Bovine excrement

Prime Minister Morrison seems to be certain that the next federal election will be in May. Cynics would suggest as Parliament is only sitting for two weeks in April, the plan is to hone their political sales pitch, pork barrel marginal electorates and parachute past or failed LNP politicians and their supporters into positions where they could potentially influence government programs and decisions into the future. It’s time to call bovine excrement on the sales pitch (because the word ‘bull****’ would trigger a significant number of internet filters).

The Climate Council is on the record as suggesting that Australia is NOT on track to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions to below 2005 levels by 2030. In addition, they note
This target is inadequate in terms of the science and Australia doing its fair share to tackle climate change. The independent Climate Change Authority recommended, in the lead up to the Paris climate talks in 2015, Australia adopt a 2030 emissions reduction target of 45-65% below 2005 levels.

Australia’s 2030 target is economy wide, meaning that Australia must reduce total greenhouse gas pollution taking into account emissions from all sectors - electricity, stationary energy, transport, fugitive emissions, industry, agriculture, waste and land use.
Morrison insists Australia will meet the target ‘in a canter’ (partial paywall), and in the last week or so announced a number of ‘measures’ to demonstrate his ‘commitment’. Given Morrison was the one handing a piece of coal around in the Parliament not that long ago and his party was the one claiming earlier this decade an emissions trading scheme would wipe out Whyalla and generate the $100 lamb roast, you really have to question the claim. Well The Saturday Paper did, (partial paywall) using evidence, and not favourably
Having seen the policy and watched Morrison’s misrepresentations of climate reality in media interviews, Tim Baxter, a fellow of the Law School and associate of the Climate and Energy College at Melbourne University, doesn’t see Australia cantering towards its climate goals. He sees a gallop. The “Gish gallop”.

For those unfamiliar with the term — as I was when Baxter used it — the Gish gallop is a rhetorical technique, named for an American creationist, Duane Gish, who employed it.

As Baxter explains: “It’s a term for when you throw out copious amounts of half-truths and baseless claims in rapid succession, knowing your opponent cannot rebut each one in the available time. It’s based on the premise that it takes vastly more effort to debunk nonsense than it takes to put it out in the first place.”
The Climate Council is a group of scientists that look at evidence, not popularity. They work in a similar way to the scientists that monitored every child born in Denmark for an 11 year period (around 650,000 people) and determined vaccination doesn’t have any effect on autism rates versus those who determine that vaccination is dangerous based on Andrew Wakefield’s UK ‘research’ using a group of
just 12 patients, [which] could not be repeated in subsequent studies, and Wakefield lost his UK medical licence after it was revealed he had conflicts of interest in the case and had falsified data.
Morrison claims he ‘stopped the boats’ and protects our ‘strong borders’. In 2011, Morrison, as a part of the then Coalition opposition (together with the Greens), blocked the ‘Malaysia Solution’ to the ‘problem’ of potential refugees sailing on unseaworthy boats with the intention of arriving on Australian soil.
In all likelihood, those new laws would have significantly deterred asylum seekers from attempting the dangerous journey by boat. Without the legislation, 591 boats brought 39,070 people to Australia from October 2011 to July 2013. Tony Abbott has since expressed some regret about his role in blocking the plan. As far as I can tell, Scott Morrison hasn’t joined him.
From the same article in The Inside Story
Nevertheless, asylum seekers are now arriving in greater numbers and at an increasing rate by the safer and cheaper means of the aeroplane. In the year ending June 2018, 27,931 people with visitor visas, the bona fides of which may be difficult to assess at points of departure to Australia, applied for protection visas, compared with the 18,365 boat arrivals who made such claims in 2012–13. The backlog of applications for protection visas at June 2018 was 177,140, and the backlog of appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has increased from 17,480 in 2016 to 52,491 in 2018.
The Inside Story goes on to argue that Morrison and Dutton’s Home Affairs Department within the Coalition government is an abuse of process, inefficient and weakens rather than strengthens the capacity of Australia to process asylum seekers claims in a humane and realistic timeframe. Most asylum seekers (who arrive by plane) are living in towns and cities around Australia waiting for their protection claims to be processed by Morrison and Dutton’s monolithic department that has to follow byzantine and inefficient policies to do the work required without adequate resourcing. Apparently the rhetoric around Home Affairs and offshore detention being the response needed for ‘border protection’ is more spin and marketing without evidence.

In both cases here, just as with other policies and practices of the current version of the Abbot/Turnbull/Morrison government, Morrison is clearly in trouble on a factual level and has to rely on bovine excrement and ‘Gish galloping’ to justify dodgy policy. Let’s call him out on it now, during the election campaign and at the ballot box.

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