Leading article Australia


20 June 2020

9:00 AM

20 June 2020

9:00 AM

‘The number of climate deniers in Australia is more than double the global average, new survey finds,’ read the headline on the Renew Economy website. Well, thank goodness for that, you may have been tempted to retort, there’s hope for us yet! The headline was being re-tweeted by an excited Paul Barry, the man we taxpayers pay around a quarter of a million dollars a year to host a quarter of an hour’s television a week. Mr Barry, whose tiresome Media Watch program relies, it would appear, on replaying large chunks of Sky News commentary for its content, was particularly agitated by the claim that ‘More than one-third (35 per cent) of people who listen to commercial AM radio or watch Sky News consider climate change to be “not at all” or “not very” serious.’ Again, thank heavens for that! But why so few? Given that even the IPCC admits that the doomsday/end-of-the-world-in-12-years-time scenarios consistently peddled by climate alarmists and ‘extinction’ extremists are without basis, it would be disturbing if the numbers were any less. Indeed, the fact that 65 per cent of Australians presumably think the opposite, that climate change is serious or very serious, is of itself depressing and concerning. But it does explain why there has been so little outcry as our household electricity prices have galloped from the cheapest in the world to the most expensive and why we have had to endure such passive acquiescence to the vast sums of public money wasted on futile (to paraphrase our Chief Scientist) renewables.

As the premier journal in Australia that remains sceptical about climate change we were, obviously, disappointed not to be cited in the study. Perhaps next time we’ll have more luck. Meanwhile, we will continue to challenge unproven climate claims and we will continue to doubt any and all hypotheses that rely solely on frequently flawed modelling,

But the report, and Mr Barry’s juvenile Twitter response to it (‘Yay!’) does make for interesting reading, even though the sample in the survey was only 2,131 Australians. What becomes quickly clear is that people’s ‘belief’ in climate change is largely a function of what media they consume, their political leanings and how recently they passed through our academic institutions. In other words, they hold their belief in climate change not because of the ‘science’ itself, but thanks to propaganda and persuasion. The argument that Mr Barry and Renew Economy are pushing must, by definition, work in reverse. If a third of the population are to varying degrees sceptical about climate change because of the newspapers they choose to read, the radio they listen to and the TV they watch, then it follows that those who do take climate seriously also do so because of the TV, radio and news print that they consume. The ABC with its billion-dollar-plus a year budget and national reach across TV, radio and digital landscapes combined with the left-leaning mainstream TV channels together dwarf the much smaller forces of Sky and commercial AM talkback, so the conclusion must also be drawn from the report that most people who take climate change seriously also do so only because of the propaganda spouted by the left-leaning media.

Or to put it another way, the authors of the report (and Barry himself) are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Given that the ABC and the mainstream TV media are free, but Sky is subscription-based, that radio is free but increasingly digital platforms and newspapers are not, it’s not so much that Sky and talkback radio’s ‘evil deniers’ are converting people to their sinister cause, but far more likely that healthily sceptical and questioning people are turning to these media outlets out of frustration with the propagandising and preaching of Mr Barry’s beloved ABC and fellow-travellers. In other words, those Australians with more inquiring and sceptical minds are likely to take climate change ‘not all that seriously’. Yay!

Speccie’s Anglo-Australia forum bears fruit

On a gorgeous Sydney day in September, 2018 we were delighted to host the Spectator Australia Anglo-Australia Forum at the beautiful harbourside Pier One hotel. Speakers included John Howard, Tony Abbott, Nigel Farage, ministers Matt Canavan and Steve Ciobo, David Flint, Michael Baume, Janet Albrechtsen and of course Andrew Neil.

The theme of the day was bringing Australia and Britain closer together both culturally and economically through a trade deal post-Brexit. This week, Australia and the UK officially launched formal talks for a free-trade agreement worth hundreds of millions of dollars which may be completed this year.

We’ll take that as a win, thanks Scott and Boris.

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