Monday, September 14, 2015

A private conversation

Generally, politicians can seem semi-decent and competent. Dressed in the expensive suits, and told what lines to say by the marketing division of their party, it's almost like the job of an actor playing a role.

But sometimes, like on Friday, you get a little look behind the scenes.

3 errors. Making a tasteless and cruel joke. Laughing at it. Not calling it out. The third politician points out the microphone. He doesn't seem shocked by the remark. It's almost like he's saying 'Guys, we're in public. Hide who we really are. Play the role of a decent human being.'

Later the politician said it was a "private conversation" and had nothing to add. Two days later he apologised - not for the remark, just for getting caught.

Obviously the joke didn't go down well with the Pacific Islands Forum, who have already warned Australia may be asked to leave the forum for refusing to make serious greenhouse emissions cuts.

The president of Kiribati has previously labelled Australia's obsession with coal mines as "selfish and unjust" and referred to the joke as vulgar. while the Fijian prime minister said Australia had been "put to the test on climate change and been found wanting".

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister has asked if Mr Dutton would be laughing if it were his own family about to lose their home because of climate change.

PS. Believe or not, all three of these men are ministers in our nation's government. I still don't get how any of them could think that people being flooded out of their country is good material for cheap laugh.

PPS. The Hungry Tide is a great documentary about Kiribati and its vulnerability to rising seas from climate change.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The sceptics

I caught a rerun of the Insight episode "The sceptics". Professor Stephen Schneider took questions from an audience of so-called 'sceptics'.

The professor did some great explaining of science. I'm not sure how much success he had with assembled audience. Most were not really sceptics in the true sense (cautious people, but willing to accept evidence) but rather people determined to reject climate science.

Still, he did manage to convince one or two of the 50, and I suspect he was even more successful with the more reasonable viewers at home. That's what a good explanation of the science does.

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