A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).

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The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX

Thompsons Part 10: The DEC admits it treated them unfairly

This comes from the DEC’s itself: they have a standard procedure, and they didn’t follow it for the Thompsons.

Here are what I believe are the most damning critical passages of the whole Thompson case, and they come from the minutes of a meeting with DEC and the Thompsons held in December 2009.

From these minutes I quote the passages below. Matt confirmed that no one who attended queried the accuracy of these minutes of Dec 2009. (I have highlighted things in this copy of the minutes and added two notes in red ink and brackets. Forgive the unsubtle additions.)

The minister tell us what their procedure is:

(DF is representative of Donna Faragher the Minister)

DF: There is a clear process that is gone through in these situations. Letters are sent out advising of the problem and providing a time frame for correction. Then an Environmental Field Notice is issued and the proponent is given time to comply. Then and Environmental Protection Notice is issued, and the proponent is given time to deal with that. Only after that exhaustive process, would an operation be shut down…or limited in throughput which would lead to it shutting down. We have had [...]

Thompsons Part 9: Senator Cory Bernardi speaks out in Parliament

Cory Bernardi

Cory Bernardi: As I See It.

Senator Bernardi is not even a Senator from the same state as the Thompsons, yet he has gone out of his way to find out some of the information behind the case, and raised the issue in Parliament. It’s the mark of a man of principle.

Senator Cory Bernardi is a Senator for South Australia. He was one of the leading advocates within the Liberal Party who stood against the Rudd Labor Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

He has written  As I see It: Thoughts of a Conservative.

Alan Jones referred to him as a man of character.   See Cory’s excellent blog. (I enjoy it.) His speech on the Thompsons follows:


Thompsons Part 8: Mexican standoff at the Farmgate

They came with trucks to take his possessions. Matt Thompson had locked the gates only minutes before. For two hours they waited. Matt watched with his camera in case they forced entry.

Where is The West Australian? Are they too busy covering beauty pageants to write about the real news? I’ve just sent them this link. But I’ve sent them the story twice before. I think they need to hear it from hundreds of people. You can suggest a story to them here, and you can write a letter to The Editor, of The West Australian <>.


They came with a car and two trucks


Thompsons Part 7: Welcome to Investment Hell

Apologies to those far away who are interested in more international stories, but as Matt Thompson says, it’s sure isn’t dull around here — yesterday he locked the farm gates just in time. The administrators came calling again to start removing items. He and they had a Mexican standoff for 2 long hours — he with camera in hand, they in their car. Matt tells me he can’t leave the property.

I wrote two letters, and sent the first one below to our politicians and The West Australian, and The Australian. I sent the lower letter to A Current Affair (who have expressed an interest) and also to Senator Cory Bernardi and Dennis Jensen, the Federal Member for Tangney. Both men have rung me in the last few days to talk about the Thompsons. They both give me hope that despite all the self serving pork barrelling and spin, there are still good people — great people — in our Federal Parliament. Senator Bernardi was planning to raise the issue in Parliament last night.

I’ve included a third letter from James Doogue (written in July) below mine, because he has taken a different angle with some very valid [...]

Climate Wars: EU Threatens Rest Of The World With Flight Ban

Europe is doing “so well” with the success of it’s carbon trading that some people there have given up wait for the rest of us to join them voluntarily and decided to try threats and intimidation.

It’s another lesson in why trading schemes are so dog-messy to unravel once they are in place.

We here in the land of the long-distance-haul-to-everywhere find the idea of taxing carbon emissions on flights especially appealling. Just marvellous for our tourism and business after all. And what are the odds that our Gullible Gillard-and-Greens Government will fight in the WTO to save Australia from this effective tariff on doing business here?

Benny Pieser spotted the article in a German publication.


22 September 2010

Thomas Ludwig

Foreign airlines are threatened with a flight and landing ban from 2012 in the European Union if they do not participate in emissions trading.


Nanny State Goes Ballistic: $100 fine if you fly a kite or dig a hole on beach.

Welcome to council-control-freak insanity in WA –  the ruling class who think there is no cost to adding more rules and regulations, assume they can replace common sense with guidelines that dictate the size of the hole you can dig on a beach.

From The West Australian 22-Sept-2010

In Australia we’re passionate about our beaches and equally so about them belonging to all Australians. But one of the most popular beaches in Perth could be hit with council rules that stop you flying a kite, digging a hole, bringing a toy truck, or meeting with 11 friends. Good intentions run amok.


Blog Warfare — Warmist attacks their own

Then today Richard Black of the BBC finds out how ugly it can be when you make the mistake (the travesty!) of missing a chance to tell everyone that the Earth’s falling apart due to Man-made Global Warming.

It’s the first time Richard Black has been on the receiving end. He’s a bit put out.

It seems that something new, and not altogether welcome, may be happening in the politicking over climate change.

I have written before of the orchestrated villification that comes the way of climate scientists from some people and organisations who are unconvinced of the case for human-induced climate change – “sceptics”, “deniers”, as you wish.

This week, for the first time, I am seeing the same pattern from their opponents.

Joe Romm, the physicist-cum-government-advisor-cum-polemicist, posted a blog entry highly critical of the Arctic ice article I wrote last week.

Joe Romm took him to task for doing a story on the hottest year without “mentioning the primary cause of global warming” (according to climate models which are known to be wrong). Romm set lots of emailers onto Black. The original “dreadful” story is just reporting how arctic ice melted fast, but didn’t shrink as much as 2007.

Then [...]

Thompsons part 6: Strong Community Support

NEWS: The Thompsons received notification yesterday that they will be evicted on October 15. They ran a popular, profitable business, broke no laws, and received no infringement notices related to their stock numbers.

UPDATE #2: See below for the most useful thing you can do if you want to help them.

Here is a key point people have asked about in comments.

What about the community? How do the people of Narrogin feel — do they want the farm to stay?

The layout of the surrounds, the town, and various complainants. References to the watercourse and gully relate to the need for a license. (Can you see a waterway?)

Narrogin is a town of around 5,000 people.  900 people signed a petition in support and the two nearest neighbors want the feedlot to stay. They don’t just agree the feedlot should run at 10,000 head, they put their names to 15,000. People give Matt money in the street, the complainants live further away than some strong supporters, and the piggery was operating right next door for all those years. The Shire has written to the DEC urging them to allow the business to operate.


Minister of the Environment and Queen of WA?

! UPDATE ! : The administrators have just written to give notice of eviction for October 15th. They also want the legal rights to the proposed litigation by Narrogin Beef Producers. In other words, they want to firesale the farm and clean up any proceeds of the wrongs done against Matt and Janet. The Thompsons would lose everything. Right now more than anything they need legal brains to help them out.

Here’s the sweet two line clause that pretty much gives total control over all businesses in WA to the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).

Condition A1 is an all encompassing point recently added to the Thompson’s license. It’s a sweeping clause, and measured entirely with opinions. Anyone with the right to say Yay or Nay on what’s reasonable here is the proxy for ruling Monarch. It’s so powerful that if we referred to noise instead of odour, and applied it to, say, Perth Airport, I’m pretty sure we could stop all flights to Western Australia until they shift those runways to the Gibson Desert.

ODOUR CONTROL A1 The licensee shall ensure that odour emitted from the premises does not unreasonably interfere with the health welfare, [...]

Join us in Sydney, Friday October 1

A free one day seminar in Sydney on Climate Change. Friday, October 1

Hosted by The Heartland Institute, it’s the fifth in a series of international conferences on climate change that Heartland has hosted since March 2008, and the first to be held outside the United States.

Chris de Freitas | Bob Carter | Cory Bernardi | David Evans

| Alan Moran | Barun S. Mitra | Jo Nova

Emissions policy

Sea level changes

Corruption, Costs, Benefits,

Defeating the Witchdoctors

The seminar is part of the Pacific Rim Policy Exchange, sponsored by Heartland, Americans for Tax Reform, the Property Rights Alliance, and the Institute of Public Affairs.

For more information or to register for the Policy Exchange, click here.

ATR and the HEARTLAND INSTITUTE are offering FREE [...]

Thompsons part 4: Every slope is a watercourse

See the ridiculous application of laws that are supposed to protect the environment. We mock DEC’s use of the word “watercourse”. The Thompsons case and all their pain depends on a paddock being listed as a watercourse. They have in effect lost it all because in a 100 year flood, water from this paddock might possibly reach a salt pan 10 km away. This is not about the environment. This post includes maps of the property and surrounds. By paying attention to the detail of the licences we can see just how powerful the Department of Environment (DEC) is, and how selective it can be. You would think it would be easy to measure 100 m toward a waterway, but how do you define a waterway? You might expect that it would have banks, or that in a 100 year flood the water flowing in the gully might have a chance of reaching a body of water big enough to have a fish. If so, don’t apply for a job at DEC in WA. [...]

News from the Non Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

A sample of recent scientific news from NIPCC * The Glaciers of Greenland were smaller 5000 years ago; * African savanna trees thrive with increases in CO2; * It was hotter in China a thousand years ago, and by a whole degree; * Marine-life-with-shells can’t agree on their favourite CO2 level and * Temperatures make no difference to the 5000 year record of hurricanes. [...]

Most unpopular state government wants to run the country

What a mess.

The New South Wales State (NSW) Government is one of the most unpopular state governments in the history of Australia. Maybe this gives us a clue why. The latest plan is to please the population by taking an unnecessary statewide carbon abatement scheme and launching it on the whole nation:


Unintended Consequences – part 1

We come across these stories all the time: Those moments when the most well-intended ideas turned out to have a kicker of an outcome. It’s time to start organizing and filing them.

Money is a powerful fuel. But, some people think you can inject it into a human ecosystem, and that everyone will keep acting the same.  Like people are forgetting the feedbacks….

Here, one legislator describes the outcome of his own work as a “gigantic rort”, and another researcher uses the word blackmail. Meanwhile, two out of three children diagnosed with autism in Queensland are apparently not autistic.


4 days notice! The Thompsons are served notice of eviction.

Have green government officials targeted a family farm because they are vocal skeptics? This is a family with four young children, who ran a profitable business; they filled in every form and ticked every box. They have broken no laws, and there are no outstanding environmental notices, but yet, they came to Western Australia with their life savings and they are losing everything. After years of government red tape, delays, and impossible requests the bank has given them 4 days to pay up. [...]

Holdren uses free market to get back to Stone Age

Nearly 40 years ago, John Holdren (now “science” advisor to Obama) wrote a book with the infamous Ehrlichs. Their “progressive” attack on progress was clear: “A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States”. It’s a weird use of the word. But, there is no mistaking “de-develop”: to undo development, to go backwards, to get rid of advances…. [...]

Australian Survey of Scientists: Quick speak up while you can!

A comment from Speedy is worth taking up.

I fear they will close the survey soon. Don’t miss the chance to let them know how disappointed you are in falling standards of scientific integrity in our major scientific institutions and associations. These groups should be speaking out against unscientific behaviour, illogical announcements, and a lack of empirical evidence in policy proscriptions. These institutions should be serving the public.

The survey is for members of Australian Science Associations and members of FASTS.


7 Signs of the Times

If we are winning this war, we would expect to see signs of retreat, and many signs have crossed my desk recently.

1. The EU abandons the Unilateral Kyoto Agreement

Reuters 14th Sept. Read between the lines, and hidden amongst the rest:

Connie Hedegaard’s comments were delivered alongside a warning that Europe would not automatically sign up again to the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol, the main global deal to tackle climate change.

Hedegaard said progress looked “very difficult” in the run up to global climate talks in Cancun, Mexico in November, and that nobody should expect the EU to sign up to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol unless loopholes are closed and other big players commit.

(Thanks to Benny Pieser)

2. Russia and China have never been fooled by the Big Scare Campaign

The Russian bets that coal mining will be a good deal for 25 years to come. China agrees. I don’t think either of these countries is thinking seriously about paying a carbon price on top. [...]

Australian Temperatures in cities adjusted up by 70%!?

Ken Stewart has been hard at work again, this time analyzing the Australian urban records. While he expected that the cities and towns would show a larger rise than records in the country due to the Urban Heat Island Effect, what he found was that the raw records showed only a 0.4 degree rise, less than the rural records which went from a raw 0.6 to an adjusted 0.85 (a rise of 40%). What shocked him about the urban records were the adjustments… making the trend a full 70% warmer.

The largest adjustments to the raw records are cooling ones in the middle of last century. So 50 years after the measurements were recorded, officials realized they were artificially too high? Hopefully someone who knows can explain why so many thermometers were overestimating temperatures in the first half of the 1900′s.

50 years later?

The raw Australian urban temperature records are in blue. The adjusted records in red. Note that temperatures in the middle of last century appear to be adjusted downwards. These are the annual average recordings for all 34 sites.

Remember Dr David Jones, Head of Climate Monitoring [...]

Clive Hamilton’s War on Science

Clive Hamilton writes again on The ABC Drum

It’s a strange, inside-out world. Poor Hamilton seems to suffer from a kind of public form of projection, where he  inadvertently lumps skeptics with all his own failures. Everything he claims to be standing for, he unwittingly attacks. Everything he protests about is something he does himself, and in spades. Virtually every point is easily refuted, yet promoted with public money.

It’s quite an achievement. Hamilton is anti-science, intolerant, and hypocritical all at once, and his arguments collapse when measured against his own benchmarks. He resorts to name-calling, and rank speculation without basis or substantiation. The ABC betrays its wafer thin intellectual standards and bias by not noticing that Clive barely makes a point that does not dispute itself.

Clive protests about the War on Science, but doesn’t realize he is waging it.

The thing that makes the scientific method vastly different to all the other philosophies and methods of acquiring knowledge out there is that evidence always stands above opinion. Yet the very core of Hamilton’s arguments depends on the “Consensus”, and Clive apparently hasn’t [...]