I must admit I don’t remember ever hearing the name Russell Brand before this week. Apparently he’s a quite famous British comedian/actor person. But these days nobody’s talking about his acting. It’s all about his sex life and charges of rape and sexual assault. It seems you can get away with all sorts of prurient behaviour if you’re a ‘star’. But mix a bit of stardom with a dollop of sexual assault and you end up with trial-by-media, which is no fun at all.
Still, whatever this man might have done he deserves the right to an assumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Meanwhile, here in Australia, a few other chickens are coming home to roost.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen’s unrealistic charge towards a green renewables future has run into the brick wall of reality.
“On Sunday, Mr Bowen released figures from his department showing it would cost $387bn to replace retiring coal-fired plants with 21.3GW of nuclear generation….
Research by teams from the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, Princeton University’s Andlinger Centre for Energy and Environment and the Nous Group reported in July that Australia would need to find $1.5 trillion by the end of the decade to meet its net-zero emissions target by 2050. A drastic acceleration of onshore and offshore wind developments would be needed to provide future power, the Net Zero Australia group found. Nous Group principal Richard Bolt said the capital requirement for the transition would be $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion by 2030, and $7 trillion to $9 trillion by 2060. On that basis, SMRs (nuclear small modular reactors) would cost a fraction of that of continuing with the current approach.” 
While that’s happening, there’s growing concern from taxpayers in communities which would be heavily impacted by solar farms, off-shore wind farms, and the infrastructure to bring that power back to the energy grid. Naturally, most of them are in rural areas where it’s safe to assume they wouldn’t be voting for Mr Bowen anyway. Which is possibly why decisions made about these people’s properties, views, wildlife, and so on are carried out behind closed doors without including any of the locals. And that’s just plain undemocratic and not at all in keeping with Mr Albanese’s promise of “accountability and transparency, not secrecy”. Watch him make the statement on the media-formerly-known-as- Twitter.
Recently departed Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, is also finally reaping at least some of the rewards for his hubris and mis-management. His retirement payout has been slashed by a reported $10.5 million. I don’t know how he’ll be able to manage with the remaining $13.5 million. I was astonished to read he’s still eligible for a $2 million bonus!!! (CEO salaries are nothing short of obscene.) And the wolves are gathering around the chairman and the board. Having been party to the Qantas debacle, they don’t deserve to remain.
There’s growing evidence that the ‘welcome to country’ rituals that these days are part of any social gathering are increasingly on the nose. Who wants to be ‘welcomed to country’ when they’re waiting to see a performance in the Sydney Opera House? Or at the football? Or when they’re sitting on an aeroplane? It has become a meaningless ritual. How many of you can remember having to stand and listen to the national anthem (in that time it was God Save the Queen) before the movie started at the picture theatre? As a rebellious teen I refused to stand. Eventually, the anthem was no longer played. Welcome to country needs to go the same way. Rather than being an inclusive gesture, it’s increasingly seen as divisive, treating most of us as strangers in our own country.
And, of course, with the date of the Voice referendum a few short weeks away, there’s plenty in the media on both sides.
In the hope of persuading people to her point of view, Rachel Perkins, one of the proponents of the ‘YES’ vote, took a journalist to visit the White Gate camp, a few minutes out of Darwin. It’s a confronting place, with scenes reminiscent of impoverished Asian countries, not first world Australia. Perkins tells us the Voice to Parliament will make all the difference but judging by the comments on the article, we the public are not buying it. The government has a Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, who is herself indigenous. She has a department of bureaucrats. In addition, there’s the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) which works to support the Minister for Indigenous Australians. Then there are three THOUSAND plus agencies across the nation which purport to support indigenous people. It’s estimated that the Australian government spends $30+ billion annually on indigenous people. Some of that is part of social welfare programs but $4.2 billion is spent on specifically indigenous programs. That’s for less than one million people, or under 4% of Australia’s population, who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. And many of them are in no way disadvantaged.
There’s an elephant in the room. It’s asking what those agencies do with that taxpayer money if places like White Gate still exist? Where’s the accountability? Where’s the responsibility? What is all that money being spent on? I strongly support Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s call for an audit of all those agencies and departments which are supposed to support indigenous people. If that’s done, I suspect there’ll be a few chickens coming home there, too.
I’ve expressed my opinion on the Voice often enough. I’ll be voting NO.
That’s it for the chickens.
The Bureau of Meteorology has announced that we’re in an El Nino weather pattern, bringing warm, dry air to Eastern Australia. That pattern is exacerbated by a negative Indian Ocean dipole. So, we can expect a long, hot summer. There are quite a few fires burning in NSW but some are the result of arsonists and it is, after all, ‘fire season’. That’s to be expected after three years of above average rainfall as all that lush growth starts to dry out. This is Australia. We should be used to it. But it seems we’re having an unprecedented heat wave on the East Coast, with temps getting up to the mid-eighties!! And it’s still only Spring!!!
Anything for a headline.
This week I thought I’d showcase a few pictures where the photos were taken by me then manipulated in Photoshop. Make no mistake, that’s AI, too. But it seems to be acceptable. On the other hand, I used Midjourney to create the chickens coming home to roost and the elephant in the room.