Fake news and conspiracy theories part 1: understanding the problem

As the Macquarie Dictionary declares fake news the word of the decade the epidemic of fake news and conspiracy theories is not showing signs of abating.

However, the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications (4C) has made three significant contributions to combating the epidemic – a handbook addressing conspiracy theories; a project to combat misinformation; and, another handbook on debunking fake news. read more

Scott Morrison: I know nothing

Scott Morrison’s Prime Ministerial image is relentlessly upfront – making decisions, announcing things and re-assuring Australians that he has it all under control – even if he can’t hold a hose.

Yet that raises a perplexing question – how come he never knows what’s going on, or has gone on, in his government? read more

What Morrison’s climate policy will cost

Scott Morrison loves saying he won’t take action on climate change without knowing what it will cost. Joel Fitzgibbon takes the same tack when defending his coal mining constituents.

Well thanks to a review commissioned by that notorious left-winger, Boris Johnson, we now have an accurate and frightening assessment of just how big the cost of not taking action is. read more

What’s the point of Labor? A possible answer

As the Labor Opposition jettisons policies on negative gearing, capital gains taxes, franking credits and climate change policies which don’t embrace coal you have to ask – what’s the point of Labor?

A simple answer could be that at least it’s not the Morrison Government. Given the Morrison track record it’s a compelling positioning which may appeal to many but probably not quite compelling enough to get over the line in an election. read more

How good is Morrison’s Australia? Not too flash

Among the myths that seemingly never die is the belief – parroted by a supine media – that Liberal Governments are competent economic managers.

This is despite overwhelming evidence that Australia’s performance across a range of areas is in decline compared with other comparable countries.

Now Labor MHR for Bruce, Julian Hill, has belled the cat with a comprehensive report (and a social media campaign) which demonstrates that “Australia is going backwards under the Liberals, and falling behind much of the rest of the world.” read more

Morrison’s luck part 2: shifting baseline syndrome

For those puzzled by Morrison’s good luck, and the apparent lack of widespread outrage about incompetence and corruption and lies and contempt for once-accepted standards, a concept derived from fishing research provides a useful framework for understanding how it happens.

Shifting baseline syndrome was a term coined in 1995 by a French-born marine biologist Daniel Pauly. He studies human impacts on global fisheries and is a professor and the project leader of the Sea Around Us Project at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia. read more

More Morrison corporate welfare

Where do we start when considering the $100 billion JobKeeper scheme?

Should we focus on the opaque nature of the scheme in which less than 3% – $3 billion of JobKeeper payments have been disclosed in public company accounts and there is no way of finding out who got what and how much?

Is it the fact that JobKeeper has enabled Solly Lew and others to boost profits and pay massive bonuses to senior staff? As Solly also stiffed his landlords should we be surprised? read more

An insider’s view of how public relations really works