The anti-Morrison pile-on will bolster his base

Like the “Never Trump” bubble in the US, the perverse effect of this summer’s anti-Morrison pile-on will be to bolster the Prime Minister’s political base.

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 18 February 2020.

It is a truism that Australia trails the world by 10 years on any major trend, but in this era of globalisation, we catch on faster to some of the most odious cultural movements.

Notable among these is the way in which some American media has merged itself into the Never Trump movement, a completely counterproductive move that has increased polarisation and has the perverse effect of making Trump’s followers double down in support of him – regardless of how heinously he disregards accountability. Continue reading

The Drum, Friday 17 January 2020

the drum

Host: Adam Spencer
Panel: Parnell McGuinness, Kirsten Banks, James Hennessy

What is a ‘Betelgeuse’ and why has it got astronomers so excited? Also, the panel discusses growing concerns over large advertisers influencing commercial news and we geek out on some exciting scientific developments and the good, bad – and permanence – of tattoos.

Full episode here - ABC’s The Drum, Friday, 17 January 2020

The Coalition’s crisis is about it’s core

Scott Morrison is having a crisis that has penetrated into everyday real-people conversation. This is a moment in which the PM’s relationship with quiet Australians is genuinely in play.

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 4 February 2020

There’s no sugar-coating it, the Coalition is having a political crisis. A proper one, not just a Twitter beat-up; a multi-headed crisis that won’t die easily because it is about the unrenovated sports clubs people gather in, the town communities that must come together to rebuild after catastrophic fires, and the fear of the coronavirus making schools and universities feel unsafe.

The Coalition’s crisis originated in events outside its control, but it has revealed a crisis of meaning at its core. Alex Ellinghausen
Scott Morrison is having a crisis that has penetrated into everyday real-people conversation, the sidelines of sports matches, the school gate, the sandwich shop queue, the water-cooler, the Facebook mummy groups, the family WhatsApp chats. Continue reading

Virtue signalling as the nation burns

Greenies who back costly renewables over workable nuclear energy are doing more than anyone to keep coal in business.

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 21 January 2020

If this is a climate emergency, then it’s time for us to demand actions that produce results.

We don’t need a royal commission into the bushfires. A royal commission would be a costly way to find out what past reviews and royal commissions have found: namely that the Australian bush is full of highly flammable trees and that, as population increases create suburban sprawl and lifestyle preferences entice treechangers into leafy regions, more people and assets are at risk.

Refusal to accept nuclear means a longer dependence on coal. Not for Syndication Continue reading

Morrison must reconcile the extremists

It will not be enough to announce a prudent pragmatic approach to climate change. The Prime Minister will also have to find a way to satisfy the fanatics on both sides of the climate wars.

This article originally appeared in the Australian Financial Review on 7 January 2020

The bushfires have brought out the best in Australians. And the bushfires have also shown us the worst: hysterical, inflexible, identity-obsessed and vengeful.

“This will be Exhibit A in the coming climate trials,” Greens MP Adam Bandt tweeted, above a photo of Liberals celebrating the passing of the Carbon Tax Repeal Bills. Assuming his goal is consensus on the need for climate action, he just set the cause back significantly. Continue reading