Denying warm periods again, a massive defence of windmills and Henry Ergas on the indigenous voice.

Jo Nova replies to the latest effort to revive the “hockey stick”of recent warming.

For five or so years believers didn’t really mention the Medieval Warm Period. Too bruised by the embarrassment of Hockey Stick Zombie failures. But it’s an inconvenient era they have to rub out because none of the expert models can explain what caused it, and it’s hard to panic about same temperatures that Edward the Confessor survived with oxen and carts.

And it’s hard to call the modern warmth “man-made” if nature created something just like it 1,000 years ago.

The WUWT “Watts Up” skeptic site posted a very long and detailed defence of wind followed by a predictably long and equally detailed tail of criticisms and comments. The positive case depends on the favours provided to wind that disadvantage the reliable providers and so the argument is only good as long as the playing field is heavily slanted. A lot of interesting stuff including the British counterpart to our AEMO data base.

And this is the Henry Ergas column today, can people recall what he wrote last week for comparison? I thought he was leaning the other way.

This voice would have us shouting over the walls
Henry Ergas, Columnist, 12:00AM July 26, 2019

As the debate on the proposal to enshrine an indigenous voice in the Constitution gathers momentum, the proposal’s supporters have advanced four arguments in response to its critics.

The proposal, they say, simply addresses past injustices which, in the words of Murray Gleeson, a former chief justice of the High Court, create a “case for special treatment of indigenous people”. Moreover, the mere fact of such special treatment is unobjectionable, as there is nothing in the Constitution that commits us to a principle of political equality.

As for the claim that the proposed special treatment would entrench a further distinction based on race in the Constitution, it is incorrect because it is based not on race but on indigeneity. And the critics’ concerns are in any event overblown, since the voice would simply be one advisory body among the many that can be found in every area of ¬government.

That those arguments deserve to be taken seriously is obvious, but closer examination suggests they are unconvincing.

To say that is not to dispute the historical injustices Gleeson emphasises, but it hardly follows that the remedy lies in constitutional provisions that accord indigenous Australians rights that go above and beyond “the ordinary democratic process”, as he contends.

On the contrary, if the injustices occurred, it was precisely because indigenous Australians were not entitled to participate as political equals in Australian society and were excluded from the equal protection of the laws. As a result, far from taking “dispossession to its logical, and unattractive, conclusion”, ensuring that those rights are fully and equally available to all Australians strikes at the heart of the injustices we lament.

And far from ignoring what the nation owes its indigenous people, achieving a truly colour-blind constitution is an indispensable step in correcting the errors of the past.

It is scarcely sensible to respond to those points, as constitutional law professor Anne Twomey has, by noting that the Constitution does not guarantee political equality, as if that made it legitimate to establish a new form of unequal representation. Yes, “the Constitution has always provided for distinctions based upon race”, but that cannot justify perpetuating the distinctions, much less adding to them.

As for Twomey’s observation that “Tasmanians have, per head of population, far greater representation in the federal parliament than voters from NSW”, it misses the point.

With Australia being, as the Constitution specifies, a “Federal Commonwealth” that was constituted by the people of the several colonies, our system of government involves two bases of representation: equal representation of the people as citizens of the various states in the Senate; and equal representation of the people in the House of Representatives as citizens of the “indissoluble Federal Commonwealth”.

There are, in other words, two co-ordinated schemes of equal representation, not a single scheme of unequal representation. Indeed, in the classic texts on federalism, Australia and the US are invariably presented as among the purest instances of the dual principles of federal symmetry and representational equality.

It is therefore impossible to see how such a system, with two forms of equality at its core, could be used to justify introducing into the Constitution a representative institution that is unequal by design.

It in no way makes that inequality more acceptable to say, as supporters of the proposal have, that it is based on indigeneity rather than on race.

The fact of the matter is that the provision would entrench in the Constitution rights of representation that were made available to some Australians but not others solely on the basis of biological identity. That is, and has always been, the hallmark of racial classification; changing the label does nothing to alter the substance.

After all, were the provision denying representation on the basis of indigeneity, instead of granting it, it would undoubtedly be condemned as an appalling instance of racial discrimination, and rightly so. It may be that the proposed voice is a case of racial discrimination which its supporters find desirable; if so, they should state that plainly instead of pretending it is something else.

Finally, to claim that the proposed voice would be an advisory body like any other is disingenuous. The reality is that, almost uniquely, it would represent a particular group in the population and specifically exclude others; and with the exception of the Inter-State Commission (which the High Court decided improperly exercised judicial powers and hence is otiose), it would be the only such body provided for in the Constitution, with all that implies in stature, permanence and immutability.

Ultimately, it is hard to avoid the impression that rather than being swayed by arguments that are flawed and feeble, many of the proposal’s well-intentioned supporters view it as a largely symbolic gesture that might help and cannot hurt.

But there have been far too many policies in this area that set out to build bridges and ended up building walls. And it is not unreasonable to fear that this proposal, which is entirely untested, would set off a dynamic whose effects are starkly at odds with its supporters’ objectives.

At least over the longer term, participating in the periodic selection of the representative body and in its operation would deepen the sense of indigenous separateness, both in its electorate and even more so in the indigenous elite. When its recommendations were rejected by parliament, as might well happen with some regularity, separateness would become resentment; and were parliament to seek to reform or abolish that body, as it had to do with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the resentment would become fury, unleashing a row made especially complex and damaging by the body’s constitutional status.

Nor would the consequences be felt only in the indigenous community. As relations soured, the goodwill that has underpinned the enormous investment that is being made in reconciliation would weaken and eventually evaporate. Trapped by a constitutional provision it was impossible to repeal, we would, in the end, be a country united only in its disappointment.

These are difficult issues, and to raise them is neither pleasant nor comfortable. But if the errors of the past and our collective responsibility for the future mean anything, it is that in the common search for solutions we must talk to each other unhindered by illusions and free of soothing deceptions.

That is why the concerns need to be addressed squarely and honestly. The alternative is once again to rush off, enveloped in a steam bath of emotions, toward likely failure, with the certainty of a great deal of heartache along the way.

This entry was posted in Australian Story, Cultural Issues, Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Denying warm periods again, a massive defence of windmills and Henry Ergas on the indigenous voice.

  1. egg_

    For five or so years believers didn’t really mention the Medieval Warm Period. Too bruised by the embarrassment of Hockey Stick Zombie failures.

    What about the 1930s US dust bowl – doctored data too, IIRC?

  2. a happy little debunker

    We now live in a constant state of culture war – where identity is linked to adopted culture and the self stated ‘rights’ of the few outweigh the general rights of the many.

    They inadequately disguise such self stated ‘rights’ under all sorts of banners like racism, sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia (to name just a few).

    Their goal is to achieve better outcomes for themselves at the expense of everyone else – through no better mechanism than their self declared & oft repeated victimhood.

    No inch, no foot, no mile will ever be enough to sate their appetite for a privilege they think they are owed.

    We are replete with examples of how compromise leads to ever greater claims.

    There is a line in the sand – we must commit to ‘here and no further’ else Australia will no longer have ‘wealth for toil’.

  3. cohenite

    Man made climate change is the biggest scientific scam ever perpetrated on humanity by a bunch of 3rd rate academics, spivs, UN commies and a useful lot of loons and fruitcakes running Gramsci like through the institutions, particularly the MSM.

    As for the 49th nations, simply put they deserve nothing; they have no moral ground on the basis of displacement because they displaced, and eat, the peoples who were here before them. By any reasonable standard, they owe Western culture an immense amount since they were a culture in decline when the English turned up. Any balance sheet and accounting of cultural exchange is vastly in favour of Western values.

  4. egg_

    were a culture in decline when the English turned up.

    They’d consumed all the megafauna and were down to eating lizards?

  5. Chris M

    We need to recognize Mungo Man and his genocide in the Constitution!

    Also Noah and his family for their work preserving the fauna.

  6. NuThink

    In many reports the current high temperatures in Europe were blamed on Climate Change and what we can do about it.
    Also mentioned was that these temperature broke a record that stood for 70 years.
    Logic dictates then that the record of 70 years ago was cooler than the current temperatures – but what was not mentioned was how much. They did not state how hot is was then – which would be the scientific way – rather than the pseudo scientific way of just saying the record stood for 70 years, and not stating what the temperatures were 70 years ago.
    Was it 10 degrees or 1 deg or 0.1 degrees or 0.01 degrees. Figures do matter in science and engineering, but not to reporters or journalists. Its the vibe.

  7. Trax

    Does that mean it is okay to discriminate based on “indigeneity”, don’t recall s18c mentioning that particular catagory.

  8. Major Elvis Newton

    “far from ignoring what the nation owes its indigenous people, achieving a truly colour-blind constitution is an indispensable step in correcting the errors of the past…”

    I owe them nothing. If that is the premise of your argument for a “voice” in the constitution then you have failed.

  9. John Constantine

    The koalas did a good job, making it all the way from the Mount Ararat ark landing zone to Tasmania, scurrying on their little stumpy paws. No wonder they are all so grumpy.

  10. egg_

    The koalas did a good job, making it all the way from the Mount Ararat ark landing zone to Tasmania, scurrying on their little stumpy paws. No wonder they are all so grumpy.

    Did they devolve from Ewoks?

    Seems to have been a continent of devolution, sans competition?

  11. tombell

    has Alan Joyce hopped on board “The Voice” express yet?

  12. They are relentless and they will never ever stop.
    The correct response to carpetbaggers who want to separate us based on race is “Fuck Off” and then to disengage.
    But no, we have to be polite and have a discussion about segregation, not realising it is not polite to discuss segregation, it is evil.
    I vote Fuck Off you greedy envious lazy regressive pricks.

  13. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    An animal that only eats one food source may be dying off.

    Welp, that’s perhaps not a tragedy but witnessing evolution as it happens – an evolutionary strategy failing as biodiversity otherwise flourishes.

    Let’s remind the Greens of their own ridiculous precautionary principle right now…

  14. Mother Lode

    One of the most profound problems with this ‘Voice’ is that it would, like countless other indigenous panels and agencies that have been set up before where outsider influence is forbidden, it will be taken over by people with their own agenda. Any interference, any demand that they do their job representing their people properly will be met with cries of ‘racism’.

    Think ATSIC.

  15. Deplorable

    were a culture in decline when the English turned up.

    They’d consumed all the megafauna and were down to eating lizards?
    Not just lizards they were in fact eating their neighbours which added to the decline. Reports of eating of human flesh are reported by the Protector of Aborigines at the time. Infanticide was practised also. The British improved their lives and outlook once the war was lost .

  16. Lee

    For five or so years believers didn’t really mention the Medieval Warm Period.

    Surely a lefty or warmist/alarmist would never omit or downplay a fact like that?
    Only yesterday, I was reading a post by one of the many trolls cum-AGW proponents on Andrew Bolt’s blog who claimed it never happened!

  17. C. Paul Barreira

    “well-intentioned supporters”

    Meaning what? If they are over the age of 25 years then “well-intentioned” is no cover for laziness, ignorance and duplicity (including self-deception).

  18. Herodotus

    Likewise the Little Ice Age, another pre-industrial, well documented and very inconvenient happening for alarmists.

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