Thursday, November 19, 2015

In which the pond joins Gary Johns in a full-on assault on the IPA ...

Being in urgent need of a distraction - the pond spent too much time yesterday cheering on as the French nailed a few fundamentalists, with the actual information garnered in inverse proportion to time wasted - the pond was pleased to see that climate science has once again been reduced to the status of a 'he said, she said, they said' debate.

The pond routinely debates gravity, evolution and such like, but is always appalled by the notion that taxpayers should get involved in subsidising such meaningless, trivial debates.

When the pond spotted the Johns splash,  we immediately concluded that Johns was about to unload an epic rant dumping on the appalling idea that taxpayers should be subsidising Bjorn Lomborg ...

The pond only lives in hope so that hope might be shattered.

It turned out that it was just Johns doing the usual ... and as you'd expect in any decent echo chamber, where the noises go around in a circle, Lomborg was quoted by Johns as a reliable authority, because, let's face it, he's routinely published by the reptiles of Oz.

The quoting being a way, it turns out ... and here's the nuance not available in the header ... of proving that the debate about climate change responses is highly contested.

Actually, in his usual dissembling way, Johns is dissembling, because elsewhere it's not just the debate about the responses, but also climate science itself that's hotly contested by Johns, with the aid of misquotations and other abuses of the scientific process, as you can read here.

But back to the debate about the debate:

Now there's the beginnings of an irony there.  The AIP is heartland deep north stuff, with a bunch of the usual running it, and saying the usual things...

Johns has long running form, trading on his alleged status as a Labor minister while heading off deep into the thickets of right wing ratbaggery, and culminating in the forming of the AIP:

The institute was the idea of former Liberal vice-president Graham Young, a church organist who was expelled by the party in 2007, and Gary Johns, a former Keating government minister and adjunct professor at QUT Business School.

You can read about the storm in the Liberal teacup from Young's POV herebut let's get on with the listing, via the Currish Snail here.

He warned universities were producing cultural illiterates unfamiliar with Shakespeare, the Bible or Tennyson. 

Oh indeed, indeed, because knowing the Table of Nations and Tennyson's poems of weird seizures off by heart - the pond recites at least one a day - is essential to daily life and western civilisation - but let's get on with that listing:

Young said the institute would also back the reintroduction of negative gearing. 

Oh indeed, indeed, because everyone believes in a decent amount of taxpayer subsidy, but let's get on with that listing:

Pharmacist and property tycoon Bob Tucker, a former Liberal state president, will chair the institute. Tucker also chairs Trade Coast Central, a company developing an innovative, hi-tech industrial subdivision adjoining Brisbane Airport. He is one of Brisbane’s major property developers specialising in industrial and retail developments. Other directors include Amanda Stoker, a barrister and former prosecutor; Glenn Ferguson, a corporate lawyer and past president of the Law Council of Australia; and Dan Ryan, a commercial and technology lawyer and who sits on the board of Hong Kong’s leading free-market think tank, The Lion Rock Institute. Young becomes executive director of AIP.

Now it goes without saying that the AIP is big on receiving donations, and Johns himself took to the pages of the Spectator to ask for donations, along with a request for donors so that donations might be vetted:

...The Charity Ball: How To Dance to the Donor’s Tune, will be released later in the year. Readers will be surprised by what constitutes charitable organisations in Australia and how little charitable work many undertake. Too many are government sub-contractors and too many spend too much time lobbying government for more money — hence the charity ball. No politician will set rules on these matters, so the sector will have to set itself straight. As the Abbott government moves to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission the need for a privately funded ‘charity-rating’ or ‘donor-informing’ agency will be greater than ever. 
The book argues the case for lowering the cost for donors to find relevant information about charity performance. It is a significant venture. A new not-for-profit company, DonorInform Limited, has been established to promote the cause of better access to charity performance data. Fellow directors Cassandra Wilkinson and John Humphreys are on the job with me and are on the lookout for venture capital or philanthropic support. Indeed, what better donation than to support better information for donors to assess and compare the performance of all charities? (Spectate here if you like abuse of the English language and nouns used as verbs).

Now there's a fair old gaggle of ironies in all that, since if we're donating to vet the donors, who will vet the donors donating to vet the donors... and so on and so forth. You could get a page of reflexive shaggy dog ironies out of that routine if you pushed it ...

But back to the text of the day ...

Now the Lock the Gate Alliance can look after its own, and Johns can argue all he likes - medical waste was surely one of the more desperate and silly arguments -  about the wickedness of caring for farm land, and in particular the Liverpool plains, a pet theme for the pond given what's been done to the Hunter valley ... after all, they could have dug up Tamworth in the Hunter's place, and who would have cared ...

But the pond is always in search of ironies, and was reminded at one time in his life, Johns was involved in the IPA, before he decided to set up his own donation boondoggle bandwagon ...

And the IPA?

Which is why the pond can immediately join in Johns' strident campaign to strip the IPA of its tax deductibility for donations and provide complete transparency regarding its funding and its activities ...

If ever there was an organisation that did harm to Australians - feel like a nail coffin smoke anyone? their medical impacts are apparently obscure - it's the IPA. And so, it seems, Australians subsidise those who would harm them.

No doubt this will be the theme of Johns' very next impassioned column for the reptiles of Oz ... down with the IPA and its tax-deductible status.

Oh okay, enough ironies for the day.

Time for a comedy item.

If your idea of comedy is fully sick ... Anne Frank was a Refugee Denied Entrance to the United States ...

Yep, Anne Frank wouldn't have made the Chairman's list:

More here.


  1. 'The Australian Institute for Progress' - sounds like something out of the 1920s.

    1. I only saw the acronym and assumed it stood for ? "...Petroleum", which was pretty close but overlooked Coal.

    2. It could even stand for 'Affairs of Public Institute'

    3. Oops!!!!! I mean 'Affairs of Institute Public' of course.

      Hmmm, maybe it's French? 'Affaires d'Institute Publique'

  2. Gary Johns is clearly a Lomberg desciple who believes it is a moral obligation to get electricity to those who do not have it, to lift millions out of poverty. He says nothing about the effects of burning more and more coal to to achieve that coal. His moral obligation seems also to be to make as much money as possible for Oz before the coal becomes a stranded asset.
    He says nothing about how these impoverished people are going to pay for this electricity or what they will do with it. Is it all for lighting, or home industry, or to run a heap of electrical appliances?
    The Lomberg claim is that while there might be some global warming, it is not catastrophic - and anyway, scientists will find a way (even though scientists at present seem to get so much wrong, specially with regard to climate change, so he says).
    Johns and Lomberg seem to be snake oil salesmen. It is all about business-as-usual - and the money.

    1. Gary Johns is clearly a twit.


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