The footage shown does not reflect the person I am: Yes it does Steve Dickson, exactly who you are.

One Nation’s Queensland leader Steve Dickson has resigned from the party after he was caught making derogatory comments and groping a woman in undercover footage filmed in a Washington DC strip club.

Who is the real Steve Dickson?

Mr Dickson, who is second on the party’s Senate ticket for the May 18 election, was filmed groping a dancer and saying “white women f— a whole lot better, they know what they are doing” while Asian women don’t.

He calls one dancer a “bitch” and urges another to “slide your hand on my d—“.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mr Dickson said he was drunk that night and “deeply remorseful” for his actions.

“The footage shown does not reflect the person I am. It shows a person who was drunk and not in control of his actions and I take full responsibility for allowing that to happen.

Senator Hanson had previously stood by Mr Dickson and called him a “good man” and a “family man” after he was filmed meeting with US gun lobbyists.

In tonight’s exclusive, Senator Hanson sits down with A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw, and doesn’t hold back, at times growing visibly distraught and upset.

“I cop all this s—, all the time, and I’m sick of it. Absolutely sick of it,” she says.

“I’ve had Fraser Anning, I’ve had Brian Burston. I’ve had a whole list of them, David Oldfield, you name them. Where are they now?

Poor darling.

Trouble is, this is someone who exerts considerable political influence in the Australian Parliament and the people she selects to support her in that process have become an ongoing political liability.

Smoke, mirrors, fantasies: the 2019 federal budget

Grattan Institute’s Danielle Wood and her team did an analysis of 2019 federal budget provided the basis for an article by Ross Gittens on what he describes as the budget fantasy forecasts (THE AGE)

Danielle Wood of the Grattan Institute has crunched the numbers on the budget.CREDIT:DOMINIC LORRIMER

This in turn is a summary of Gittens’ article

This is the most fiscally irresponsible budget since Whitlam. It’s a budget claiming to be able to cut income tax by $300 billion over 10 years and spend $100 billion on infrastructure over 10 years, while still returning to continuous surplus and eliminating the net debt over the same period.

The cost of the tax cuts leaps to a cost of about $35 billion a year, rising to about $45 billion a year in 2029-30. No one believes it could possibly happen. It’s a description of a future fantasyland.

Whatever transpires over the next decade, we can be pretty sure it won’t bear much resemblance to the scenario painted in the budget papers.

Assume (as you did in each of the seven previous budgets) that, within a year or two, the economy’s growth will have returned to the old normal, where it will stay forever.

Assume the government will be able to sustain for many years a degree of spending restraint never achieved in the past. 

Just as I argued, and my model showed, in my April 17 blog:

A dynamic model behind the smoke and mirrors of the income tax cuts and budget deficits

Shorten expresses outrage at the Coalition/Palmer preference deal. He probably shouldn’t be worried.

THE AGE: Labor has launched a full-frontal attack on Prime Minister Scott Morrison, claiming a preference deal between the Coalition and Clive Palmer would deliver the most “extreme right-wing” government in Australian history.

Now there’s very little chance that this preference deal is going to deliver any lower house seats to Palmer’s United Australia Party so Shorten’s claims that Palmer will somehow involved in some parliamentary arrangement with the Coalition are simply fatuous.

There has been discussion that support for United Australia Party may be running as high as 14% in some Queensland electorates. The right wing media is jumping on this as an indication that UAP preferences will somehow decide the seats.

It is probably not that simple.

Firstly, these polls are likely to be highly inaccurate. And secondly, it’s difficult to tell where the UAP support is coming from but is most likely coming from One Nation voters. This means that the flow of preferences that UAP will distribute may not be any different from what they were in the last election.

So the preference deal is probably not going to make all that much difference in the lower house in Queensland where, if the national polls are an indication, Labor will probably pick up seats.

What is more interesting is what happens in the Senate. Again, it’s possible that Palmer will be elected in Queensland and UAP may pick up another Senate seat (Burston), but it is likely to be at the expense of One Nation. If Clive Palmer has spent his reputed $50m well, he may pick up more.

So we could be in for a repeat of this rather disgraceful scene from the times when Palmer could actually be bothered turning up to Parliament.

When last in parliament, Palmer had by far the lowest attendance rate of all parliamentarians, having voted in only 15 out of a possible 196 votes, putting his attendance rate at 7.7%. The average attendance rate is 93%. (Source The Guardian)

A large number of Palmer’s candidates are ex-One Nation candidates including sitting member Brian Burston who joined the cross-bench bloc of Senators David Leyonhjelm, Cory Bernardi and Fraser Anning while in Parliament.

Brian BurstonIn happier times with Pauline Hanson

If UAP achieves any electoral success, is it likely to be any less of a debacle than PUP was the last time?

But the big picture is that Clive Palmer and UAP will be cannibalising the far-right minor party vote and while this may lead to different candidates being elected, it’s not likely to disturb the electoral equilibrium in any way.

“I try to stay away from the fact,” says the leader of pro-coal rally

THE AGE: This week, 250 pro-coal protesters gathered in Mackay’s central square with mining lobbyist Mick Crowe, director of the Resource Industry Network, an industry-funded lobby group, to “amplify a groundswell of support in favour of coal mining.”

It was his first rally, so he has little experience in what constitutes a successful rally, however those who do would tell him that getting 250 people is not a sign of great success or support.

Mick Crowe urges the crowd of pro-coal protesters to win over opponents using logic rather than facts. CREDIT:DOMINIC LORRIMER

Particularly, in a town where you would expect support for the Adani:

A comment from “Alan ” printed in THE AGE – Lived in Mackay for a while More than 250 would turn up to watch burnouts, or a crab race at the Eimeo Tavern.”

But of course, he got support from the national press, because it’s topical, because it an issue that appears to be important in determining the outcome in a number of electorates in northern Queensland.

Clive Palmer is also in the area, touring with Pauline Hanson supporting over the issue of the Adani mine. Palmer looks like being influential in the distribution of preferences in the area with local polling showing his support running at an unbelievable 14% in electorates affected by his refusal to pay his workers their proper entitlements.

The rally attracted at least one high profile attendee, local Liberal National Party MP George Christensen who took time out from his travels to the Philippines to spend some time in his electorate.

Mr Crowe uses the normal distortions and confusions, in this case combining a (spurious) argument about trade ” the world wants and needs our coal, and if it doesn’t get it from us, it will get it from somewhere else.” with a misunderstanding of the nature of theory in relation to climate change “Are we worried about the planet warming? Sure. If it’s warming and we’re causing it, you’d have to be interested in [that]. But it’s a thought and a theory in relation to climate change”

He doesn’t understand what theory is to a scientist which is important when you’re talking about the science of climate change.

There are two meanings of theory. The first is the more general meaning of an opinion or explanation.

The second is a principle that has been formed to explain things that have already been substantiated by data.

All good science is based on theory, some of them are quite widely known and accepted, the Theory of Gravity, the Oxygen theory of combustion, the Theory of Relativity and the Theory of Evolution.

Then there’s that famous theory that the earth revolves around the sun

Climate theory is now accepted in the scientific community and increasingly in the wider community.

But this is an election and this is a democracy and in a preferential voting system for the Senate, we are likely to see this Malcolm Roberts re-elected for One Nation, adding yet another shrill voice to the uneducated and misguided babble about the role of coal and CO2 in climate change.

Liberal candidate for the seat of Macnamara, Kate Ashmor, keeps kicking own goals

THE AGE: She got into the news for describing the quality and teaching at private schools as “far superior” to public schools in a letter to a local newspaper in 2001.

Well, fair suck of the lollipop, it was 2001. But it goes to show you have to be careful about what you say because with modern technology it can be easily archived and accessed.

But Ms Ashmor is still attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. The old saying ” There is no such thing as bad press” often doesn’t apply in politics.

Ms Ashmor has apologised for referring to the wife of Labor leader Bill Shorten as a pig, but so far not about her comments criticising state schools nor about her opinion that childless leaders like Julia Gillard “lack empathy”.

Ms Ashmor has gone to ground so some voters took their concerns to the state MP, Liberal James Newbury, whose seat of Brighton overlaps Macnamara. Educated at a public high school, he handled the whole matter diplomatically.

But it goes to show the contagion effect of these kinds of comments.

Undeterred by bad publicity, Kate Ashmor has attacked Josh Burns, her Labor rival ( both Burns and Ashmor are Jewish) because he did not have a mezuzah, a traditional symbol of religious devotion, in his campaign office.

Local Orthodox Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann, who describes himself as a friend of both Ms Ashmor and Mr Burns said “The Torah has very strict laws against shaming someone publicly. As a community we should focus on respecting one another rather than policing our fellow Jew’s observance of particular laws.”

And of course the Labor Party will exploit this.

THE AGE: The confrontation also prompted one of Victoria’s highest-profile Jewish politicians, shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus to come to the defence of his Labor colleague.

“It is extremely disappointing to see the Liberal candidate for Macnamara resort to puerile personal attacks so early in the campaign,” Mr Dreyfus said.

Not that Ashmore is a real threat in Macnamara. The seat has been held by Michael Danby since the ark ran aground and the real threat to Labor will come from the Greens.

To suggest that surf lifesaver Tony Abbott would refuse to rescue someone, is disgraceful.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a great fan of Tony Abbott. But he’s a surf lifesaver and that counts for a lot with me.

Political lobby group GetUp has pulled a satirical campaign advertisement depicting Tony Abbott as a lifeguard ignoring pleas to help someone drowning after a barrage of criticism.

Okay, I still wear budgie smugglers in the local pool and if some guy’s is going to rescue you in the surf will you be worried about his cossie

I’m old-school, in my day we called them surf lifesavers.

Sometimes, they needed to risk their lives to save other people. Sometimes very stupid people. Even today, they are mostly volunteers guarding Australian swimmers out of a sense of duty.

To be a lifeguard, you have to be able to some 400m in eight minutes, not a great task if you’re a reasonable swimmer, but pretty good if you’re a 60-year-old politician.

Many of them stand on isolated and dangerous beaches prepared to rescue people in conditions that are often life-threatening.

Now I’m not saying that Tony Abbott does this, but he is a member of a fraternity and for that he deserves respect.

I have a friend, a giant of a man, who received an award in the Queen’s honours for 50 years continuous service as a surf lifesaver. That’s 50 years of being able to swim 400 m in eight minutes (OK when you’re 20 and can do it in four minutes 20, but it is a bit more difficult when you’re 60) and turning up in the cold, doing patrols on Muriwai Beach on New Zealand West Coast.

I have other friends, in Australia, who are still doing surf life-saving patrols well after they have retired. These are the people who were training the next generation of Australia surf lifesavers.

And these are the people who are so profoundly insulted by whoever thought up the GetUp video of Tony Abbott.

Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party begins badly

When you decide to start a political party two months out from the general election with the aim of having a candidate in every seat, you are inevitably going to make some very bad selection decisions. Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party was no exception, selecting one candidate with a criminal conviction and another declared bankrupt. In the normal course of events, this would make you ineligible to stand for Parliament.

THE AGE: Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party in the ACT is veteran Shane Van Duren who pleaded guilty in the ACT Supreme Court in May 2017 to assault and strangulation. He was given a suspended prison sentence of two years and six months as well as 200 hours of community service.

THE AGE: In another piece of evidence a very poor candidate selection:I Senator Fraser Anning’s anti-mosque candidate for the Victorian seat of Bendigo, Julie Hoskin, is an undischarged bankrupt, rendering her ineligible to serve in Parliament.

Ms Hoskin went bankrupt as a result of her efforts to oppose the building of a mosque in Bendigo

The rate of Climate Change is increasing faster

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its dire report with a new estimate about how much additional carbon dioxide was being added to the atmosphere as a result of the warming of Arctic permafrost, the thick subsurface layer of soil that usually remains below freezing point throughout the year,

This is a result, it is in addition to the man-made carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. This is unlikely to be a short-term effect, the Arctic landmass is warming up permanently. This speeds up the positive feedback of release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

These Causal Loop Diagrams are designed to explain the dynamics of the situation. To understand how CLDs work click this link.

There is an additional factor which is the release of methane which destroys the ozone layer faster than carbon dioxide.

The worrisome aspect of feedback loops is they accelerate the speed of change. In this case, doubly so because what is happening at the the Arctic Region affects the Antarctic. Here, the increased volume of warmer water from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans gets under the ice cap and melts it.

So what we have now is two systems, at opposite ends of the global ecosystem, reinforcing each other. The ongoing effects of climate change is melting the Arctic polar ice and releasing increased amounts of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The rising ocean levels bring warm water to the South Pole which melts the ice which in turn further increases the ocean levels rise.

This has an added complication. In addition to melting the permafrost, which is releasing ozone-destroying gases, the rising ocean levels have the same effect on the fiords of northern Europe as they do on the Antarctic, melting more ice and lifting the ocean levels.

There is something else in the report that is less widely discussed and perhaps less well-known. The Arctic landmass has a stabilising effect on the world’s climate, creating a temperature differential between the hot and cold climates. As the landmass warms this differential decreases, the jet stream weakens and the weather patterns, that keep the large weather systems on the planet moving, stagnate.

This means that large weather effects such as La Niña and El Niño last for longer meaning that long periods of drought, in places like Australia, last for longer.

This causal loop diagram is linked to the ones above by the left-hand variable, the release of greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide and methane. This reinforcing loop adds yet another reinforcing dynamic to the pace of climate change.

In a recent documentary produced by Sir David Attenborough, presents suggested that the planet would go beyond the 1.5°C increase, generally regarded as disastrous, between 2040 and 2050.

My two grandsons will be just 24, my granddaughter 22.

Scott Morrison invites the media into his church and then complains about the reaction

Scott Morrison is proud of his religious beliefs and goes to great lengths to stress his Christian beliefs and public. Even supporting Israel Folau in his right to express his religious views that homosexuals, fornicators, drunks and a range of other sinners will be sent straight to hell.

Many people believe that he does not live up to many of his Christian beliefs in his public life. So when he invites the media into his Pentecostal Horizon Church in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire to witness his worship he is taking the fight right up to them.

This is the picture of Mr Morrison in his church that was posted in THE AGE

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Horizon Church on Easter Sunday.CREDIT:AAP

THE AGE reported that “Images of the Prime Minister clapping, singing and raising his hands in the air were roundly mocked on social media.”

“There was another one, another group, who was likening my praise in my own church on the weekend to some sort of Hitler salute,” Mr Morrison said outside a Buddhist temple in Victoria on Monday.

Now it would be supremely unfair to suggest that there is any ideological or theological connection between the Nazi values and what goes on in Mr Morrison’s church (if this is what the group actually did).

But would it be unfair to suggest a visual parallel?

Or perhaps to have suggested that if you are going to be making those kinds of gestures in church, it might not have been a good idea not to invite the media in?

I leave my readers to make up your own minds.

Choked on my cornflakes: Palace ‘considered making Prince Harry Australia’s Governor General’

There are barbecue stoppers and cornflake chokers. This one is a cornflake choker, as it was a headline in the morning papers.

The reason for this harebrained idea: because Prince Harry and Prince William aren’t giving along and their wives are squabbling. So pack them off to the colonies. What will they do while they are here?

Make Harry Governor General!

The palace full the might be the new de facto King and Queen of Australia

What Plonker thought up that idea? Obviously someone with no idea about how the idea would go down in Australia. Let alone how Governors General are appointed.

“Making Harry governor-general of Australia was discussed and dismissed,” it reported. “The problems were obvious… you effectively set them up as king and queen of a whole separate country.”

Interesting! The reason wasn’t that the Australian Government might not accept the idea but that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would effectively be the King and Queen of Australia. Holy shit.

That would mean that the newborn baby would be the Prince or Princess of Canberra.

Royal honours would be reinstated.

Tony Abbott (if re-elected) would be, at least, the Earl of Warringah. Heaven knows where it would have stopped.

You can see how ideas like this can gain momentum.

Harry seems to be a nice enough bloke. Not too bright, a bit of a tear-away when he was younger. Someone seem to have given them a bit of a whack around the ears and sorted him out.

Australia is no longer a dumping ground for untalented and unemployable English aristocracy. They are now thinking of shipping the couple of to Africa to do charity work on behalf of the Commonwealth.

Poor buggers. Why doesn’t everyone just leave them alone and let them make up their own minds