July 15th 2017

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORIES Liberal discontents take internal struggle to Shakespearean heights

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell charged: the process is the punishment

EUTHANASIA What Boudewijn Chabot can teach Victoria

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Taiwan's 'friends' make the Beijing cut

FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE NT abortion law oppressive towards health professionals

HEALTH Gardasil(R) and the man upon the stair, Part I

AFRICAN AFFAIRS Special force deals with scourge of poaching

MUSIC Andrea Keller: transpositions of death and grief

CINEMA Cars 3: On ageing without rusting

BOOK REVIEW Biggest democracy makes big strides

BOOK REVIEW A refinement of the Industrial Revolution


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News Weekly, July 15, 2017

Renewable energy

Albert Said’s letter supporting the development of renewable energy sources is based on a number of widely held misconceptions.

He says that “cleaning the atmosphere is very good for humanity”. In fact, fossil fuels like coal, petrol and gas are far cleaner sources of energy production than anything that existed prior to their introduction, and have contributed very substantially to rising standards of living throughout the world.

There can be no doubt that the air we breathe today is far cleaner than that which existed 50 or 100 years ago, evident in lower levels of respiratory illness and longer life expectancy.

This is largely due to the introduction of cleaner sources of energy production, particularly fossil fuels, which produce 70 per cent of all our electricity, 100 per cent of our gas, 100 per cent of motor fuels, and 100 per cent of aviation fuels.

Because renewable energy is far more expensive than fossil fuels, it is not correct to say that “economic setbacks would be reversed by more and better ways of producing renewable energy”. In fact, high-cost energy makes us more vulnerable to economic recessions and depressions.

It is also untrue to say that “sources of renewable energy are immeasurably vaster than oil, coal and gas”, if we understand “sources of renewable energy” to mean what can currently be produced.

Despite heavy subsidies for renewables, the energy output from solar energy, wind power, biomass energy, wave energy, tidal energy, geothermal energy and hydropower, which are all commercialised and matured in terms of current technologies, is far less than is available from coal and petroleum, in Australia and throughout the world.

Your correspondent says: “One day there will be no oil, coal, gas and what have you left to depend on.” This Malthusian view of resource depletion, popularised by people like Dr Paul Ehrlich and the Club of Rome in the 1960s, has been debunked by reputable economists, geologists and resource scientists.

They have pointed out that throughout human history, as resources become scarcer, prices rise and substitutes are developed to replace them. In real terms, prices of fossil fuels are lower than in the past, indicating that the world is not running out of them.

In religious terms, when God placed man on the earth, he gave him the responsibility to develop the resources of the earth for the good of mankind.

I believe that leaving coal and petroleum in the ground when they could be used to lift the health and standard of living of men, women and children, is a betrayal of our responsibility to the Creator.

Peter Donald,
Surrey Hills, Vic.


Albert Said SJ need not be concerned regarding cleaning the air by changing to renewables. We can all judge alarmist lies that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and that we are running out of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is to plants what oxygen is to us – essential for life and health: plants love it, give them more and they grow us more food.

The world has enough fossil fuels for hundreds of years, while modern coal-fired power stations produce very little pollution, rather they produce lots of clean, air-born plant fertiliser – carbon dioxide.

Check out television images of “smoke pollution” at power stations. They often show clouds of “pollution” coming from short fat chimneys. That’s actually white water-vapour coming from cooling towers. Any real pollution is what comes out of the tall, thin smokestack chimneys. But that is usually wispy and hard to see without the sun behind.

Peter Newland,
Mitcham, Vic.


There seems more focus today on “saving the planet” than being concerned about the multitude of needy people scattered around the globe.

The worship of God has been replaced by the worship of Gaia. It must be remembered that Earth is a large rock hurtling through space at 100,000 kilometres per hour and really couldn’t give a continental about the effects of a minor atmosphere gas like carbon dioxide.

God, however, is much more interested in saving people than he is of “saving” the planet. God calls us to help our needy fellow beings and to not only meet their physical needs but their spiritual needs as well.

In the last three years the world has spent $1 trillion ($1,000,000,000,000).

According UNICEF, today there are almost 1 billion undernourished people. It would take a fraction of $1 trillion – $28 billion – to provide the needy with basic nutrition, running water, sanitation and basic education. Yet the world, mainly the industrialised West, continues to squander money on an alleged climate problem all for no measurable impact on climate.

The biggest moral question of this generation is indeed climate change – but not for the obvious climate reasons. The sad fact is that mankind is spending mountains of cash on a perceived problem generated by computer modelling while the very real needs of tens of millions of people go largely ignored.

Instead of squandering money on climate change we should focus on helping the needy. We should be helping developing nations to reduce poverty rather than spending billions on some esoteric climate problem.

Alan Barron,
Grovedale, Vic.


PM’s leftist record

We have a politically left Prime Minister in charge of our Liberal Party. Look at his record:

1. Free Speech. He puts “harass” in place of “offend or insult” in section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, as if a good lawyer cannot make harass mean offend! A move to cancel 18C might offend someone.

2. Climate change. He still believes in the money corrupt IPCC, with its cohort of well paid scientists staffing so called Paris agreements. It took Donald Trump to recognise the corruption and cancel the U.S. subsidy to the IPCC. When will we wake up to the biggest con in this world?

3. Carbon dioxide. He still believes in anthropogenic climate change and sets a date for reaching an emission standard, despite carbon dioxide being the food and fertiliser of the world’s food production. He has not done his biology homework.

4. Energy. He still wants to subsidise alternate energy at the expense of coal generators that produce carbon dioxide, steam and continuous reliable cheap energy. This will ruin industry and give us the most expensive energy in the world, when we had, and still could have, the cheapest energy in the world.

5. Education. With his Gonski 2 Needy Schools Program, the secular schools get 100 per cent funding but Christians should be happy with 65 per cent funding, pay their extra fees and forget about getting their fair share of education taxes.

He once said in the distant past that the school voucher system was a core Liberal value! In 1940 I attended a Catholic Secondary School, Holy Cross Academy in Edinburgh, Scotland. There were no fees and it was 100 per cent fully funded. Scotland always has been proud of its educational values.

No wonder we have Tony Abbott and Cory Benardi speaking up for sensible conservative values. But what can we do about it? Let us all be heard by those in charge. For too long has the silent majority been silent.

Dr Peter Couttie,
Portland, Vic.


Etihad gets free kick

“If same-sex marriage activists were serious about gay rights, they would be campaigning to have Etihad Stadium renamed and for Qantas to drop its partnership with Emirates,” Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton said.”

“Same-sex activists have never campaigned against the anti-gay Gulf-States’ airline Etihad’s name adorning the football stadium at Docklands in Melbourne.”

“They have never called out Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce for his hypocrisy in partnering with Emirates, a state-owned airline from a country where homosexuality is illegal.”

Mr Shelton said: “Margaret Court was being maliciously targeted because of her views on marriage and the teaching of children that their gender is fluid through programs like ‘Safe Schools’.”

It seems it is a bridge too far for same-sex activists to demand that Mr Joyce – who supports same sex-marriage – take Emirates to task and sever his relationship with them.

My suggestion to the tennis world is to keep Margaret’s name on the Melbourne Arena and to ignore the gender politicking.

Robert Bom,
West Rockhampton, Qld.


Homosexuals’ 180

In 1977 the Royal Commission into Human Relationships, set up by the Whitlam government, issued its report.

On April 28, 2013, ABC Radio National’s Hindsight program aired a documentary about the royal commission. The documentary was called Public Intimacy: the Royal Commission into Human Relationships.

You can listen to the program on the ABC’s website.

The program includes part of an interview with Mike Clohesy, then secretary of an organisation called Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP). The interview occurred around the time the royal commission made its report, probably in 1977. The program described CAMP as “the first modern homosexual rights organisation in Australia”.

At a point 28 minutes two seconds into the program, the following can be heard:

Interviewer: What sort of a place is a homosexual marriage to bring up children?

Clohesy: Well, if I can re-define “homosexual marriage” as “homosexual family”, because we don’t accept the term “marriage”. We think it [a homosexual family] is a quite suitable atmosphere [in which to bring up children]. We believe that what children need, to be brought up as strong independent people, is love. And that can’t be defined by structure.

So, there you have it. In 1977, the spokesman for the nation’s first homosexual rights organisation specifically rejected the concept of homosexual marriage. The spokesman rejected any such “structure”.

I guess everyone is entitled to change his/her mind. The clamouring of today’s homosexual organisations for same-sex marriage is, however, at odds – by 180 degrees – with the views of CAMP in 1977. Will the views of homosexual organisations change again, from clamouring for same-sex marriage to clamouring for, say, polygamy? Or for incestuous relationships?

Douglas Brown,
Turramurra, NSW


Keating just wrong

Paul Keating is reported to have stated (Canberra Observed, News Weekly, June 17, 2017): “Every great battleship went down in the first week at sea in the Second World War.”

It is surely better to shut up and be thought an ignoramus than to open your mouth and prove it. Keating reveals he deserves a Nobel prize for historical ignorance. Precisely one battleship was sunk in the Second World War in the circumstances he describes: the Bismarck. This was overtaken by a large British fleet and sunk largely by the fire of two other battleships: HM ships Rodney and King George V.

This may seem a small matter today but it is significant for what it reveals about Keating. It dovetails with his ignorance of Anglo-Australian history in general, suggesting he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

Hal G.P. Colebatch,
Nedlands, WA


“Beyond endurance”

Brian Coman (News Weekly, July 1, 2017) should imagine himself experiencing complete inability to urinate as the result of an enlarged prostate, or his wife facing a complicated childbirth, or his son or daughter coming down with appendicitis, while living on the Irish island where the inhabitants “sang and danced, told stories” with “no electricity, no phones, no cars, no newspapers, and no shops” – and no medical facilities.

He might decide that these and similar scenarios, not “our modern, largely urbanised existence”, are “horrible beyond endurance”.

Bill James,
Frankston, Vic.

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm