Essential Research: bushfires, climate change and asylum seekers

A new poll finds respondents clearly of the view that not enough is being done to tackle climate change, but with opinion divided as to whether it appropriate to debate the matter in the context of the bushfire emergency.

The Essential Research poll series continues to chug along on its fortnightly schedule without offering anything on voting intention, with this week’s survey mainly relating to bushfires and climate change. Support for the proposition that Australia is not doing enough to address climate change have reached a new high of 60%, up nine since March, with “doing enough” down five to 22% and “doing too much” down three to 8%.

However, perceptions of climate change itself are little changed, with 61% attributing it to human activity (down one) and 28% opting for “a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate”. On the debate as to whether it was appropriate to raise links between climate change and bushfires, opinion was evenly divided – out of those who considered such a link likely, 43% felt raising the matter appropriate compared with 17% for inappropriate, while another 30% rated the link as unlikely.

A further question related to the issue of medical evacuations for asylum seekers, and here the situation is murkier due to the need to provide respondents with some sort of explanation of what the issue is about. As the Essential survey put it, the relevant legislation allows “doctors, not politicians, more say in determining the appropriate medical
treatment offered to people in offshore detention”. Put like that, 62% were opposed to the government’s move to repeal it, including 25% who believed the legislation didn’t go far enough. That left only 22% in favour of the pro-government proposition that “legislation will weaken our borders and result in boats arriving”.

The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1083.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,314 comments on “Essential Research: bushfires, climate change and asylum seekers”

  1. P1 –
    Oh, and you not only shifted the goal posts but you did successfully dodge the other part of the things-you-haven’t-really-thought-about:

    * when the world stops burning coal, as it must (you agree, right?), what happens to the price of traded coal? Where does your argument about ever-so-slightly cheaper coal sit then?

  2. Jackol @ #1097 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 3:13 pm

    P1 –

    I just showed you that “a few percentage points difference in price” is enough to make a difference.

    No, you didn’t. You put up a bunch of heroic assumptions about how investment decisions might be made, which don’t reflect reality – a 10 or 20 year planning decision is going to be based around some spot price of coal? Seriously? Plus LCOE for coal plants is not all about the price of coal; capital costs plus maintenance costs are significant. Plus ignoring all the demand modifying factors that need to be in play – carbon pricing, or tariffs on non-carbon priced producers, international subsidies/aid for 3rd world countries, international treaties/pressure etc etc – again demand altering policies – and, of course, the trend in technological advances. There is so much going on and you maintain that the difference between Adani’s potential production costs vs the next lowest producer’s production costs are going to be the difference between any significant amount of emissions being generated? That’s nonsense.

    Yes, I did. You really should study the Lazard’s paper in detail. It actually answers most of your “points”.

    Oh, and by the way – I think people here can tell which of us is spouting nonsense **

    ** Hint: is it the one who believes that we should not only open the Adani thermal coal mine, but also all the other thermal coal mines in the Galillee basin, or the one who believes this will contribute to increased green house gas emissions because it will both drive up the supply of coal and drive down its cost?


  3. Fulvio Sammut says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    There is no such thing as the last word in the argument with some people, is there?

    Just a verbal perpetual motion machine, which ambulates in ever-widening circles.

    Not a truer word said.

    On the positive side Firefox seems to have put the effort into looking at what is actually going on.

  4. Poor Porter, he just can’t come to terms with the fact that he was out-maneuvered over the union-bashing bill, saying it’ll be re-introduced, criticising PHON for its alleged about-face. The fact is, the bill’s dead in the water, the poor dear’s future leadership aspirations having been dealt a blow.

  5. If one puts up a cogent, eloquent proposition, and supports it with evidence, the proposition speaks for itself.

    If another disputes the veracity of that proposition, he or she can provide evidence or argument to the contrary.

    The proposition and counter position can then be evaluated by the listener or reader.

    There is no need to conduct the interminable diatribes, soliloquies and rantings that so often arise here, whenever parties can’t agree.

    One of the parties is wrong. I can accept that. The problem is that if the “wrong” party cannot or will not concede or accept they are wrong, and the “right” party does not have the grace or sense to realize that others exposed to the argument can come to their own conclusion and attribute praise or opprobrium where deserved, the shit fight never ends!

    Peace be with you all.

  6. The problem for adani is he shelled out 1/2 billion dollars for the tenant in 2010. It is a lot of money to walk away from. Company accounts need to reflect it has value or there needs to be someone to pay it back.

    The Greens are fully supporting Adani, they want the commonwealth to become liable.
    Labor said, don’t look to the commonwealth.
    The Liberals want to continue the con. Mate great deal.

  7. Player One says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 3:36 pm


    frednk @ #1100 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 3:21 pm

    You can make the same half baked argument P1 made for gas.

    The UK and the USA.

    Need I post more examples?

    Examples of what?
    An argument that a fuel source emits less CO2 per KW is better than renewables.
    Or on the case of the USA , it is great they are using our GAS instead of our coal?

  8. There is no such thing as the last word in the argument with some people, is there?
    Just a verbal perpetual motion machine, which ambulates in ever-widening circles.

    Sometimes they bring it in tight, like an iceskater, pulling in the arms till they spin like a top so fast it is a blur and then break back into a circling wide arc.

  9. Jackol @ #1101 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 3:22 pm

    P1 –
    Oh, and you not only shifted the goal posts but you did successfully dodge the other part of the things-you-haven’t-really-thought-about:

    * when the world stops burning coal, as it must (you agree, right?), what happens to the price of traded coal? Where does your argument about ever-so-slightly cheaper coal sit then?

    Still trying to change the subject?

    As I pointed out, a few percent difference in operating cost is all it takes to make coal-fired power again cheaper than even the cheapest solar. And, FFS, we have not even taken into account the need for the additional storage you will need. And yes, I can post a link on that too, if you want.

    How many more times would you like me to repeat it before you acknowledge that your original claim that “a few percent” difference in the price of coal would not make any difference was … well, there’s no easy way to say this … Just. Plain. Wrong.

  10. For those posting in support of coal.

    I hope you are happy being on the same train as Donald Trump and Scott Morrison.

    In the meantime I am happy the media seems to be waking up on Climate.

    Instead of fighting energy wars let’s comply with our international agreements. Just as France has demanded. Labor should be ready to argue about the effect of trade sanctions after Taylor and Morrison and the phone call are dealt with.

  11. How come this case was heard in NSW?

    “Almost 7,000 Queenslanders have won a class action over the state’s devastating 2011 floods, with a judge finding they were victims of negligence.

    NSW supreme court Justice Robert Beech-Jones found in favour of 6,800 claimants who sued the Queensland government, Seqwater and Sunwater over the scale of the disaster.”

  12. Porter’s got an effing cheek to claim that the CFMMEU’s full of thugs, who spit at and call people scabs. The unions are there to protect the rights of workers, look after their safety, another having been killed today at Darling Harbour. Odds on he won’t contact the man’s family offering condolences. No, he’s principally there for his corporate mates, as are the rest of his crappy crew.

  13. frednk @ #1109 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 3:40 pm

    Player One says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 3:36 pm


    frednk @ #1100 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 3:21 pm

    You can make the same half baked argument P1 made for gas.

    The UK and the USA.

    Need I post more examples?

    Examples of what?
    An argument that a fuel source emits less CO2 per KW is better than renewables.
    Or on the case of the USA , it is great they are using our GAS instead of our coal?

    Examples of countries that have reduced C02 emissions by replacing coal with gas. Nobody claims gas is better than renewables. Just that it is better than coal.

    I wonder if it strikes anyone else here as odd that the coal-spruikers here don’t seem interested in the fact that Australia is also the largest exporter of natural gas?

    In fact, they ridicule gas, but they promote coal.

    A bit odd, isn’t it?

  14. Diogenes:

    [‘How come this case was heard in NSW?’]

    At the time the claim was filed, Queensland didn’t allow class-actions; it does now.

  15. Firefox:’And for those farms on the coast, why not add Tidal and/or Wave generation too where appropriate? ‘

    The answer to that is, as every salt water boat owner knows, is fouling.

  16. P1 – bluster and nonsense from you.

    Investment and operating decisions are not covered by that Lazards report – it’s purely trying to work out some comparable numbers that can be fed into investment decisions. Investment decisions must be a much longer term proposition and will necessarily factor in many more factors than “oh, coal production right now is ever so slightly cheaper”. It’s typical down-the-garden-path nonsense from you.

    But anyway, down your garden path:
    If you quote cost /MWh that necessarily bundles everything – what is the proportion of that $33/MWh related to the cost of fuel? The report appears to me to indicate that fuel costs for coal power generation are about 1/4 of the LCOE (p11) – so a lower fuel cost will only have 1/4 the impact on the cost of the energy produced.

    So your $1/MWh, or around 3%, suddenly needs to be up at 12% lower fuel cost. Adani is not going to result in anything like 12% cheaper fuel costs. Nice try.

    And it’s all a different argument anyway. Adani will have a very small effect on the traded price of coal, and that will have a negligible effect on the demand side of coal burning. All this stuff and nonsense over a mine that won’t change anything.

    What will change things is to work on the demand side, as I’ve said over and over. Mines are big ugly things with lots of negative aspects – and there are many other good environmental reasons why Adani shouldn’t go ahead to do with habitat destruction and water contamination – but global warming is not one of them.

    But I’ve had enough of your rubbish for today, P1. I just hope that when the politics works itself out that we get people working on real solutions not supply-side cargo cult nonsense.

    Oh, just seen your followup “reply”:

    Still trying to change the subject?

    No, not trying to change the subject, that’s one of the two core points I was making earlier – you just ignored it because you have no good answer because you really haven’t actually thought about it.

    How many more times would you like me to repeat it before you acknowledge that your original claim that “a few percent” difference in the price of coal would not make any difference was … well, there’s no easy way to say this … Just. Plain. Wrong.

    You reckon Adani is going to drop the traded price of coal by 12% do you?

    P1: repeatedly Just. Plain. Wrong.


  17. Player One says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 3:46 pm
    ….

    As I pointed out, a few percent difference in operating cost is all it takes to make coal-fired power again cheaper than even the cheapest solar.

    Nonsense, solar costs are on the way down, coal is rock bottom, all that changes is mine viability as the price continues to fall.

    On the positive side; if it was true you would have finally hit the only argument that makes Adani interesting in real terms. I wondered how long it was before someone opposing Adani made a coherent even if long untrue argument.

  18. FredNK

    Albanese is wrong on Adani but he is right it will be over by the time of the next Federal election.

    In the meantime he could use his influence to get Qld Labor to stop the mine going ahead.
    My view is Qld Labor should go hard on the environment as it’s not going to reverse the Land Clearing laws which the LNP will attack Labor on.

    Approving Adani or not approving Adani isn’t going to help much in that campaign


  19. Jackol says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    What will change things is to work on the demand side, as I’ve said over and over. Mines are big ugly things with lots of negative aspects – and there are many other good environmental reasons why Adani shouldn’t go ahead to do with habitat destruction and water contamination – but global warming is not one of them.


    I have often wondered why the adani ardan ardani chanters have not focused on the water argument, it has merit.

  20. Stopping Adani, allowing Adani to go ahead, will not make any substantial difference to the traded price of coal, and will not make any real difference to emissions.

    This is a very short-sighted and incomplete framing of the issue of whether a rich nation should approve new coal mines. Even if in the short term one rich nation’s disapproval of coal mines prompts less developed nations to increase coal production, in the medium term there are powerful demonstration effects in play. If just one nation takes a conscientious decision to phase out its coal mining activities, this strengthens the civil society movements that are putting pressure on other rich nations to do the same. It becomes harder for other advanced nations to avoid taking the same action. We don’t act in a vacuum; our actions and inactions send signals to social movements and governments in other nations. As one of the richest nations on Earth we have a larger responsibility than most to set a good example, and to show that sustainable transitions are both urgent and possible.

    The other point is that we are not doing non-viable coal mining and non-viable agricultural communities any favours by pretending that their communities won’t have to transition to other economic activities. We should be upfront with these communities about the necessity to begin the transition now, and to provide generous support to these communities to wind down non-viable activities and move into activities that have a future. Even if these communities choose to vote LNP, which they are likely to do no matter what Labor does, that doesn’t change the necessity to take an honest, clear, and generous approach to communicating with these communities. Labor is choosing to take a two-faced, disingenuous, and reckless approach to these communities, which fails to win votes, and also fails to make Australia a more sustainable nation. It is a double loser of a strategy. So why Labor persists with this approach is a mystery. My money is on gormless cowardice and lack of imagination.

  21. Now I’m sure there there is some petrol around here. Ah, there it is, now to splash it about and……… 🙂
    ———————————————

    Deadline looms for Adani’s royalty deal with government

    The government is due to sign a deal for royalties from the controversial $2 billion Carmichael mine by Saturday.

    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/deadline-looms-for-adani-s-royalty-deal-with-government-20191127-p53er2.html

  22. For the LNP they already have their ammunition for their Labor are the Greens scare campaign.

    Labor have said they are for the science.
    Game over the LNP have their ammunition to paint Labor as Green.

    It is that simple.


  23. guytaur says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    FredNK

    Albanese is wrong on Adani but he is right it will be over by the time of the next Federal election.

    In the meantime he could use his influence to get Qld Labor to stop the mine going ahead.
    My view is Qld Labor should go hard on the environment as it’s not going to reverse the Land Clearing laws which the LNP will attack Labor on.

    Approving Adani or not approving Adani is going to help much in that campaign

    Adani being an issue one way or the other at the next election will depend on how long the pantomime continues. If it lasts that long it will be a great tool for Labor to distance itself from the Greens.
    I reckon the argument:
    “Labor wants to make a real difference, not export jobs overseas in the name of climate change tokenism”. Is based on fact and is short enough to argue.

    The Greens are not offering real policy options.

  24. FredNK

    Labor is for science.

    That’s enough. The LNP will say that means the Greens rule Labor.
    That means they are coming for your jerbs

    Edit: the redneck inference is an LNP assumption. See Barnaby Joyce talking.

  25. Jackol @ #1119 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 3:51 pm

    Investment and operating decisions are not covered by that Lazards report

    Those are not relevant to this argument. As I pointed out to you, but which you apparently failed to grasp.

    But anyway, down your garden path:
    If you quote cost /MWh that necessarily bundles everything – what is the proportion of that $33/MWh related to the cost of fuel? The report appears to me to indicate that fuel costs for coal power generation are about 1/4 of the LCOE (p11) – so a lower fuel cost will only have 1/4 the impact on the cost of the energy produced.

    Instead of just making stuff up to suit, and using the wrong figures (you are using the cost for new plants, not existing plants, or plants where the capital cost is essentially “zero”) how about doing a little research …

    Fuel costs dominate the total cost of operation for fossil-fired power plants. For example, a100 MW power station operating at 50% load factor may burn about20,000 tof coal per month and produce ash to the tune of 10–15% of the fired coal, that is 2,000–3,000 tof ash. In fact, in a thermal station,about 50–60% of the total operating cost consists of coal purchasing and handling.

    https://www.usea.org/sites/default/files/Operating%20ratio%20and%20cost%20of%20coal%20power%20generation%20-%20ccc272-1.pdf

    If we say fuel costs are 60% of operating costs (because it makes the maths trivial), that means it would take only about 5% difference in the cost of coal to make the median cost of coal generation less than the cheapest solar, if a nice country like China offers to build you a coal-fired power plant.

    But I’ve had enough of your rubbish for today, P1. I just hope that when the politics works itself out that we get people working on real solutions not supply-side cargo cult nonsense.

    I’m not surprised you want to do a “Bolt” 🙂

  26. I guess this is nearest Morrison will come to an apology:

    PRIME MINISTER

    [’27 November 2019

    The Hon Tony Smith MP
    Speaker Of the House of Representatives

    Parliament House
    CANBERRA ACT 2600

    Dear Mr Speaker

    In Question Time today I provided the following response to a question ?’om the Leader of
    the Opposition.

    Mr MORRISON: The Leader of the Opposition is seeking to prosecute a case here that says
    that if media have reported that a matter is under investigation by a law enforcement body
    then the standard should be that that person should stand aside. That’s what the Leader of the

    Opposition is prosecuting in this case.

    If that’s the case, Why is it that former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and I refer to March
    2013?Ross Mitchell, a detective in Victoria Police’s fraud squad, stated that Prime Minister
    Julia Gillard was under investigation over her role in the creation of an AWU slush fund. He

    said:

    . .. let me make this perfectly clear. The Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, is under
    investigation by police. This is fact.

    Mr Brian Mitchell interj ecting?
    Mr MORRISON: He said:

    I hadn’t planned to add to what I said yesterday out of respect for the detectives on the case.
    But if the Prime Minister’s Of?ce wants to deny she’s being investigated, as has been reported
    last night and today, then I will once again correct that record.

    NOW, the then Prime Minister obviously didn’t stand aside in relation to those matters. I

    remember the press conference?

    My answer incorrectly attributed that statement to the Detective investigating the case. For
    the record Of the House, I am advised that this quotation was in fact from journalist Ben
    Fordham reporting on the investigation.

    Yours sincerely

    SCOTT MORRISON 2600′]

  27. Mavis

    The advent of the Uhlman & Sales era in short order saw me tune in just for Clark and Dawe. When they finished it the once ‘must see’ program entered the ‘not watched’ list of programs.

  28. P1 the argument for Adani faded long ago.
    All that is left is two bullshit argument:

    The Liberals. Still viable.

    The greens and people like you We need government intervention to stop it. I know you can lay it on thick, but it is still bullshit.

  29. P1 the argument for Adani faded long ago.
    All that is left is two bullshit argument:

    The Liberals: Still viable.

    The greens and people like you: We need government intervention to stop it. I know you can lay it on thick, but it is still bullshit.

  30. The plain as day facts are that economic factors are depressing coal use right across the industrial economies. The retirement of coal and its replacement with renewables is the most pronounced in the most advanced economies, even where coal is abundant, of good quality and cheap.

    Developing economies know their best opportunities for future development lie in keeping their costs down. So they also will choose renewables wherever they can.

    This is all happening even though there are voices who wish it wasn’t and who say it couldn’t and mustn’t. These voices – voices that squawk for the Right and for the pop-Left/Faux-Left – have no credibility at all. They are campaigning for doom.

  31. frednk @ #1138 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 4:27 pm

    I know you can lay it on thick, but it is still bullshit.

    I have a natural advantage in this discussion. All the facts and all the logic are on my side. That makes it very easy to make you look … well, perhaps I should just leave that sentence there 🙁

    You and the other “musketeers” here on PB must labor (!) under the disadvantage of trying to make an argument in favor of new thermal coal mines, in defiance of not only the science on global warming, but also the economic arguments, the environmental arguments, the moral arguments, and even the political arguments (you lost last time partly on this very issue, remember?).

  32. Player One says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    frednk @ #1121 Friday, November 29th, 2019 – 3:54 pm

    So P1 you would support Adani running gas sets instead of installing solar farms as he is doing.

    I would support Adani running gas plants instead of coal plants.

    Wouldn’t you?

    Nope, he is building solar farms and that is where he should be investing his money.

    Given how fast things change I bet he is regretting spending 1/2 billion on the Galilee basin tenant.

    The Greens are all out trying to get the government on the hook for it, so be it. The Liberals are still trying to sell the con, Labor are not going to let it happen.

    How many times did we hear adani, adani,adani from the greens,how many times did we hear sovereign risk from Labor.

    Might of won the Liberals an election, but Labor did the right thing.


  33. RI says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    This is all happening even though there are voices who wish it wasn’t and who say it couldn’t and mustn’t. These voices – voices that squawk for the Right and for the pop-Left/Faux-Left – have no credibility at all. They are campaigning for doom.

    Exactly, and that is where the Greens currently site. Tokenism is not going to solve the problem, there needs to be real solutions.

  34. comment is awaiting moderation.


    RI says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    This is all happening even though there are voices who wish it wasn’t and who say it couldn’t and mustn’t. These voices – voices that squawk for the Right and for the pop-Left/Faux-Left – have no credibility at all. They are campaigning for doom.

    Exactly, and that is where the Greens currently site. Tokenism is not going to solve the problem, there needs to be real solutions.


  35. guytaur says:
    Friday, November 29, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    FredNK

    Labor is for science.

    That’s enough. The LNP will say that means the Greens rule Labor.
    That means they are coming for your jerbs

    Edit: the redneck inference is an LNP assumption. See Barnaby Joyce talking.

    guytaur

    Are you sure the greens are for science. One year I was handing out for Labor in the middle, it is a country booth so we talk. I had anti vaxers to the left of me and anti vaxers to the right.

  36. frednk the jobs argument is a furphy. Galilea basin coal largely undercuts Hunter coal and thus displaces jobs. This was pointed out by the Hunter coal miners a year or two back.

    In a market with falling drmand for transoceanic coal this is even more so.

  37. ‘Elizabeth I of England may not have been a nice person by the standards we are used to; she lived in pretty horrible times after all. But a “religious extremist”?’

    ***

    Yes. Are you aware of what the Protestant Elizabeth I did to one of her cousins and Catholic rivals, Mary, Queen of Scots (not to be confused with her sister, Mary I)?

    After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the [Scottish] throne, she [Mary, Queen of Scots] fled southward seeking the protection of her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England. Mary had once claimed Elizabeth’s throne as her own and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics, including participants in a rebellion known as the Rising of the North. Perceiving Mary as a threat, Elizabeth had her confined in various castles and manor houses in the interior of England. After eighteen and a half years in custody, Mary was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth in 1586, and was beheaded the following year at Fotheringhay Castle.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary,_Queen_of_Scots

    To be fair to her, she was living in a time of religious extremism and fierce rivalry between Catholics and Protestants. It was a different world. I’m not saying she was worse than others. Indeed, she was far more tolerant than her sister, Mary I, who is infamous for her brutality. Perhaps that is why some are more generous in their assessments of her than she probably deserves.

    Elizabeth I is also responsible for the deaths of ~100,000 Irish in the Nine Years’ War which happened towards the end of her reign as part of the Tudor conquest of Ireland. Make no mistake, she was a tyrant.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tudor_conquest_of_Ireland

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Years%27_War_(Ireland)

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