Burning questions

To keep things ticking over, some factless musings on the bushfire situation.

Time for a new thread. While I’m about it, two points about the bushfire crisis. To start with the obvious: it would be really interesting to see an opinion poll right now, but being what time of year it is, there are no polls to be had. Even if you remain skeptical-or-worse about the value of voting intention polling in the wake of last year’s debacle, some personal ratings on Scott Morrison would undoubtedly offer a helpful objective measure of how his image is bearing up after what has clearly been a tough couple of weeks. If you take your cues from social media, you may have concluded by now that Morrison’s career is as good as over. But if the last few years have taught us nothing else, it’s that that’s usually not a good idea. However, a News Corp pundit who generally doesn’t partake of the organisational kool-aid may have been on to something when he noted that this apprehension was “probably what tricked Morrison into thinking that all the outrage against him was confected and so he might as well go catch some rays”.

A second, less obvious point relates to an Eden-Monaro by-election that some readers of Canberra tea leaves assured us was on the cards, with one such ($) relating a view that Labor member Mike Kelly would be “gone by Christmas”. These reports asserted that the by-election would be used by state Nationals leader John Barilaro to enter federal politics with a view to deposing struggling party leader Michael McCormack. But if it’s the case that the government has suffered a bushfire-related hit to its standing, the thought of taking on a Labor-held seat at a by-election may have lost its appeal. The once-bellwether seat covers some of the worst affected areas, including the town of Cobargo, where Morrison met a hostile reception on Thursday from locals who — depending on your right-wing news source of choice — are either in no way representative of the town, or all too representative of it.

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.

3,738 comments on “Burning questions”

  1. sonar and Pegasus

    Yes. Hmmm. I’ve tried three times to Uninstall Avast browser but it does nothing. I don’t use the Antivirus either.

    I’ll keep trying. 🙂

  2. Shellbell

    In 1986 when I was at teacher college, a group of us hiked from Seal Bay through Cape Ganthume to D’Estree’s Bay. Had to carry 3 days of water, supposedly we were only the 3rd group to do it in 20years at the time, the most amazing coastline. I fear that tomorrow it will have gone the same way as Flinders Chase.

  3. lizzie @ #3552 Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 6:32 pm

    sonar and Pegasus

    Yes. Hmmm. I’ve tried three times to Uninstall Avast browser but it does nothing. I don’t use the Antivirus either.

    I’ll keep trying. 🙂

    You have to uninstall EVERYTHING with the name Avast attached. Not just the browser.

    I recommend Bitdefender as an antivirus and computer protecting app. You have to pay for it but it is worth every penny.

  4. lizzie

    This supposedly worked for someone who had trouble removing it. Apparently something called ‘Deepscreen’ stops removal.

    Open avast settings
    Click General
    Uncheck enable deepscreen option
    Press ok button
    and then try to uninstall avast again

  5. Bridget McKenzie doesn’t seem to realise who she’s cuddling up with.

    Senator Bridget McKenzie
    @senbmckenzie
    The Cobargo community shows what communities can do when we work together. The generosity of spirit and commitment to help your neighbours is inspiring – especially in the face of such tragedy. We stand with you. @The_Nationals @M_McCormackMP @AndrewConstance

  6. lizzie @ #3520 Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 4:51 pm

    Some computer advice, please.

    My default browser is Chrome. I saved a word doc as a PDF in a new bookmark and after hunting for a bit, discovered that it had been commandeered by Avast, which keeps trying to force itself in as my default browser.

    How do I transfer a bookmark from one browser to another? Or isn’t it possible?
    Also, how can I send Avast into the naughty corner (I have not deliberately downloaded it.)?

    I don’t know about Avast, but most browsers now have a bookmark import/export function. Some work better than others. For instance when I switched to Brave from Opera I was able to import every bookmark to Brave. You should be able to find step by step instructions with a search for the browsers you’re working with.

    On reflection I’m not sure that’s entirely helpful, but if it’s just one bookmark, KayJay probably has the best solution, copy/paste the URL.

    If you can’t get rid of Avast, Windows 10 also has a setting where you can set your default browser. (Go to Settings, choose Apps, then choose Default Apps. You should see a list with the heading “Web browser” near the bottom. It’s alphabetical, I think. Click on the icon under the heading, then select the browser you want from the new list that appears.)

  7. Thank you everyone. I’ll try when I’m fresh in the morning.
    This sounds like a very sneaky bit of software.
    I don’t need another virus protection as I have Norton.

  8. Nath,

    The 1st Armoured Regiment is based in SA, probably more front line forces in SA than Vic, they just sent half a dozen LAV’s to KI.
    Not sure why but a 25mm chain gun seams a little excessive for Boerwar’s Koala cull.

  9. Jenauthor. SA govt started a sterilisation and relocation program for KI koalas in about 2000. At the time there were estimated 30,000 koalas on KI (all from original population of 18 introduced from Victoria in 1920s. The suggested plan was that a population of about 10,000 was “sustainable”.

    I think the relocation program has cost in the order of $15 million over the last 20 years – can’t find a recent figure. The estimated population of koalas on KI is now still more than 30,000.

    The fires have burnt about half of their current KI habitat so reasonable estimate is half have died. They don’t readily escape fire.

    There is no forseeable need to relocate koalas on KI in future.

    The position with koalas in eastern states is different and conservation strategies and habitat protection are appropriate.

  10. Boerwar @ #3549 Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 6:30 pm

    p1
    That ought to be extraordinary stuff.
    But it is ordinary.
    The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison governments get one thing very well: bastardizing people.
    I might give Zed’s office a call on your anonymous behalf.
    See what happens.
    Will let you know.

    Thanks Boerwar. We will keep trying, but we think it is pretty hopeless. We are on our own.

  11. Such a pity most of our billionaires are so deliberately blind.

    SBS News
    @SBSNews
    · 1h

    Fortescue Metals chairman Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest says he believes arson is the biggest factor behind the intensity of the Australian bushfires, after announcing a $70 million donation for recovery efforts
    http://bit.ly/2T6xxeZ

  12. Kristina Kennealy as quoted by Sprocket @6:25/PM. ‘Philanthropy from wealthy individuals is many things: generous, inspiring, and selfless. But it is also inherently undemocratic. It vests massive power in the hands of the giver to determine how much money is available and what causes merit support.’

    Maybe they should just pay their bloody tax.

  13. lizzie says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 6:37 pm
    Bridget McKenzie doesn’t seem to realise who she’s cuddling up with.

    Senator Bridget McKenzie
    @senbmckenzie
    The Cobargo community shows what communities can do when we work together. The generosity of spirit and commitment to help your neighbours is inspiring – especially in the face of such tragedy. We stand with you. @The_Nationals @M_McCormackMP @AndrewConstance
    _____________________________________________
    Who is it? Bushfire Bill?

  14. Steve777 says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 6:51 pm
    Kristina Kennealy as quoted by Sprocket @6:25/PM. ‘Philanthropy from wealthy individuals is many things: generous, inspiring, and selfless. But it is also inherently undemocratic. It vests massive power in the hands of the giver to determine how much money is available and what causes merit support.’

    Maybe they should just pay their bloody tax.
    __________________________
    Why did Labor cut tax for high income earners? Did you speak up against it or did you merely toe the party line?

  15. ‘bakunin says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    BW,

    Just to give a rough idea of the organic market.

    Australia has an estimated 35 million hectares of certified organic farmland which is roughly 10% of total. Current estimates of the value of Australia’s organic industry are around $2.4 billion, and there are roughly 4000 certified growers and processors.’

    I get what you are saying, I believe.

    The background to your considerations of the importance of organic production:

    There is around 330 million hectares of grazing land.
    There are probably around 100,000 large and small non-organic producers and processors.
    The annual gross value of ag production is around $60 billion.

    So the number of organic producers is about 4% of the total.
    The area covered by organic farming is less than 10% of the total.
    The value of organic production is around 4% of the total.

    And, as noted and explicated elsewhere, it is not just in the GMO domain that Greens policies are going to hurt rural and regional people. Some of the policy items are petty at the national level but devastating at the town level: getting rid of rodeos, for example. This is, quite simply, regarded as a direct and targeted assault on the culture and values and economies and social fabrics of rural and regional towns.

    There are other areas that definitely would be regarded as potentially sinister by rural and regional voters. One such policy is the Greens policy to create a national regulatory body to enforce farmers to produce ‘ecoystem services’.

    The list of this sort of stuff is very extensive indeed.

    IMO, you have not really undercut the following propositions:

    1. In rural and regional areas Greens polices are, and are widely regarded as, being destructive of rural and regional economic and social life.
    2. This is reflected in a generally very low Greens vote in rural and regional areas.
    3. Therefore, if Labor is successfully branded as Greens Lite, and/or subject to Greens BOP blackmail then Labor will continue to get smashed in the rural and regional electorates.
    4. Both the Coalition and the Greens actively seek to promote both the Labor Lite branding and the BOP threat of the Greens
    5. This will not impact on the Greens vote. In fact it might well bolster the Greens vote in the inner urbs.
    6. But it will continue to underpin absolute Coalition dominance in rural and regional seats. This gives the Coalition a handy 30-34 seat lead in large state rural and regional seats.

    The issue for all concerned here is how to address a very real trade off between electoral politics and policies in order to win rural and regional seats.

  16. LVT

    Either you know who it is and you’re being insulting, or perhaps you really don’t know. He’s the local councillor and Liberal supporter who has a reputation for inappropriate kissing/touching women and was captured on video when Scomo visited Cobargo.

  17. Spence – I was talking about the areas in the eastern states where populations have been decimated.

    If the KI population is disease free – that seems like the ideal population to draw from.

    I admit to not knowing much about koala populations but I was under the impression that the eastern seaboard populations were under threat before the fires. (An impression which might merely be the result of ‘headlines’????)

  18. LVT ” Why did Labor cut tax for high income earners? Did you speak up against it or did you merely toe the party line?”

    I am not and never have been a member of Labor nor of any other party. I like some stuff Labor does, don’t like some other stuff, but it comes closest to my principles and aspirations. Being a member of a political party or even voting for one requires compromises.

    I did not favour the recent cuts to corporate tax nor the cuts to marginal rates for high income individuals. That shouldn’t be given a nanosecond’s consideration, at least not until we’ve made inroads into the problem of endemic tax avoision by high income individuals and corporations.

  19. ‘Spence says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Jenauthor. SA govt started a sterilisation and relocation program for KI koalas in about 2000. At the time there were estimated 30,000 koalas on KI (all from original population of 18 introduced from Victoria in 1920s. The suggested plan was that a population of about 10,000 was “sustainable”.

    I think the relocation program has cost in the order of $15 million over the last 20 years – can’t find a recent figure. The estimated population of koalas on KI is now still more than 30,000.

    The fires have burnt about half of their current KI habitat so reasonable estimate is half have died. They don’t readily escape fire.

    There is no forseeable need to relocate koalas on KI in future.

    The position with koalas in eastern states is different and conservation strategies and habitat protection are appropriate.’

    When humans start playing god with nature the propensity for both inadvertent stupidity and for failure is massive. The Kangaroo Island feral Koalas are a classic example.

    They eat around 9000 tons of eucalypt leaves a year. That is other creatures’ habitats. That is some proportion of the eucalypt’s competitive advantage being edged out. No one has the slightest iota of the long term impact on Kangaroo Island’s insects, etc, etc, etc.

    Since there are no natural predators, a fortune has to be spent on ‘managing’ an ‘ideal’ number of Koalas. The inherent absurdity of this ought to be self-evident.

    But wait, there’s more.

    That $15 million is !00% opportunity cost. It should be going to dozens of critically-endangered species that have populations of less than a 1000 individuals.

    Instead the $15 million goes on faffing around with tens of thousands of ecologically destructive feral Koalas on Kangaroo Island.

  20. Aust’s trade surplus has widened by 42% in November to 5.8 billion. Scomo at least has that under control. And most of the mob on here want to shut down our mining industry which drives our current trade surplus. Australia’s surplus on a 12 month rolling basis has reached an unprecedented $67.1 billion and is on track to smash the Aust Bureau of Statistics Records going back to the early 1970s.

  21. “ Why did Labor cut tax for high income earners? Did you speak up against it or did you merely toe the party line?”

    In the 1980s the strategy was to close some enormous tax loopholes to
    Fund tax cuts across all the tax brackets.
    To parse what PJK at the time – reforms designed to make the headline rates of tax reflect the amounts of tax collected, and not being notional rates of tax avoided.

    It worked. There was even money left over to fund Labor’s social programs.

    On reflection I think that Shorten and Bowen missed the boat by not adopting a similar approach with negative gearing and franking credit reforms. I understand that in private PJK made the same point to
    Bill forcefully. He publicly made that point after the election.

  22. How come we haven’t seen any of these multifarious Arsonists being put before the courts already?

    Maybe because there aren’t really that many at all and the number that have started any of the current fires you could count on one hand and the amount of damage their fires have done would be similarly small.

  23. ‘michael says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Aust’s trade surplus has widened by 42% in November to 5.8 billion. Scomo at least has that under control.’

    It is almost totally out of his control. The price or iron ore and the price of coal has zero to do with Sleazy from Marketing’s interventions.

    What Sleazy COULD usefully do, though, is to start decarbonizing the Australian economy.

    As for your iron prices, China is diversifying supply sources and will increasingly rely on recycling scrap steel.

    As for your coal prices, cheap Russian coal is in the early stages of a process of killing off the Australian coal industry.

  24. Why did Labor cut tax for high income earners?

    Because, in the most recent instance, Scott Morrison hog-tied it to tax cuts for low income earners.

  25. Spence
    I had exactly that dilemma this week. Our practice staff and surgeons were asked to help vets on KI with koalas etc by supplying burns dressings etc. They all wanted to help. I personally didn’t agree for the reasons you and BW gave but I gave in and decided to okay it. Much to my chagrin.

  26. Wowee! Record trade surplus (something to do with iron ore prices high due to issues in Brazil or something?) while wages stagnant, new car sales at some very low level, and consumer confidence at its lowest level for years. I see interest rates to be cut again and soon we will be paying the banks just to keep our money and someone has the front to say Morrison has it “under control”.
    Let’s be brutal – six long years of lousy LNP government, and the country is going backwards.
    We are currently the most divided and unhappy nation we have been in the long time and Miracle Man Morrison has shown, after his recent over-Christmas performance, that he could not lead a scout troop let alone a nation…….

  27. sprocket_ says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    nath, my abstract is:

    …”The Nasty Narcissist: From Love Bombing to Gaslighting in Frankston”..

    ……..

    Hey! You stole my Frankston slur.

  28. lizzie and sprocket,

    Either you know who it is and you’re being insulting, or perhaps you really don’t know. He’s the local councillor and Liberal supporter who has a reputation for inappropriate kissing/touching women and was captured on video when Scomo visited Cobargo. https://www.begadistrictnews.com.au/story/2779861/bega-valley-councillor-ordered-to-apologise-after-code-of-conduct-breach/

    Thanks for this. I have been out travelling int he country for a few days, and not keeping up with things.

    As soon as I saw Tony Allen forcibly cuddling and kissing that poor woman from Cobargo who had demanded SfM (Scotty from Marketing) give assistance to the RFS before shaking his hand, I realised he was likely a serial offender. Other people here made that comment at the time.

  29. And as BW has pointed out, Morrison has little or no control over commodity prices. Of course, the inability to control matters overseas ploy used by the LNP when things are not going so well at home has been used shamelessly by them in times past….Can’t have it both ways…………..If Morrison wants to be given credit for his “control’ of the BofT then he has to cop is sweet when things continue to sour here – That is, the crap economy is due to his policies and that of the LNP for the last 6 years……
    Gee the next two years are not long, but they will seem to be……………………….

  30. ‘Blobbit says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    “I have no doubt at all that humanity is heading towards a diet largely consisting of vat food.”

    Beer?’

    The only good diet is a compleat diet.

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