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. Oh, and in terms of BoT, the WA government is chuffed of course…….having been left a $38 billion debt by the previous Liberal government (you know, those Liberals who are the only ones who can manage money matters) the local WA Treasurer is counting his blessings as the higher than expected iron ore prices have meant come the next State election here in WA, the Labor government will be able to do a Morrison and go to the electorate and tell everyone how well they have handled the local State economy and reduced that naughty bid deficit left by the drunken-sailor spending Liberals under Col Barnett……

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

    Cheers.
    BW will ‘ave ‘arf.

    But seriously, my hops havent coped this summer. No matter how much water I keep up to them. Maybe the only way to ensure adequate beer supplies is lab grown beer ingredients…. or fully lab made beer. Between purity of production and surety of supply, the choice is easy.

  3. michael,

    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.

    Like many Australian voters, you have not thought this through.

    The vast majority of posters here do NOT want to shut down the mining industry. Rather, they want to phase out the mining of thermal coal ASAP.

    I know quite a few fly-in-fly out mining workers (and yes, they do all vote Coalition, and even for Pauline Hanson). They work in mining . Thermal coal, metallurgical coal, iron ore, rare earth elements – it makes no difference to them.

    There will be little impact on Australia’s exports if there is a planed transition to ramp up other forms of mining.

    And do not forget the demand side – despite rhetoric, many economies, including India and China are desperately trying to put renewable energy generation infrastructure in place because of air quality in their cities. Their growing middle classes do not like living in the sort of air quality that many of us on Australia have experienced over the last few days.

  4. 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. 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.
    ——————————
    A well run business would be looking to diversify its income because the day will come when coal demand will fall or eventually local supply will fall dramatically.

  5. lizzie says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 6:32 pm

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

    Avast can be stubborn to get rid of, especially the free version but dont worry it isn’t a virus, just a pest.

    If you have tried the way KayJay suggested and it refuses to budge:

    Restart computer

    Hold: control-alt-delete (together) which opens task manager

    Click: processes

    Find the process named “Avast”

    Right click “Avast”

    Then: click “end process tree”

    Then go back and try to uninstall again using the KayJay method.

    Then Restart

    It may still appear as an installed program but is not really there (this happened to me)

    Go back to your file

    Then right click it

    Select “open with”

    Select “Chrome”.

    Good Luck

  6. SK,

    Did we read the Monbiot article on lab made food? In the Guardian?
    Thought provoking.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/08/lab-grown-food-destroy-farming-save-planet
    He touches on a topic I have posted on before. Is high intensity farming better for the environment? He links to this article about it.

    The environmental costs and benefits of high-yield farming
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-018-0138-5.epdf?referrer_access_token=-_SVoXzqaeUs2N4Q4r8379RgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0MmCO8_bu5Iynj0k-Maa1_kQJmlMbc7YvpnKuli3r7KCBhNBFtrbhK5njPp2i2wBGi4lspIOt6pA7I8KOxz1dZ2Pf18ZKNKyPeMGkrB4IdllfYHe3dOtrajFf1LmKnbkfGrK4VfwRcSaydmuK5kFKBlepcY6aE4e9Dmr4iBRIKmiA1O0qQnTappQI2VKFbGlLjiSxwCZMTCqex-LtPnxp5b16wpQRXjhretYWkaSmRTzzm8_6IahIHjnNEf2Hzo-rU%3D&tracking_referrer=www.theguardian.com

    Yes, it was my most interesting read of the day. Monbiot correctly predicts (IMHO) that consumer uptake will delay the substitution of the “flour” produced in the lab for the “bulking” ingredients in our food currently sourced from soy grown in South America beyond the decade timescale the company hopes for. But there is no doubt that by 2050 this is the sort of thing we will be eating. And, it will be extremely beneficial for the planet and mitigating global warming.

    It also adds a new dimension to my observation that plant based proteins (sausages etc.) are booming in supermarkets around Australia. I welcome this, as I prefer a mostly plant-based diet, but am intrigued to see the fact that this is becoming mainstream. Perhaps the companies involved realise this is the way of the future, and are getting in early.

    Because I travel a lot for work, and have to eat what is put in front of me, it is too much trouble to become vegetarian. Also, those blood dripping T-bone steaks I am forced to eat in Buenos Aires last just too bloody good. But I want to see “happy” meant, and a transition away from eating Animals.

    I subscribe to the RSPCA and Animals Australia. hopefully the latter organisation will not tell me to piss off if they get wind of this comment 🙂

    Also, my local vet gives animals to communities in the developing world for Christmas, and then sends us a Christmas card to tell us, and I am totally supportive of this.

  7. TPOF

    At least the interviewer asked Morrison a direct and relevant question “are you going to consider raise the emissions reduction target”. Scumbag couldn’t answer it.

    To be honest I think interviews of this nature are a complete waste of time and I’d rather seen well researched journos simply presenting the facts.

  8. Dio,

    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.

    I am so glad you sent the help. I agree with you environmentally, but I think the “humanitarian” aid for the affected Koalas is the right thing to do.

    But after this is over, we really do need to talk about how to manage the “feral” Koala populations.

    I loved the solution in the town of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile to their ever expanding dog population. The local vet offered sterilisation for the stray dogs, while the locals “adopted” the dogs as a whole, so the dogs were fed and friendly, and the population was diminishing.

    I will post some photos if I ever get time.

  9. It would be very difficult for someone like me to be vegetarian – I get type 2 diabetes from most carbohydrates. I control it with mostly fat and a small amount of protein. (i.e. ketogenic diet)

    I almost never eat beef though. Mostly eggs & fish & dairy. But phasing out animal foods would be a killer for me.

  10. Cud,

    I’m vegetarian, bordering on vegan and I also travel extensively. There are few places I wouldn’t go to.

    And, you are correct – I travel with colleagues who manage quite well being vegetarian.

    So, I am really saying that every now an then I really enjoy a good steak 😉

  11. Also a vegetarian bordering on vegan here. I can recommend the Happy Cow app for v.options when travelling.

    On my recent East European adventure, I only ate meat 3 times in 3 weeks.

    1 set meal with sish kebab on a tour to Gallipolli, 1 Macdonalds BigMac in Zakopane Poland in a torrential downpour and one mis-ordered Turkish spread in Istanbul. The v.options were everywhere, as were supermarkets. Budapest, Prague and Istanbul are non-meat eater heaven.

  12. Just saw on CNN the US has put out a travel warning re Australia . Travel advice is not to come here. Time to fire up those “Where the Bloody Hell Are You!? ” ads Scrotty boy.

  13. Twiggy smelling the bushfire smoke… cue outrage by SkyFoxNews and The SmearStralian.

    At a press conference, Mr Forrest said that, while he did not want to get political, global warming was part of the reason for the devastation but “the biggest part” was arsonists.

    In a statement issued later in the day, Mr Forrest said he “unequivocally” believed climate change was real and he accepted the warming of our planet was a “primary cause of the catastrophic events”.

    “I do not want people to think that criminal behaviour, while reprehensible, is the main reason for the devastation this bushfire season,” he said.

    “Arson may be responsible for starting fires in some cases, but it is not the reason the fires have reached the proportions they have through this season and it is not the reason they have continued for so long.”

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/mining-magnate-andrew-forrest-announces-70-million-for-bushfire-recovery-and-long-term-resilience-20200109-p53q38.html

  14. Thanks RP

    The glimpses or more of the KI southern coastline are incredible.

    The greatest concentration of koalas I have seen in the wild was in the Flinders Chase National Park car park.

  15. Don’t forget the Ligurian bees – shellbell.

    Massive blow to the bee hives – I don’t think there are any other Ligurian strains anywhere else in the world.

  16. ‘jenauthor says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    It appears Morrison confirmed my Narcissocene Era suggestion on abc730’

    Is self-exculpatory logorrhea is a feature of the Narcissocene Era, yep.

  17. Dear nath,

    I am delighted to see that you are organising a conference on nath.

    While it is short notice, I am able to attend, and assume your request for me to given an invited presentation is in the email, perhaps it has gone to my junk folder.

    I am not able to use the registration website, as my P. A is on holidays (children or some such nonsense) until the conference.

    So here is my abstract via email:

    Title: Dividing the left: the efficacy off the nath project after three years

    Abstract:
    The nath project commenced three years ago, with the aim of finding “trigger” issues to divide left-leaning voters in Australian politics. The methodology of posting targeted posts on political blogs where predominantly centre / centre-left and even Leninist or anarchist groupings regularly post has been successful, and we have analysed the large amount of publicly available qualitative data generated by the Nath project in a quantitive fashion, using principle component analysis (PCA).

    To divide posters into political and social groupings using PCA, we have used a set of common keywords identified by machine learning in posters’ responses to nath.

    In this presentation we present out PCA analysis of the extensive publicly available nath dataset, which shows between 5 and 8 possible political groupings, and provide suggestions for how the project can be modified in the future to efficiently limit the number of posts needed to further refine the putative groupings.

    nath, could you please make sure that I am not scheduled for the first talk after the conference dinner. My important results need to be disseminated to a wide an audience as possible. My co-authors (cc’d) are very supportive of your work, and as you know they are all high-level grant assessors, and so this is an excellent opportunity for you to showcase your work to them.

    I will also stay at your outrageously priced “preferred” conference hotel, and can cover my own airfares. I take it as a given there that my support of you conference means that you not require any registration fee from me.

    I will arrive with my PhD students, who will contribute to the Frankston economy, particular the dive hostels in the area. They will probably also support the “speakeasy” economy in Frankston, which I hear is particularly vibrant.

    Prof I. A. M. Narcissist

  18. The conference is in Frankston? Unfortunately I will be unable to attend in person. I was thinking along the lines of some analysis of the effect of Nath’s blog activity upon Bill Shorten’s political fortunes.

  19. Steve777

    The conference is in Frankston? Unfortunately I will be unable to attend in person. I was thinking along the lines of some analysis of the effect of Nath’s blog activity upon Bill Shorten’s political fortunes.

    Promising line of research – just send a grad student to present the results. Also do not worry if you do not have actual results by the abstract deadline. Just say, as the last line in your abstract “We present the surprising results of our research in this talk”.

  20. Douglas and Milko
    Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 8:38 pm
    Comment #3405

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    If, under cover of darkness, you could manage to let me have your embossed, raised gold leaf foil invitation – I believe there is an opening for a clever marketing type to make a dollar or three scalping second rate copies to the mugs admirers who are certain sure bound to be attracted to this world first event.

    Please reply post hast. Not a moment to be wasted. Send cash in advance to defray expenses. I myself, personally will be attending together with my fiancée whom you would prolly recognise as she is an ex Nigerian Princess endowed with lotsa moola.

    Goodnight all. 🚲 That’s the getaway vehicle.

  21. As an aside, if I had time, I would love to do a PCA analysis on posters on this blog. It is an incredibly simple thing to do – you just need to set-up the keywords correctly, and voila, you will get “groupings”.

    However, doing a PCA analysis is easy, interpreting the results is very difficult. You would need to justify the use of each keyword, and use corroborating evidence from other sources to support your PCA analysis that suggests the results are “real” rather than artefacts of you analysis method.

  22. Douglas and Milko says:
    Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Dear nath,

    I am delighted to see that you are organising a conference on nath.

    While it is short notice, I am able to attend, and assume your request for me to given an invited presentation is in the email, perhaps it has gone to my junk folder.

    I am not able to use the registration website, as my P. A is on holidays (children or some such nonsense) until the conference.

    So here is my abstract via email:

    Title: Dividing the left: the efficacy off the nath project after three years
    _____________________________
    I’m glad you are pursuing this line of research D&M. I know you suspected me of conducting this kind of study too. Have no fear of any competition in this regard. I am a Fellow of the Academy of the Humanities, not of the Academy of the Social Sciences. 🙂

  23. Whitehorse Council where I live….

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/eastern-suburbs-council-cancels-australia-day-fireworks-as-state-burns-20200109-p53q7n.html

    “Whitehorse City Council in Melbourne’s east has cancelled its Australia Day fireworks, with the mayor saying she felt it was “insensitive” to hold them during the bushfire crisis.

    However, the Victorian government said it planned to mark Australia Day with fireworks at Docklands harbour “in line with previous years”.

    Meanwhile, the Chinese Precinct Chamber of Commerce has called for firecrackers not to be released during Chinese New Year celebrations and that funds should be instead donated to bushfire relief.
    :::
    Whitehorse mayor Sharon Ellis said the council wanted to send a strong message to parts of the state ravaged by fire that the municipality stood with them.”

  24. Kay Jay,

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    If, under cover of darkness, you could manage to let me have your embossed, raised gold leaf foil invitation – I believe there is an opening for a clever marketing type to make a dollar or three scalping second rate copies to the mugs admirers who are certain sure bound to be attracted to this world first event.

    Please reply post hast. Not a moment to be wasted. Send cash in advance to defray expenses. I myself, personally will be attending together with my fiancée whom you would prolly recognise as she is an ex Nigerian Princess endowed with lotsa moola.

    Goodnight all. That’s the getaway vehicle.

    Thankyou for your kind offer, and (while I am not an organiser) I am sure nath will be delighted to have you and your lovely fiancee at the conference.

    We hare very happy to defray your expenses. However, our bank is will not allow us to transfer money to anyone we do not have a financial relationship with.

    Can you please deposit $US100 to our bank, which you may notice from the SWIFT code, is located in the Cayman Islands. You can be assured of their discretion. Once you transfer the money (bank details attached as a .png to stop account information being stolen), we will send you whatever you and your princess need in terms of travel funding.

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