change “here in Australia” means “longer droughts, more wildfires” and “the incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened”.
“I have not had a chance to go to the Great Barrier Reef and I want to come back, and I want my daughters to be able to come back, and I want them to be able to bring their daughters or sons to visit,” the President said.
He also said there should be support for the Green Climate Fund, to which he has pledged $3 billion, to help developing countries “leapfrog some of the dirty industries that powered our development; go straight to a clean-energy economy that allows them to grow, create jobs, and at the same time reduce their carbon pollution”.
On Sunday, Premier Campbell Newman said he was not about to “criticise our guest” but added that Mr Obama had relied on misinformation and he would tell US officials about what was “actually going on with the reef”.
A reference to the Green Climate Fund, of which Mr Abbott has been highly critical, was inserted into the final G20 communiqué after pressure from the US, the European Union, Japan and South Korea.
In the energy security session, where leaders were supposed to be limited to three-minute addresses, climate change was only discussed by a few leaders for a short time. Mr Obama concentrated his address on US energy production, particularly the US advantage of coal-seam gas. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not discuss climate change and talked only about energy security.
French President Francois Hollande, the host of the Paris climate change conference next year, spoke for eight minutes exclusively on climate change. Mr Modi talked of the need for access to electricity for the world’s poor.
That's it? That's the entirety of the story? Some poor mug punters forked over cash, gold bricks, to access this content?
Hollande spoke for eight minutes, instead of three, but never you mind what he might have actually said?
Obama said he'd like to come back and see the reef in good shape, and the lying bantam said it was in the safest of hands?
This is what passes as the second lead story in the Oz tree killer edition today? And the headline story is from a proudly pro-feminist bunch at the Kokoda Foundation?
Beyond the valley of the bantam fury ...
Time for a pause that refreshes ...
(and more refreshing David Rowe here).
But it wasn't just the reptiles that were trying to milk the last of the G20 dry of the most wretched of angles and stories.
The Fairfaxians were at it too.
Every so often the pond reads Peter Hartcher, wonders where he gets his kool-aid and how the pond might get a year's supply too ...
The story on the surface, and as summarised by its header was a nonsense: Tony Abbott needs to shift his stance on climate change to work with China ... (and with bonus forced video).
But there's method to Hartcher's madness, because it's a cunning form of forelock tugging. Acting as an inspirational Ministerial advisor allows Hartcher to present Abbott and co. not as bumblers and ditherers, but as masters, delivering coup after coup, and capable of many more coups:
Now Abbott should think about his next coup. He should negotiate an ambitious climate change deal with China. Ridiculous? That's the reflex reaction to any bold, far-reaching idea.
No, that's actually the reflex reaction to Hartcher routinely sounding, looking and scribbling like a first class futtock in need of a column ...
Talk about a first-class dreaming out loud:
This is just China's holding position. It is still considering its final commitments for the post-2020 phase. This means that it's possible for Australia to be a part of a much bolder Chinese plan for post-2020 than anything announced to date. Abbott could trump Obama on this.
And so Hartcher could trump Shanahan as most useless read of the week ...
Politically, a China-Australia climate deal works for Abbott because he could outmanoeuvre Labor. Instead of playing permanent defence, he could go on the offence.
It's politically impossible for Abbott to commit to a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme. No matter. Neither can Obama.
Abbott could announce ambitious measures in co-operation with China in leading towards a Paris Protocol, yet without recourse to a carbon tax or carbon pricing scheme. Such a deal could give credence to a "direct action" policy.
Coulda shoulda woulda ... and Hartcher coulda stopped jerking the chain ... but once you get a taste for the coulda it's bloody hard to stop, even if you coulda give it a go ...
Labor could be left isolated with an unnecessary emissions trading proposal, politically irrelevant on climate change. Just as the Liberal prime minister, Billy McMahon, was outmanoeuvred by Whitlam's trip to China.
The hardest part for Abbott? He would need to abandon his two-track presentation on climate change. He likes to gratify his most extreme right-wing base by allowing them to savour his earlier credentials as a climate change denier.
At the same time, he has moved towards being a serious prime minister ready to deal with a great global crisis. He needs to complete the move.
He has moved? He needs? Earth calling guardian of the galaxy ... now we're into needs?
He needs to drop any impression of sympathising with climate change deniers. His far-right base will never abandon him to vote Labor or Greens. Now he must appeal to the centre of the electorate where elections are won and lost.
In short, he must put aside ideology.
Whitlam anticipated history by going to China. Now it's Abbott's opportunity.
By chance, on Tuesday, his environment minister, Greg Hunt, is hosting lunch for Xi Jinping in Tasmania. It could be a good opportunity to start a conversation towards the government's next coup.
By chance, it's now Wednesday, and so the pond was eager to see how Abbott had put aside ideology, and how Greg 'the walrus' Hunt had made a far-reaching announcement with Xi.
So how did the good old Mercury cover that breaking story?
Sob. Is there anyone in the house, even in the Currish Snail, who can remember what actually happened only a few days ago?
Remind the bouffant one, point out the obvious, give Hartcher something to counteract the kool aid? Like this:
Is there nothing coal can't do?
But perhaps more is needed, so come on down Paul Syvret:
...At one end of town you had a statesman talking of shared vision and values; inspiring hope that the world can agree on climate action, and that together “we can get this done”.
At the other was a bloke bragging of our backsliding, whining about $7 and not being able to degrade a universal health system that is the envy of much of the world.
We may indeed be “shrimps” but we’re damn stubborn ones, as Treasurer Joe Hockey demonstrated on national television the next day, who when asked whether he considered climate change to be an impediment to economic growth replied: “No, no I don’t, absolutely not.”
This flies in the face not only of detailed studies such as one prepared by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia this year, but also basic common sense, which would dictate that extreme weather events – drought, heatwaves, floods and cyclones – don’t exactly serve to boost productivity and economic output.
In the end there was mention of climate change in the final G20 communiqué with agreement to support “strong and effective action” ... but not, it seems in Australia’s case, to follow through on the rhetoric and join the likes of the US and Japan in committing real resources to initiatives such as the GCF – which Abbott has previously described as “socialism masquerading as environmentalism”. Just in case there was any doubt about Australia’s increasingly isolated position on climate action, our PM used his final address at the summit to again praise the virtues of coal, arguing it would be an important part of the world’s energy mix for decades to come.
This may be true given change does not occur overnight, but it belies the fact the world is shifting to a more sustainable, renewable energy mix – as German Chancellor Angela Merkel pointedly reminded us in a speech in Sydney yesterday that urged a binding international agreement on limiting global warming ahead of the Paris summit next year.
When it comes to the single most-pressing and potentially catastrophic (yes Mr Hockey, environmentally and economically) issue facing the world this century, Australia needs to grow up or risk becoming an international pariah. (and the earlier bit, here).
It seems there are sane people in Queensland. Just not in the back-biting, bitching government ...
It's about time for another pose, because the pond can never get enough of yoga ... (and more Pope here)... and by golly, isn't that man with the RET position very flexible ... what an adept searcher for the light ... why next thing you know, that visionary will be off with China solving the world's response to climate change ...
Or Peter Hartcher might get a life ...