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


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper




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



Malcolm Roberts, a polished punchy senate speech

In his maiden speech as a new Senator, Malcolm Roberts looks sharp, stands tall, and fires his words precisely, and articulately. He oozes determination.

He’s put in long hours for years to be there and he knows exactly why he’s there. James Jeffrey in The Australian described it as “impassioned”, delivered with “the pyrotechnic power of his larynx”:

Roberts gave a speech that left even his leader, Pauline Hanson, with big shoes to fill. He quoted John Cleese, former US president Andrew Jackson and Banjo Paterson, and compared himself to Socrates. Climate change was boomingly dismissed as “a scam”.

His remarks on climate science are in the first ten minutes: Roberts strength is his reasoning — his focus on cause and effect. He’s right to draw attention to the failed predictions of Flannery and Karoly; he’s right to talk about the pause, and the cooling from WWII to the late 70s.

He’s right to question the sacred institutions like the BOM and their inexplicable and unreplicatable adjustments.

He’s right to keep asking for the data that shows that human use of hydrocarbon fuels affects the climate. Its 2,447 days since I asked if there was any evidence. To [...]

Australian Senate announced – Hanson holds four seats. Malcolm Roberts wins!

The final Australian Senate was announced today with 11 wildcard “cross benchers” (people who are not in the four largest parties). Turnbull is going to have to choose to go conservative or go left. For foreign readers — sorry about more Australian politics but this finally maps out who holds the power in the Australian government.

Senators include: Hanson, 4. Nick Xenophon, 3.

plus  Bob Day, David Leyonhjelm, Jackie Lambie, Derryn Hinch.

The Coalition needs 9 of them to get legislation through the Senate. Somehow Turnbull has to deal with both Hanson and Xenophon candidates, an impossible combination on any climate or environmental issue. Turnbull will have to do deals with the Greens to get through any pro-climate-industry legislation The Greens have exactly the number of Senators that the Coalition needs. But a Greens deal risks a Liberal party room revolt for a weak PM. Potentially the Hanson team could up the ante in protest at a climate deal by holding out on approving other legislation as a price.

Skeptics, Defcons must keep the pressure on Coalition members to stop Turnbull doing Green deals.

In this messy senate, Turnbull cannot hold the threat of [...]

Delcons do matter — defiant non-left voters were “most influential group”

Aiming for the passionless imaginary center doesn’t work

Some big surprises from exit polls from the Australian election day, thanks to the Australian Institute of Progress (AIP). Non-Greens third party voters (code for Delcons – or Defiant conservatives) were more interested in “cultural issues like immigration, Islam, gay marriage, refugees, industry protection and political correctness”. Graham Young, Executive Director of the AIP calls these voters the “most influential in Australia, effectively choosing who will form the government.”

The next election will be won by the party that manages to reap more than its fair share of the non-Greens minor party voters. They are up for grabs for Liberal or Labor.

In the end, around 50% of the Delcons are prepared to put Labor above Liberal in preferences (the nuclear option) –  showing how wrong Mark Textor’s theory is that the Liberal base “doesn’t matter” and the Liberals should aim for the centre and can afford to mistreat their base. Another theme I see is that parties need passion — when it’s missing from the base, it sure isn’t coming from the centre. As I said before Turnbull took over, “the passionate support base for the Liberal party will [...]

Greenpeace slam Australia’s new Environment Minister (so Frydenberg can’t be all bad)

The one thing Malcolm Turnbull has got right in the last year?    Out with Greg Hunt, and in with Josh Frydenberg.

The new ministry has been announced, as predicted, without magnanimity, wisdom or grace. There is no role for Tony Abbott; Turnbull is still too afraid of him. But Greg Hunt has finally been moved out of the Environment portfolio which can only be a good thing. He has been a key proponent of passionate and pointless action on the weather, and was central to stopping a BOM audit and bringing in a carbon tax. Almost any other minister might actually try to get better science (see here and here), and solve real environmental problems instead of fake ones. Perhaps finally an environment minister may recognise that we need temperature data that can be independently replicated if we are ever going to understand the Australian climate?

The Dept of Environment has been merged with Energy which makes sense for carbon traders and the renewables industry, but perhaps not for the environment.

The new environment minister looks good

The Sydney Morning Herald has put together the praise for Josh Frydenberg:

Former Greens leader Bob Brown said Mr Frydenberg [...]

Unfortunately Australia has a government

We knew it was going to happen sometime. Shorten has conceded defeat. Turnbull stays on as a weakened PM.

It’s a Delcon win

For Defcons / Delcons this outcome was close to as good as it gets. How could an unfunded, disorganized group vote for “not Turnbull” without handing the government to a Labor-Green group? Individual voters can’t vote for a “hung weak government”. For a whole glorious week Turnbull has been tortured with calls for his resignation with his faults laid out bare. Several Turnbull supporters were targeted and removed. The antithesis of the hard left (Pauline Hanson) has gained a voice. The Nationals grew stronger and the Liberals were punished.

All this, despite the mainstream media barely mentioning Delcons, and hardly ever interviewing minor party candidates (except for Greens). This result was achieved despite GetUP running a $3m dollar campaign* in exactly the opposite direction targeting Abbott supporters.

Sinclair Davidson (and many in the pro-Turnbull camp) are declaring that Abbott would have lost, but they use polls from a year ago, or polls about a man who didn’t campaign to be PM. And we all know how reliable polls are. Turnbull nearly lost the election because he wouldn’t [...]

Politically-tragic soft left journalists completely missed the Defcon vote

Journalists are still wondering what happened

“How did we get it wrong?” asks Matthew Knott.

The post election dissection is a study in how a fishbowl of left-leaning journalists totally missed what was important to most of Australia. Maybe the ABC or Fairfax might want to employ a conservative?

Journalists talked, and nobody cared

The journalists said the Coalition would win. They analyzed their movements seat-by-marginal-seat, mapping the flights, wallowed in hours of same-sex marriage debate, asked what happened to climate change, and debated whether the big-spending deficits had killed off Labor’s chances. Every nuance of the soapie called Turnbull-v-Abbott was discussed — did Turnbull snub him by listing former PM’s and not Abbott? Did Abbott grin, or grimace? Navel gazers opined that the Brexit shock would push even more people to the conservative side, it will be “a defining moment of the campaign” they said — as if UK trade agreements with Germany would a/ disappear, or b/ rank in the top sixty things Australia voters cared about. And Leigh Sales asked every candidate whether each leader would still be their leader next week. As if any politician would ever reply “no” the week before an election.

The media [...]

Turnbull killed off the best campaign issue for the Coalition — the carbon tax

It was no accident that Turnbull turned out to be a lousy campaigner. He stood for things the people didn’t want, so he couldn’t mention his “successes” nor point at Labor’s big failures.

Andrew Bolt wonders why Turnbull didn’t run the carbon tax scare, which worked so well for Tony Abbott:

If only Turnbull had followed another critical tip from the shrewd Hunt, to hit Labor with an attack on his planned electricity tax – a new carbon tax. As Labor’s Mediscare has proved, the electorate is highly sensitive to threats to the household budget after several years now of living standards not rising. An attack on Labor’s electricity tax could have been decisive, but that was one more piece of good advice Turnbull ignored.

It was not about good advice. Turnbull couldn’t run the carbon tax scare — because he and Greg Hunt had bought a carbon tax in themselves  — the hypocrites would be exposed. Worse, it would remind the electorate of what they voted for so emphatically in 2013 — a mandate to get rid of a carbon tax.

The last time the Coalition could campaign on getting rid of that great big carbon tax [...]

Election Day in Australia – “Independent’s Day”

It’s not Independence Day for Australia, just “Independent’s Day”. Anyone but the majors…

Election Tomorrow: How-to-vote suggestions for climate skeptics

CarbonSense have posted a list of dedicated skeptics in Australian politics


David Archibald, Australian Liberty Alliance candidate for Curtin in WA George Christensen, LNP Candidate for Dawson in Queensland Dr Dennis Jensen MP, Independent Candidate for Tangney, WA


David Leyonhjelm, Liberal Democrats for NSW Bob Day, Family First for SA  “No more windfarms” John Madigan, Manufacturing and Farming Party Malcolm Roberts, No 2 on ticket for Pauline Hanson in Queensland Dr Mark Imisides, Christian Democrats, WA.

Rafe Campion recommends the .

My method is to choose your local candidate carefully, based on individuals not parties. Know your candidates. I lean Delcon. Like John Stone who links to the list of Turncoats. There is no small government  major party any more. Shorten would be more-terrible in the short run, but we might get a good opposition and a decent Senate. (Blessed are the Gridlocked, whose MP’s cannot pass laws.) In the long run Turnbull could stop us getting both good government and a good opposition.  In the short run, the dire option of another Labor-Green government with some [...]

Dr Mark Imisides, a serious skeptic candidate for the WA Senate

This is such a change. It used to be that the best a skeptic could hope for was a politician who “believes the science” but spoke in a code about wanting more evidence.  But here’s a candidate openly wooing skeptics — no pandering to political correctness. Imisides is equipped with a PhD in chemistry and he wants a debate: Look at me as a type of scientific Dirty Harry, he says. He explains why lawyer-politicians use the wrong reasoning and we need scientist politicians (like him, obviously). His points are not just about Australian politics but all Western governments.  He skips the scientific details here (we all know them), but I can vouch that from his past emails he’s not only done the homework on aerosols, hotspots, ice cores, and different IPCC reports, he’s even familiar with the devastating Thompson’s case (skeptical farming family).  This man is a serious skeptic. Well informed, and he understands how to reason. In a double dissolution election, he’s tackling a big vacant niche so he has a real chance (and with a lucky #1 spot on the ticket to boot). I wish there were more like him in every state — scientifically [...]

Secret deal: Australia already has an ETS – carbon tax – starts in 5 weeks

Get ready. The legislation was done on the last day Parliament sat in December. The Coalition government knew it would be popular with the voters who all want “carbon action” so they… buried the news. No cheering. No speeches.

It apparently starts on July 1, and applies to 150 companies — about half our emissions. It’s a Cap N Trade system with “Caps” that can be screwed gently down as the climate warms to fill government coffers and raise electricity prices.  The Direct Action plan auctions can be phased out and the SneakTax phased in. It could end up being the main game. A blank cheque.

It’s called “Safeguard” — it was safe for politicians and guards them against their failure to meet pointless, symbolic international agreements to slow storms. A Safeguard for politicians but a SneakTax for the people.

What does it mean? It’s time Australia got a new central political party.

Alan Kohler in The Australian

From July 1, coincidentally the day before the election, the Coalition’s “safeguard mechanism” within its Direct Action Plan will come into force.

One-hundred and fifty companies, representing about 50 per cent of Australia’s total carbon emissions, will be [...]