Asking the peak oil and gas industry body to prepare a report on Australia's future energy needs for federal and state energy ministers was always going to have a predictable outcome. The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) was tasked to report to the Council of Australian Government (COAG) energy ministers meeting on August 18 and 19. Unsurprisingly, it recommended urgently producing and supplying more gas — and fast — before Australia runs out.
If we needed any more proof that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plebiscite on equal marriage is a spurious delaying tactic we got it on August 21 when the media reported that the vote will now be pushed back to February 2017, some 18 months after it was first proposed.
Some would have seen One Nation Senator-elect Malcolm Roberts' performance on ABC's Q&A on August 15. He went hammer and tong repeating ad nauseum that academics are doctoring the science, that the major science bodies are corrupt and that the science on climate change is anything but settled. Here is one small excerpt from his exchange with British physicist Brian Cox: Roberts: “I'm saying ... two things. First of all, that the [climate] data has been corrupted and we know that the 1930s were warmer than today.”
A new climate report released on August 3 by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirms the world is hot and getting hotter. The State of the Climate report said that last year was the second consecutive hottest year on record, surpassing 2014 as the previous warmest year.
As AGL announced a $400 million loss on August 10, anti-gas protesters assembled outside its headquarters to demand it close its Camden coal seam gas (CSG) project in south-west Sydney. AGL, which largely invests in coal, has been producing gas in the Macarthur region since 2009, taking over from Sydney Gas Limited, which started in Camden in 2001 and expanded south east in 2004.
Liverpool Plains' farmers are celebrating the New South Wales state government's decision, on August 11, to buy back BHP Billiton's Caroona coalmine licence for $220 million. This comes after a struggle that began in 2008, when farmer Tim Duddy and the local community began a blockade that put a spanner in BHP Billiton's efforts to start drilling operations on his family's Rossmar Park property.
To the surprise of many, former Greens leader Bob Brown used the ABC's 7.30 on July 29 to launch a blistering attack on recently re-elected NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon. Brown told the ABC that Rhiannon had given “great service” but that “the old guard that runs the office in New South Wales” needs changing.
Human rights lawyers are opposed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plan to introduce laws that would allow people who have been convicted on terrorism charges to be held in prison indefinitely.
The Chilcot Inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq War has prompted calls for a similar inquiry into the Coalition government, then led by John Howard, taking Australia into war in 2003. Andrew Wilkie, the only intelligence official from the US, Britain or Australia to dispute the official explanation for the Iraq War, said on July 7 there should be an investigation into the Howard government's decision to go to war.
Anger with the two major parties was the clear winner this federal election as a quarter of the electorate gave their first preference to independents, Greens or minor parties. The Socialist Alliance (SA) ran in the Senate in three states, and in four lower house seats. Despite its blanket exclusion from the corporate media, its reliance on small donations and its radical message, its votes increased in two lower house seats, dipped in two others and increased our Senate vote in NSW and WA compared to the previous election.