I do like Monday nights on ABC TV.
6:30pm Talking Heads
7:00pm ABC News
7:30pm The 7.30 Report
8:00pm Australian Story (Part 2 of the Downer puffery was on last night; that’s Part 1)
8:30pm Four Corners. Here’s where we saw as sleazy a set of villains, Right and Left(ish), as you could ever hope not to see, and a display of the dark side of “mateship”. It’s about Western Australia, lobbyists, and developers — enough said! Oh, there were good guys too…
9:20pm Media Watch. That story is quite hilarious!
9:35pm Difference Of Opinion
Kevin Rudd was in good form, I thought, on The 7.30 Report.
…KEVIN RUDD: Absolutely. Let me make a parallel with this. When it comes to the future composition of the board of the ABC, I’ll be instituting a parallel process so we don’t allow the politicisation of the board of the ABC. I’m passionate about the integrity of public institutions. Public institutions have been prostituted by this Government so much over the last decade that we’ve actually got to draw a line. We need to restore the integrity of institutions so that they are put beyond the reach of partisan politics.
Here’s another guarantee for you. I will not make an appointment of any former politician or political staffer to any position on the board of the ABC. We’ve got to restore the integrity of institutions like the ABC fully. We’ve got to also make sure that bodies such as the future Fair Work Australia is properly constituted as well. That is my intention, that is how we’re going to do it…
KERRY O’BRIEN: Briefly, sadly briefly, on uranium, Mr Rudd, we don’t have much time left. Uranium and nuclear power. Regardless of how you justify it, will you at least acknowledge the contradiction, if not the hypocrisy, that Labor supports the export of as much uranium as you can sell for nuclear power overseas, acknowledged with guidelines, but you reject nuclear power and waste storage out of hand for Australia.
KEVIN RUDD: There’s no contradiction in that at all. Do you know why? We have a rich array of energy options in onshore Australia. Other countries to which we sell uranium do not. Therefore, for other countries there may be no other energy future other than nuclear power. For Australia there is. Mr Howard, because he’s been caught napping on climate change and having denied climate change is a factor in this country and for its future for the last 11 years, four or five months before an election says, “Gee, we’ve got to look as if we’re serious about this, let’s whack on a debate about nuclear energy”. It’s driven by politics. And if I was in the coal industry watching this, I’d be concerned about Mr Howard hauling up the white flag when it comes to the future of clean coal…
Difference of Opinion was surprisingly good, even if Jeff McMullen, whose resume really is impressive, does come across a bit like a Sunday School teacher. Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised given the current ABC Chair Mark Scott: … The one time you have been spied in the corridors or Parliament House in Canberra was in November 2003 at the National Prayer Breakfast when you led a Faith in Media seminar, what was that about?… Even so, the panel on Climate Change issues was a good one and there was consensus among them, diverse as they were politically, about the urgency of the matter.
Then, what a segue! Straight after we had Ian MacFarlane, Tourism and Resources Minister, on Lateline. Put to one side that he has one of the most unfortunate voice problems in Australian politics; his real problem was to give a distinct impression that he didn’t know what he was talking about, a fact that was cruelly obvious after the program just before him.
…TONY JONES: Well last time I checked, you were a climate change sceptic. Are you still a climate change sceptic?
IAN MACFARLANE: Well I’m not sure I’m a climate change sceptic. I certainly believe that human habitation has contributed to climate change and to global warming, I guess what I am sceptical about is some of the more exaggerated claims that are being made about the connection between CO2 emissions and climate change. So I’m happy to sit down and consider the arguments, I’m listening carefully to the discussions that are going on in regard to carbon trading. And I think that what we’ve seen though, is an extraordinary claims about sea level rises that are not borne out even by the IPCC report. And some intimation that the world is doomed if we don’t suddenly stop using fossil fuels. There has to be solutions and those solutions will be technical.
TONY JONES: You’re not a climate change sceptic but you’re sceptical about the critical claim made by the scientists, which is that CO2 emissions lead to climate change, is that right?
IAN MACFARLANE: I’m sceptical about the exaggerated statements by some of the green groups in particular, that we have to end coal mining in Australia, or we are doomed. Quite frankly Australia’s energy resources will need to be managed in a mixed way. That is, we’ll have to have clean coal technology, clean gas technology. We’ll also have to improve the penetration of renewables. As the Prime Minister announced on the weekend, it’s time for a debate on whether or not nuclear power fits into our future of zero emissions and lower emissions.
TONY JONES: We’ll certainly come to that. ‘I am a sceptic of the connection between emissions and climate change’, you recall saying that?
IAN MACFARLANE: I do recall saying that, yes. Let’s not try and verbal me here, Tony…
Naturally he fell back on THE MANTRA:
IAN MACFARLANE: They move around. We’re working hard. We know there’s a lot of work to be done. We know that the Australian people not only want to know what we’ve done already, but they’re more interested in what we can do in the next three years and that’s where the experience of this government is really going to come into play, that you are as a voter in Australia going to be asked to make a decision between an experienced team led by an experienced Prime Minister and someone like Kevin Rudd with a team of people with no experience in government.