Hung Parliament: chaos vs independent thinking

Politicians threatened by community-based independents warn of CHAOS, but these thinking independents have ideals rather than ideologies.

Depending on how people vote, we may be headed towards a major revolution in the structure and functioning of our form of Parliamentary government.

Under 9+ years of LNP COALition government, major policies have been heavily influenced by special interest patrons and puppet masters in the fossil fuel and and development industries. As the climate emergency grows ever more stark, and the COALition offers little besides humbug, misrepresentation and blarny together with blatant lack of ethics towards solving the crisis an unprecedented number of well-established professionals and business owners/managers in local communities decided they could do better jobs as independents representing their communities than any of the political incumbents or nominees. A few of these independents are men, but most are emotionally mature and thoughtful women and mothers with practice juggling the responsibilities of managing important jobs together with preparing their children to face a seemingly dismal future.

Because many of these independents are progressive moderates, politically falling between Greens (adopting the color green) and small ‘l’ Liberals (normally adopting blue), they soon became characterized by the intermediate blue-green color ‘teal’ – henceforth termed ‘teal’ independents. According to many news reports and even incumbents, more than enough teals are running that even if only a few of them are elected in place of major party candidates, no party or currently existing COALition would be able to form government in its own right.

Today’s featured article looks at the teal phenomenon in depth, and explores just what kind of people have become teals and what has motivated them to put aside their comfortable and rewarding jobs in the community or business to run for a place in the cesspit of our current government.

As I write this and somewhat facetiously, the fact that on top of other qualifications I’ll discuss, many of the women have successfully raised (or nearly raised) families suggests they are not fazed by dealing with childishly irrational tantrums and cleaning out dirty dirty bathrooms.

In any event, if you still haven’t totally made up your mind how to vote next Saturday, read the featured article and what I write here, and think about what it might be like to have several of these capable people representing their communities in a Parliamentary balance of power. See also the caption of the Featured Image at the end of this post.

Zoe Daniel. Photograph by Mia Mala McDonald

by Margaret Simons, 04/2022 in The Monthly

Independents and the balance of power: The federal election may hinge on a new crossbench of professional women in wealthy inner-city seats and a rural revolt against the Nationals.

… [A] wave of credible local figures [are] running as independent candidates in the forthcoming federal election. Nearly all of them are taking on electorates normally regarded as safe for the government. Their cumulative impact, and the prospect that some of them might just win, is one of the things that will make the coming contest different. If neither the Coalition nor Labor win in their own right, newly elected independents and those of the existing crossbench who are re-elected will decide who forms government. “Foment” might be a better word for the phenomenon than “wave”, since it is a multiple bobbing up rather than a single, connected thing. There are different issues in each electorate, and a different ecosystem surrounding each candidate.

There is a new ecology surrounding this phenomenon. It includes grassroots community groups promoting political discussions in electorates. In some cases, that is all they do, but other groups actively seek out and endorse independent candidates. Hybrid political organisations are springing up as part of this ecology. There are groups such as Climate 200, founded and convened by entrepreneur and climate philanthropist Simon Holmes à Court, which is raising money and funding carefully picked “values aligned” candidates. Climate 200 has what might be described as nascent policies – on climate change, government integrity and women’s rights – but insists it is not, and will not become, a political party. Meanwhile, candidates in Tasmania have founded the Local Party, which is running candidates but has no policies, instead existing to promote participatory democracy.

So what’s going on? Is this a transitory thing born of particular circumstances, or is it a permanent change to Australian politics? And if the latter, what does it mean for the way we are governed? Is it a good thing, or a harbinger of instability?

Read the complete article – long but very thoughtful….

The ‘teal’ phenomenon

In this article I want to share some thoughts about this quandary from my studies of the electoral landscape as Editor of Climate Sentinel News. I am not a political scientist. My bias here comes from a lifetime study of evolution and change: of life as a whole, of human culture from our primate ancestry, and of the growth and evolution of knowledge and wisdom in human organizations. If you are an ‘undecided’ voter, how I answer the ‘how to vote’ quandary can be expressed in one short paragraph:

Where you have a choice between an established and known political devil versus a politically untested but demonstrably rational thinker and doer from your own community, which candidate will create the most chaos when faced with a growing emergency?

  • An established politician who you know will reliably try to enforce their party policy/dogma/beliefs and the desires of their largely unknown financial patrons on citizens, no matter what.
  • A rational thinker and doer who has demonstrated their capabilities for successful decision and action while working together with others in the existing chaos of their communities and families to successfully solve whatever problems that face them.

Which candidate will be more likely to help solve problems not precisely covered in party dogma?

However, before I begin my spiel, for an ‘op ed’ report on what I will have to say about the teals, I suggest you see consider how Sky News reports on a threatened Liberal candidate supported by the ‘special interests’ including Sky News’s own parent organization Murdoch Press. This “news” report clearly demonstrates how the COALition and their supporters are responding to the threats.

● Tyrone Clarke, 09/05/2022 in Sky News: Liberal MP Tim Wilson says Climate 200-backed independents are trying to ‘sneak Labor into government’ [also watch the embedded videos].

Contrast this with a more pro-teal article

● Amy Nethery, 03/05/2022, in The Conversation – Why teal independents are seeking Liberal voters and spooking Liberal MPs

Some history

Successful progressive independents are not unknown in recent Australian Parliaments, and have even played important roles in minority governments:

Frank Bongiorno & David Lee, 22/04/2022 in the Conversation: Could the 2022 election result in a hung parliament? History shows Australians have nothing to fear from it.

Whatever the case, it is entirely possible a hung parliament might provide the circuit-breaker for a parliament that needs to grapple with much needed national reforms.

Nick Evershed, 05/05/2022 in The Guardian: Will a hung parliament lead to ‘chaos’? What a Gillard v Morrison comparison reveals

Using records published by the parliament of Australia, it’s possible to see a summary of the number of bills introduced by the government and how many were passed by both houses. This excludes private member’s and senator’s bills. You can read more details about the methods below.

The data shows that despite having to negotiate with independents to pass legislation through the House of Representatives, Julia Gillard’s government has the second-highest percentage of passed legislation.

Lowest on the list are the Abbott, Turnbull-Morrison and Rudd governments – all of which involved governments having to make deals with Senates described as “hostile“ and “feral”.

The 2019 Morrison government has had notable struggles passing its own legislation, with the voter identification legislation lacking support, and its religious discrimination bill failing to move through the Senate. Another key policy, legislation to establish a federal anti-corruption body, was not introduced at all, with Morrison blaming a lack of support for the government’s preferred approach.

Gillard’s government also scores higher than Morrison’s when looking at the overall rate of legislation passed a day, an index I’ve previously described as “productivity in parliament”.

Last month Frydenberg warned in a media conference this was not the time to take a chance on “the chaos of a hung parliament”.

Similarly, when asked during an interview on Tuesday whether he would negotiate with independents, Morrison said he would not.

“This is a real question for the people who are voting at this election,” he told 3AW. “Voting for the independents is a vote for chaos.”

It should be noted that both of the above analyses do not count the number of bills lost to failed negotiations prior to the introduction of legislation.

However, in the context of minority governments, or governments that have a minority in the upper house, these indexes may give us an indication of which governments were better and worse in their negotiations with crossbenchers or the opposition.

Read the complete article….

See also ● Matthew Liddy, 08/09/2010 in ABC News: Labor’s minority government explained.

Julia Gillard’s government never had a majority in either the house or senate during its life time, but in terms of legislation passed during its lifetime it was the second most successful government in Australian history! It depended on all Labor members present and agreeing, plus ‘alliance’ agreements with the Green’s Adam Bandt, and three greenish independents: Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, and Andrew Wilkie. Wilkie was an intelligence officer in the Office of National Assessments who resigned because of his disagreement with the Government of the day’s joining the Iraq invasion. He is still in office as an independent today! Oakeshott and Windsor both represented rural NSW. Oakeshott was a National Party representative until he resigned to become an independent, and Windsor and a long-time independent for his areas in both NSW and Federal Parliaments. (see ● Sally Warhaft, Tony Windsor & Rob Oakeshott, 14/04/2015 in The Wheeler Centre – Fifth Estate: Independents Day: Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott). This year both Windsor and Oakeshott are key advisors to ‘Voices’ groups.

Some numbers

According to Vote Climate One’s Voting Guide approximately 100 of the than 1203 registered candidates for the lower house are ‘independents’ (i.e., don’t belong to any specified group or party), and of these approximately 30 by my count have been ranked as green-light for first preferences.

The numbers are a bit fuzzy, but most of these have been promoted by various electorate-based voices groups and/or part funded by Climate 200 as ‘teals’. None of us agree wholly agree on our first-preferences lists. Also, even within Vote Climate One there a few candidates we haven’t given the green light to, but that one of the other organizations would support for a first preference. In any event, the fact that there are 20-30 independents (+ more Greens, + a few other green minor parties running that may also be electable) is suggests we may see a totally new kind of government in less than a week!

As noted previously, around 90% of these green light independents are women, the majority of whom are also mothers of growing families with teenage children.

The general processional competence of these independents is also quite remarkable: 6 have medical or other doctoral qualifications and practical experience.

  • Sophie Scamps (Mackellar) Australian Athletics record holder and Gold Medalist World Junior Championships; GP Medicine, Sydney Uni; Masters with Hons from College of Surgeons – Dublin; Masters of Science – Oxford; Masters of Public Health, Uni NSW; mother of three teens.
  • Monique Ryan (Kooyong) Medical degree Uni Melb; pediatric training at Melbourne & Sydney; Director of Neurology, Royal Childrens Hospital, Melbourne); pediatric neurology at Boston Chldrens; Director of Neurology Royal Childrens, Melb – specialist in nerve and muscle disorders of childhood, and pioneering genetic therapies for these ailments; mother of three teen and young adult children
  • Caroline/Kaz Heise (Cowper) Registered Nurse; Director Nursing/Midwifery; Director Cancer Institute, Manager Mission Australia / cancer survivor / 2 adult children
  • Helen Haines (Incumbent, Indi) Nurse/Midwife, PhD Medical Science Uppsala Uni Sweden, Postdoctoral Fellow Karolinska Institute, Stockholm / other exec. positions; farmer, with 3 children
  • Sarah Russell (Flinders) Critical care nurse; BA, PhD University of Melbourne; Principal Researcher at Research Matters focused on public health, mental health, ethics and aged care. See also My successful advocacy.
  • Hanabeth Luke (Page) PhD in Environmental Science, Southern Cross Uni; main specializations – surfer, regenerative agriculture, impacts of fracking, coastal environment; two school children

All these women are products of and still are (or are again – after international experiences or training) associated with their local communities. All are clearly self-motivated thinkers and doers with years of experience working in the community to make life better for their communities. All have considered what the climate crisis means for their families and what the existing politicians are (not) doing to solve the crisis. Accepting that this is the only thing that really matters of their families are to have future – they have put their successful careers aside to run for Parliament, where they may actually be able to apply their skills to making government work to solve problems.

If you are still undecided who to vote for between teals, Greens, Greenish parties, and spin merchants of the fossil fuel industry trying to convince you that these ladies and their teal friends are evil lefty conspirators belonging to a secret political party funded by a hidden patron, a lot of their humbug and bull dust is built around two names: “Voices” and “Climate200”.

Voices

Basically, “Voices of …” are emergent and politically unaffiliated groups of people in local communities gathering around kitchen tables to discuss their concerns about the future and what our politicians are not doing about it – especially in terms of the climate emergency, sexism and sexual harassment, and the growing lack of ethics in government. Thanks to the model provided by the independent Kathy McGowan in Indi (Victoria) and perfected by her successor in Indi, Helen Haines and Kerryn Phelps (Wentworth – by election following Turnbull resignation) and Zali Steggall (Warringah – defeating ex PM Tony Abbott), many of the new flock of teals emerged from voices groups in several more ‘safe’ electorates held by the COALition.

Incidentally my colleagues and I published several academic papers on how such community organizations emerge and manage their growth and community actions:

The emergence of Voices groups would seem to fit this model very well – especially where the use of social networking technology is concerned.

Teal” independents Allegra Spender, Zoe Daniel, Kylea Tink, Sophie Scamps and Kate Chaney.Credit:Jessica Hromas, Elke Meitzel, Wolter Peeters, Nick Moir, Tony McDonough (from the article)

Royce Millar, 06/05/2022 in the Age

A secret party? Immoral? Explaining who the ‘teal’ independents really are

The independents, their backers and local supporters do, however, share resources and strategies across seats, not unlike an embryonic party – co-operation that has been encouraged by trailblazing former independent MP turned teal mentor, Cathy McGowan.

The teal movement started more than a decade ago with the founding of the Voices of Indi, a community organisation that helped McGowan take the Liberal-held Victorian seat of Indi in 2013 from its incumbent, Sophie Mirabella. This inspired others such as Zali Steggall, who successfully challenged former prime minister Tony Abbott for the Sydney seat of Warringah in 2019.

McGowan describes the current independent phenomenon as a movement. “There is definitely a thread there,” she says. “Community engagement, quality candidates and effective campaigns.”

As they argue that the teal movement is an undeclared party, their Liberal detractors point out that they also share policy priorities of climate, government integrity and gender equality – especially in wealthier urban electorates.

The urban independents insist this is simply because such issues are the high-order concerns in their communities, and one which the sitting conservative MPs are not adequately addressing. McGowan notes that in rural seats such as Indi, water, infrastructure, health and social services are more important.

In keeping with the Indi model, Voices groups have emerged wherever communities are frustrated enough to organise. Typically, Voices groups withdraw after choosing a candidate and a separate campaign group is formed. In reality, the two often overlap.

University of Sydney political scientist Anika Gauja says the allegation that the independents are a party makes no sense because their very point is that they are the antithesis of the major parties – top-down organisations in which members have to toe the line.

“The teal independents”, on the other hand, “have been backed by grassroots organisations that have chosen them”.

Read the complete article….

Climate 200

The second thing threatened COALition members are terrified by is that some of the teals are outspending them on campaign advertising. As noted in the article below, Jason Falinski claims that there is something “immoral” about the amount of money available to teals – completely ignoring the fact that huge amounts of untraceable funds flow into the COALitions coffers for every election.

Actually it is well publicized that the very wealthy Simon Holmes a’Court has put millions of dollars of his own money in play to draw matching funds from community sources. How and why he has done this publicized on the Climate200 web site as well as who the large donors are and the amounts donated – totaling around 1,400,000 plus a similar amount from Holmes a’Court himself. See also a summary of Holmes a’Court’s National Press Club talk on 16/02/2022 in F&P (Fundraising & Philanthropy), published 01/03/2022: David and Goliath – the Realities of Political Fundraising, where he compares what he is doing and his reasons compared to what the established political parties are doing.

Catherine Murphy’s Guardian article here, gives her take on what the COALition is screaming about.

● Katherine Murphy, 23/04/2022 in the Guardian: Coalition scrimps on MPs as Climate 200-backed independents outspend them in key seats.

From the article

Katherine Murphy, 23/04/2022 in the Guardian

Coalition scrimps on MPs as Climate 200-backed independents outspend them in key seats

… The Liberal MP Jason Falinski, who is being challenged in his northern beaches seat of Mackellar by Climate 200-backed Sophie Scamps, said the amount being spent by independents was “immoral”.

It is expected that Scamps will spend more than $1m trying to win the seat, with a combination of traditional and digital advertising.

Falinski suggested that the independents could instead be directing their financial resources to charity, giving the example of much-needed emergency accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence as one worthy cause.

“I just think it is an immoral use of money; we have real problems in the world and for these guys to be spending $2m against members of parliament, when, according to them, they agree with their member profiles, is just immoral.

“They agree with us on climate, they agree with us on equity for women, and they agree with us on integrity, but instead of helping us they are trying to knock us off.”

Scamps suggested Falinski was “plucking figures from out of the sky or from the depths of social media rumour mills”.

“Our campaign began two years ago with conversations at kitchen tables across the electorate to listen to the concerns of people who had been taken for granted for too long,” she said.

“We are immensely proud and humbled by the way it has grown into a campaign supported by over 900 eager volunteers including some who have left their jobs to volunteer full-time on the campaign, as well as 640 donors who have collectively donated $565,644 to date.

“Additionally, Climate 200 is matching those community donations to help level the playing field against the resources and advantages held by the major parties.”

Read the complete article….

You may also be interested to read ● RMIT FactLab, 12/05/2022: Online misinformation wars: the Goldstein electorate, where copious examples are given of the political blather and humbug posted on social media re the contest between Tim Wilson and Zoe Daniel.

How would teals respond to a hung parliament

This is the last major component of the bull dust, blather, misinformation and overall humbugging spewed by COALition members in fear of losing their once ‘safe’ seats to the teal tsunami. The next three articles cover this issue off quite well:

● Michelle Grattan, 20/04/2022 in the Guardian: Politics with Michelle Grattan: Andrew Wilkie invites independent candidates to call him for a chat about approaching a hung parliament

Christopher Knaus, 12/05/2022 in The Guardian: What happens if there is a hung parliament: how would independents approach talks and what is non-negotiable?

● Michelle Grattan, 17/04/2013 in The Guardian’s View from the Hill: Looking Back on the Hung Parliament

Oakeshott says that the great lesson for him out of this parliament has been that “bipartisanship is the best and politically the only way to achieve long-standing reform”.

He admits that he’s had disproportionate power. “Because others stayed true to their party first, they’ve handed me more influence than any one MP should have”, he says, adding, “If they are going to hand it to me, I’ll take it and use it – and I have”.

From the article….

If you are still undecided how to vote in your electorate, but are concerned about action on climate change – you have nothing to fear from giving your first preferences to green light candidates

Think about this: Teals are practiced rational thinkers and doers. They understand science and are concerned enough about the futures of their families in a world being progressively heated by the continuing profligate burning of fossil fuels, and the integrity and ethics of a government continuing to promote the fossil fuel industry. Their ideas and ideals have driven them to set aside highly rewarding careers to run for Parliament where they might be able to actually fix things. Then there are the Greens Party nominees who are wedded to these ideal as a matter of party policy as well as (normally) by personal belief. And finally there are nominees of a few other minor parties also claiming to support climate action as a matter of policy.

Vote Climate One ranks all of the people fitting these categories as green light candidates that should be given your top preferences. We do not tell you how to rank such candidates in your electorate, but only that all green-light candidates should be numbered before numbering any of the red or orange light candidates.

Parties supporting the fossil fuel industries or other carbon emitting activities and/or lacking evidence of major activities to work towards zero emissions are marked with red lights. These should be numbered last.

Orange light candidates are those that have weak climate credentials theemselves or else are nominees of parties such as the Labor Party that are both relatively weak on climate and still beholden to support fossil fuel interests, but are potentially willing to support more effective actions in a green colored alliance.

A final thought: Teal independents are driven by ideals, thoughts and ethics; party members are driven by ideologies, beliefs and historical decisions;) populists and their believer followers are driving by narcissism, greed and hate (e.g., Clive Palmers United Australia Party, Pauleen Hanson’s One Nation Party and or other faith & humbug micro parties).

Who is most likely to solve the climate crisis to avoid the existential risk of runaway global warming?

Featured Image: Hung parliaments can provide very effective government. Julia Gillard’s ‘hung’ government was the second most successful government in Australia’s history, based on the objective measurements of the proportion of bills passed, and absolute most successful based on the number of bills passed per parliamentary sitting days. This was in the face of incredibly vicious misogyny bulling of PM Gillard by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, not helped by the poorly united and faction ridden Labor Party / Source: Nick Evershed, 05/05/2022 in the Guardian.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Curtin, WA’s safest Lib seat now ultra-marginal

Chaney, once deputy PM and minister under Fraser says Liberal Party has “lost its way”, backs teal niece, Kate Chaney, to take ultra-safe WA seat of Curtin

Sydney Morning Herald 04/05/2022

Today in the Nine-Newspapers Fred Chaney says why he can no longer support the Liberals

[T]he party I served has lost its way. Members are no longer able to successfully execute what the electorate demands and it is now in the sad position of being held hostage by its extremes and those of its Coalition partner.

Fred Chaney, ex Liberal Deputy PM under Andrew Peacock and Minister in several portfolios under Malcolm Fraser

Fred Chaney is actively supporting his Niece, Kate Chaney, a teal independent who seems to have a good chance to convince thinking Liberal voters in WA’s ‘safest’ Liberal seat that action to deal with the global climate emergency, social responsibility and ethics are much more important than keeping the LNP COALition puppets representing the interests of fossil fuel special interests in power in Canberra.

https://www.katechaney.com.au/about-kate/


Like many other ‘teals’ Kate is a self-motivated thinker and doer concerned about the harsh and scary reality we face today rather than a believer in party political dogma about an endless future of business as usual (especially for the parties’ patrons in the fossil fuel industry). Seeing the dangers ahead being ignored by the party faithful, she has given up her normal occupations to run for Parliament. Her declaration of independence from the established parties seems to stand for all the teals I have studied to now:

We can do much better on climate action and integrity in Federal politics. Decarbonisation will offer significant opportunities in renewables and failure to act now will cost us. We need strong targets, certainty and aligned incentives to ensure that we are well-placed to catch that wave. This isn’t ideology. It is sound economic management. [my emphasis]

Over the years, I have voted for a range of parties but no party represents me. I grew up handing out how-to-vote cards for the Liberal party. I believe in the Liberal party my grandfather and uncle served in – one of opportunity, foresight, freedom and community. I don’t see that party any more.

I thought change could be effected through the Labor Party but when I attended a party event, I was turned off by the tribalism and focus on politics over policy. Until very recently, it was unthinkable that community independent candidates had a real chance of election – a real chance to make a difference, to change the way we do politics.

The rise of grassroots community independent organisations around the country, including here in Curtin, demonstrates that there is now a real opportunity to drive this change. The complex issues we face no longer fall into left and right. Running as an Independent in the current climate allows me to represent the views of the Curtin electorate and stay true to my conscience.

The wave of economically sensible, socially progressive independents who believe in stronger climate action sends a strong message to the major parties that they can’t take moderates for granted. There are Independent candidates like this with a real chance of success across the country, and we may just hold the balance of power. [my emphasis]

About Kate – from her campaign web site.

Curtin is no longer a safe Liberal seat!

The Age/Story Mirror article summarizes the field in Curtain and explains why it should be considered ultra-marginal:

Curtin candidates Kate Chaney, Celia Hammond and Yannick Spencer

by Richard, 27/04/2022 in Story Mirror

Why WA’s safest Liberal seat feels like an ultra-marginal tussle

The presence of local weather and transparency-focused unbiased Kate Chaney might see first-term Liberal member Celia Hammond unseated, which has sparked an election marketing campaign resembling one thing extra akin to ultra-marginal seat tussles and has thrown a spanner within the works for the Liberals’ broader West Australian marketing campaign.

It’s no surprise, with latest polls suggesting a neck-and-neck race between the 2 ladies. Dropping Curtin would place a large boulder within the Liberals’ path again to authorities, in line with Notre Dame Politics and Worldwide Relations professor Martin Drum.

“I feel each type of unbiased race is a bit completely different, however each seat [the Liberals] lose makes it more durable for them to type a majority authorities, ”he says.

Curtin has at all times been a Liberal seat – apart from a hiccup in 1996 when incumbent Liberal Allan Rocher fell out along with his occasion and ran efficiently as an unbiased. Underneath former overseas affairs minister and one-time prime minister hopeful Julie Bishop’s rein from 1998 to 2019, she step by step elevated the margin to 20.7 per cent on the 2016 election.

Read the complete article….

For a community of mostly self-made and thoughtful people that built Western Australia, Kate Chaney is the kind of thoughtful, motivated and powerful independent person to represent your interests in Parliament. Personally, I think there are more of these kinds of people in Curtin than there of the ‘rusted on’ sleepwalkers blinded by clouds of COALition bulldust who would vote to keep our current fossil fuel industry puppet government in power.

Even though the WA economy is built on and around the extractive industries. There is no economy if society collapses under the growing weight of climate disasters and catastrophes as the world continues to warm. Action on climate change can save the economy – especially if it encourages the development of ‘renewable’ industries. On the other hand, social collapse will destroy whatever economy there is.

The climate emergency is very definitely a major issue on the ballot in Curtin, and it is likely that no party will achieve a majority in its own right.

If voters consider the evidence and THINK before they vote, I have little doubt that the green light candidates will gain the majority of first preferences amongst themselves. Whether one of them will win the seat in the end depends on how voters manage their remaining preferences. How the different players will guide preferences may be critical in deciding the election. Most importantly, the Greens have already recommended that Greens voters give their second preference to Kate Chaney rather than any of the established parties. Although the Labor candidate, Yannick Spencer is much less well know, he has also stressed the importance of climate, and may well preference Kate.

Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System and its voting guides are designed to help people rank their preferences in such a way that if a green light candidate is given the first preference, and doesn’t win, the vote will still go to another green light climate friendly candidate as long as any remain in the running. Only if there are no more green or orange light candidates alive can the vote be given to a red light candidate.

Vote Climate One is also providing downloadable blank ballot formats so preferences can be decided at home, so the choices can easily be transferred to the formal ballot paper in the voting booth. Check the bottom of the your electorate’s page in the voting guide. (If you don’t find it now, check again in a couple of days as they are being progressively loaded into our system.)

See Climate Sentinel News‘s Corrupt leaders, casual media, gullible believers for a different and sometimes humorous take on how use preferential voting to make the kind of humongous political transition we need to make to cleanse the Parliamentary stable of its many years accumulation of bulldust.

In any event, the IPCC tells us that this election is probably our last chance to change our current puppet government to one that will act in our behalf to resolve or at least mitigate the accelerating climate crisis.


We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with business as usual!

It seems to have taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, wake up! smell the smoke! see the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

Scott Morrison and his troop of wooden-headed puppets are doing essentially nothing to organize effective action against the warming. In fact all they doing is rearranging the furniture in the burning house to be incinerated along with anything and everyone we may care about.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. Like Georgia Steele, people hope for their children’s futures. Greta doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future.

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish.

Featured Image Boundaries of the Curtin Electorate from Vote Climate One’s Curtin Electorate page. Click candidate names for more details.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Engineered solar panels harvest energy at night

Stanford University engineers have added thermoelectric generation to solar panels enabling them to harvest heat energy radiating to space

Soon, solar panels could work at night. Photo: Nuno Marques via Unsplash / from the article

by Sarah Roach, 7/4/2022 in Protocol

Stanford engineers make solar panels work at night: Meet the thermoelectric generator, what could be solar panels’ newest friend.

The Stanford team used a device known as a thermoelectric generator. As the name hints, the device generates electricity from difference in temperature between the ambient air and solar cells. The device basically harvests energy that passes between solar panels back into space at night, a process known as radiative cooling. (That process isn’t limited to solar panels, either.)

It has a particularly strong effect on clear nights, which is when the researchers found they were able to generate the most power. The new system can offer a “continuous renewable power source” throughout both the day and nighttime and could cost less to maintain over the long run compared to battery storage, according to the new paper published in Applied Physics Letters.

Read the complete article….

Featured image: A thermoelectric circuit composed of materials of different Seebeck coefficient (p-doped and n-doped semiconductors), configured as a thermoelectric generator. / Ken Brazier – self-made, based on w:Image:ThermoelectricPowerGen.jpg by CM Cullen (which is GFDL 1.2 and CC-by 2.5 licensed) via Wikimedia

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Heat pumps save energy for heating and cooling

Heat pumps use physical laws of thermodynamics to move large amounts of thermal energy for heating and cooling with little energy expenditure.

Image: Polytechnic University of Valencia / from the article

by Emiliano Bellini, 08/04/2020 in PV Magazine

Residential heat pump produces water up to 75 C: Scientists in Spain have developed a new heat pump that can produce 6.49 kWh of heat for each kilowatt-hour of power it consumes. The device could generate hot water at a temperature of up to 75 C.

Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and heating specialist Saunier Duval, a unit of Germany-based Vaillant Group, have developed a new residential heat pump based on natural refrigerants.

The device uses propane as a refrigerant, which allows for high energy efficiency, while keeping carbon dioxide emissions to almost zero.

“Our heat pump can heat homes completely environmentally friendly, without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In addition, its high-efficiency energy allows it to be classified as renewable energy, by pumping energy from the environment”, said researcher José Gonzalvez.

Read the complete article….

Featured image: Diagram of a phase change heat pump. Legend: 1. Condenser coil (hot side heat exchanger, gas cools and liquifies); 2 Metering Device (liquid expands and cools), 3. Evaporator coil (cold side heat exchanger, liquid vaporizes and heats up), 4. Compressor (gas is compressed and heats up). Red = Gas at high pressure and very high temperature, Pink = Liquid at high pressure and high temperature, Blue = Liquid at low pressure and very low temperature, Light Blue = Gas at low pressure and low temperature. Note: the arrows in the diagram are meant to indicate the flow of air and coolant; they do not correspond to heat flow, which in the system depicted is (generally) from right to left. / Author: Ilmari Karonen, own work / Licensing: Public Domain.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

CO₂: If you can measure it, you can control it

A new satellite system and atmospheric modelling can separate changes in anthropogenic CO₂ emissions from natural environmental variability.

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain via the Article

by Jessica Merzdorf Evans, 01/04/2022 in Phys.org

First-of-its-kind detection of reduced human carbon dioxide emissions

For the first time, researchers have spotted short-term, regional fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) around the globe due to emissions from human activities.

Using a combination of NASA satellites and atmospheric modeling, the scientists performed a first-of-its-kind detection of human CO2 emissions changes. The new study uses data from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) to measure drops in CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic from space. With daily and monthly data products now available to the public, this opens new possibilities for tracking the collective effects of human activities on CO2 concentrations in near real-time.

Read the complete article….

Read the source report: Brad Weir et al, Regional impacts of COVID-19 on carbon dioxide detected worldwide from space, Science Advances (2021)

Featured image: Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at Mauna Loa, Hawaii since 1958. Source Delorme – Data from Dr. Pieter Tans, NOAA/ESRL and Dr. Ralph Keeling, Scripps Institution of Oceanography via Wikipedia (which see for more details) / License: licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

35% of world’s electricity comes from ‘clean’ sources

Wind and solar count for 10% of total, but coal is also rising. At 10% in two years, Australia is switching fast to green sources

Wind and solar installations grew at pace in 2021 / Getty, from the article.

by Matt McGrath, 30/03/2022, in BBC.com

Climate change: Wind and solar reach milestone as demand surges: Wind and solar generated 10% of global electricity for the first time in 2021, a new analysis shows.

Featured Image: Solar farm / Getty, from the article.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Efficient electrolysis makes hydrogen economy look good

Australian technology developed at University of Wollongong and being commercialized by Hysata offers most efficient/cheapest energy conversion to date.

Hysata chief executive officer Paul Barrett and chief technology officer Gerry Swiegers with the company’s capillary-fed electrolysis cell. Photograph: Mark Newsham

by Peter Hannam, 16/03/2022 in The Guardian

Australian researchers claim ‘giant leap’ in technology to produce affordable renewable hydrogen: Morrison government’s hydrogen stretch goal of $2 a kilogram to make the fuel competitive could be reached by 2025, Hysata says.

Featured Image: Capillary-fed electrolysis cell – Schematic depiction showing how the bipolar plate and conducting gas diffusion layer in the capillary-fed cell were combined into a single bipolar plate structure that comprised a sheet of Ni with many small holes to allow evolved gases to exit the electrode. The anode electrode was welded to its bipolar plate. The cathode was compressed against its bipolar plate and not welded / Source: A high-performance capillary-fed electrolysis cell promises more cost-competitive renewable hydrogen, by Hodges, et al. 15/02/2022 in Nature Communications..

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Great idea! photovoltaic covers for irrigation canals

Good for agriculture: Save scarce water from evaporation to pay for installing solar panel covers, supply energy, and generate profits

by Dan Gearino, 24/02/2022 in Inside Clean Energy
In Parched California, a Project Aims to Save Water and Produce Renewable Energy: Plan calls for building solar canopies over canals, and may be the first project of its kind in the United States [but not elsewhere]

Featured image: A conceptual rendering of solar canopies covering part of Turlock Irrigation District’s 110-foot-wide main canal, near Turlock, California. Credit: Turlock Irrigation District. From the article

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Cheap H₂ storage may dispatch power for months

Hydrogen gas stored for less than $3/kg may provide months of dispatchable power to cover intermittent green energy generation

by Emiliano Bellini, 14/02/2022 in PV Magazine

Hydrogen under $3/kg may ensure affordable seasonal energy storage in the US

Researchers from the United States have investigated how fuel cells and electrolyzers may be able to operate under intermittent availability provided by both wind and solar and have found that an affordable hydrogen-based system for seasonal energy storage could be achieved at a hydrogen price lower than $3, produced from inexpensive renewable electricity at $0.02/kWh.

Featured Image: A PEM high pressure electrolyzer. Image: Wikimedia Commons/https://bit.ly/3qZ4nyZ

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Ocean carbon sinks capture and sequester quite well

The world’s oceans offer important and effective natural means to capture carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the ocean depths

There is significant evidence that the rate of global warming is already showing signs that it is at least partially being driven upward by positive feedbacks from temperature sensitive natural sources of carbon emissions. If so, it is unlikely that achieving zero emissions from human sources will be enough to do more than slow the rate of warming for a few years. To actually stop and reverse global warming we will have to actively remove greenhouse gas from the atmosphere (i.e., sequester them) at global scales. Ocean sinks for carbon might turn this task from a hopeful dream into reality.

My own unpublished studies of the literature relating to possible mitigation strategies to stop global warming prior to taking on my present VC1 role, suggested that fertilizing and farming the ocean deserts over abyssal depths should have the capacity to capture and sequester a significant fraction of the CO₂ in the atmosphere today. The recent research linked here suggests that significant carbon sequestration might be achieved by facilitating the growth of plankton with carbonate shells:

Carbonaceous shells of phytoplankton
Carbonaceous shells of phytoplankton

by Rupert Sutherland and Laia Alegret, 14/02/2022 in The Conversation

Oceans are better at storing carbon than trees. In a warmer future, ocean carbon sinks could help stabilise our planet

We think of trees and soil as carbon sinks, but the world’s oceans hold far larger carbon stocks and are more effective at storing carbon permanently.

In new research published today, we investigate the long-term rate of permanent carbon removal by seashells of plankton in the ocean near New Zealand.

We show that seashells have drawn down about the same amount of carbon as regional emissions of carbon dioxide, and this process was even higher during ancient periods of climate warming.

Humans are taking carbon out of the ground by burning fossil fuels deposited millions of years ago and putting it into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The current rate of new fossil fuel formation is very low. Instead, the main geological (long-term) mechanism of carbon storage today is the formation of seashells that become preserved as sediment on the ocean floor. [VC1 Editor’s emphasis]

Read the complete article….

The full scientific report on which the above article is based is also linked here for your easy access. There are also a number of scientific reports and observations indicating that runaway warming might be avoided if we can increase sequestration of excess atmospheric carbon soon enough.

Generalized map of active global ocean currents (blue arrows; after data from www.noaa.gov) and seabed covered in sediment that contains high calcium carbonate content (blue shade; calcareous ooze, mixed calcareous/siliceous ooze, shells and coral fragments, and fine-grained calcareous sediment; Dutkiewicz, Müller, et al., 2015)

by Sutherland, et al., 26/01/2020 in Paleooceanography and Paleoclimatology

Neogene Mass Accumulation Rate of Carbonate Sediment Across Northern Zealandia, Tasman Sea, Southwest Pacific

Global climate is likely to get warmer, and we want to know what will happen to marine life. We can study ancient warm periods to better predict the future. The ocean is a global carbon sink, because some organisms form shells by combining calcium with carbon dioxide dissolved in seawater. Once dead, their calcium carbonate shells sink to the seabed. Over millions of years, the southwest Pacific accumulated huge deposits. We used geophysical surveying and drilling to measure this history of deposition, which is a proxy for ancient biological productivity (how much marine life existed). A warm period 18–14 million years ago had high atmospheric carbon dioxide (2–4 times preindustrial levels) and slightly lower ocean productivity. In contrast, 8–4 million years ago, atmospheric carbon dioxide was similar to predicted 21st century levels and productivity was much higher: more than double recent values. Rates of calcium carbonate deposition in the past do not correlate with ocean acidity or atmospheric carbon dioxide; but they were mostly higher than today. Hence, long-term biological productivity and carbon sequestration in the southwest Pacific might increase in future, but computer models that fit our observations are needed to test this idea.

Read the complete article….

Sequestration of excess atmospheric carbon under the ocean is one of the very few technologies I have seen that plausibly scales up enough to cleanse Earth’s entire atmosphere. Some further evidence supporting this conclusion is discussed and linked here.

Only biological rather than engineered carbon capture and sequestration technologies have the potential to scale up to planetary level solutions

Direct air capture

Stopping anthropogenic carbon emissions probably will not be enough to stop the continually increase in the rate of global warming because of the natural positive feedbacks already triggered. This has led to substantial work to find ways to capture/’draw-down’ atmospheric CO₂ for safe sequestration underground. Over the last year or so there has been a considerable buzz in the clean-tech industry to engineer and construct technological solutions under the name of ‘direct air capture’ for doing this. These are physical/chemical devices looking a lot like air-conditioning units, but a lot more complicated in the way they work.

Graphic via ABC Science in Direct air capture machines suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Are they part of the solution to climate change? by James Purtill, 28/01/2022

Wearing the hat from the near life-long physics and engineering thread in my diverse background, I have to say that despite all the hype, the idea that this type of technology could be scaled up to have any significant impact on the planetary amount of atmospheric CO₂ has to be pure bulldust and fairy-floss from the fossil fuel industry. The ABC article where I found this illustration makes it clear, “The greatest challenge … is processing enough air to capture a significant amount of CO2, given the gas makes up just 0.04 per cent of the air we breathe.” Physically, it takes a lot of energy expensive ‘work’ to gather widely separated gas molecules and compress them into a small space where they can be packaged and stored. No matter how the compression is achieved, according to the universal and fundamental physical Second Law of Thermodynamics, this energy cost cannot be avoided. This is before considering the additional costs of mining, refining, or otherwise gathering and processing the materials required to build the technology, assembling the devices, and all the related transport and logistics of distributing them, processing the resulting compressed carbon into a sequesterable form and the placing it in some form of safe long-term storage. As implied in the ABC article, a lot of people will make loads of money that will be far more needed elsewhere, to implement this absurdly costly technology to make a microscopic contribution (assuming there is actually any net benefit at all) to solving the global problem.

Other examples of the hype I have discussed in my Facebook account include:

Biological systems capture and sequester carbon as a fundamental process of life

The biological and evolutionary thread in my life that began even before I learned to read. Wearing this hat, I can explain the absolute difference between the necessarily piece-rate and energy intensive processes required to produce engineered products, versus the intrinsic processes living systems use to reproduce and multiply themselves. They do this without any need for external instruction by self-harvesting the resources and energy they need from their surroundings. As such, living things also have the intrinsic capacity to adapt and evolve at least to some degree to meet changing aspects in their environments.

Plants (i.e., all types of photosynthesizing organisms) use energy from photons of light to capture CO₂ from their environments and combine this with water (H₂O) to produce the sugars that provide the starting point for synthesizing all of the other carbon-based organic molecules constructing the organism. Ultimately, all of this carbon is drawn down from the atmosphere (perhaps by way of first being dissolved in water). Thus, to live, grow, reproduce and multiply, plants MUST capture and hold onto carbon atoms for as long as they live. How and where they die determines how long this organic carbon remains sequestered away from the atmosphere.

Earth’s abyssal ocean depths are by far its largest repositories for carbon sequestration

The featured image heading up this post shows an equal area map of the extent of the oceans compared to land masses. Oceans cover around 70% of the total surface area of the globe. Land occupies the other 30%, but not all of this is remotely arable (e.g., the whole of Antarctica and many desert areas). The map is based on a “chlorophyll-based” model that estimates net primary production from chlorophyll using a temperature-dependent description of chlorophyll-specific photosynthetic efficiency. Net primary production is a function of chlorophyll, available light, and photosynthetic efficiency. The dark blue areas of the oceans away from the land are ‘ocean deserts’ where there is essentially no photosynthesis because there is an almost total absence of particular micronutrients phytoplankton need for building their photosynthetic apparatus.

I am certainly not the only person to have seen the potential importance of using the oceans as the major carbon sink for excess atmospheric CO₂. Committees of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have published several reviews of potential carbon capture and sequestration technologies meriting funding for further research and development. The latest of these focuses specially on various kinds of ocean sequestraton (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2021. A Research Strategy for Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

).

The race track has already been laid out, so we could hit the ground running if anyone gets really serious about solving the climate emergency

This report builds heavily on previous National Academies studies, in particular the rationale and framing for research on carbon dioxide removal provided from the 2015 report on Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal [“CDR”] and Reliable Sequestration. The ocean CDR report here also adds to the more terrestrial focus of the 2019 report on “Negative Emissions Technologies and Reliable Sequestration: A Research Agenda.”

To me, it is the areas of marine deserts (~ half the surface of the world’s oceans) that are the most interesting, because this is where the potential should be greatest to use fertilization and farming to establish and control ecosystems optimized to capture and sequester carbon while causing minimal disturbance to already established ecosystems in more fertile areas of the world’s oceans. Chapter 3, Nutrient Fertilization in the National Academy’s review covers many general issues relating to this approach. There are also a number of recent scientific reports and observations that are relevant:

Collectively, together with many others I have seen, these references provide more than enough evidence to indicate that we should be able to seed and fertilize phytoplankton blooms over large areas of ocean desert to begin fixing globally significant amounts of atmospheric carbon into biomass. What remains to be worked out is how to optimize the growth and ‘packaging’ of this biomass carbon into relatively inert forms that will drop down into the abyssal depths to be incorporated in the bottom sediment.

This is the ‘farming’ aspect of the process involving the selection and seeding of appropriate phytoplankton species, and the selection, seeding, and husbanding of appropriate ‘consumer’ species to harvest and package a large proportion of the carbon in the phytoplankton as feces (i.e., ‘droppings’) or in the consumers own dead bodies that are dense enough to fall to the bottom out of the photic zone where the phytoplankton photosynthesize. Consumers may be shelled zooplankton, other invertebrates with dense carbonaceous components, or various kinds of fish, mammals or birds that can be counted on to take a significant mass of carbon to the bottom of the ocean when they die.

In principle, it should be possible to scale up such processes rapidly enough to begin drawing down carbon from the atmosphere before runaway warming has passed the point beyond which the positive feedbacks have become unstoppable. Once we have good recipes, given the propensity of biological systems to MULTIPLY autonomously, the processes should be rapidly expandable to the planetary scale. However, there are all kinds of presently unqualified risks and benefits to be faced from putting such activities into practice that need to be studied and qualified before implementation begins. Given the hints and evidence in the scientific literature, there should be hundreds and thousands of research studies working out the uncertainties to the point where large-scale pilot projects can be put to work as required to begin implementing global solutions.

Unfortunately, I am unaware that anything remotely close to the required volume of research has even been contemplated, let alone set to work…..

Why?????????

Australia’s COALition Government has relatively stifled climate science and the institutes and universities where such research would normally be carried out.

The puppets show and tell
Captain Humbug showing the parliamentary puppet troop what it is all about. ““Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you. It’s coal.” With these words Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison taunted the Opposition, attempting to ridicule its commitment to renewable energy.” – The Conversation (15-02-2017)
Fossil fuel donations keep puppets in government.
See also Katherine Murphy in The Guardian on 09/02/2017 for the live video — “Scott Morrison brings coal to question time: what fresh idiocy is this? What a bunch of clowns, hamming it up – while out in the real world an ominous and oppressive heat just won’t let up.”

In my opinion the LNP COALition and the collection of egocentric clowns and knaves also owned by the same puppet masters in the fossil fuel and other despoiling industries have made their denial of climate science and support of their puppet masters unambiguously loud and clear. There seems to be no mistaking their intent to go on doing this until the final collapse of society under the rising impacts of the climate emergency.

If humanity is to survive on Earth much beyond the 21st Century we Australians and citizens of other governments around the world must remove the special interest puppets from their governments and replace these greedy clowns and knaves with clear-headed people who are committed to put fighting the climate emergency at the top of their to-do lists when elected.

In Australia, Vote Climate One was formed by a team of volunteers to provide citizens in every Federal electorate with the information and knowledge they need to make wise decisions when filling out their ballot papers in the next election. Climate Sentinel News provides the scientific evidence and daily reports that have so motivated our group to try to do something to help cleanse our Parliament of the puppets. Our Traffic Light Voting System shows you what we know about each candidate in your electorate and will provide a blank ballot you can use at home to list candidates in the order of your preferences. We also give each candidate a traffic light showing where we think they stand on the spectrum from putting climate first (green traffic light) to putting fossil fuel first (red stop light). Amber lights are used for those candidates we trust to vote with green light MPs in hung Parliament or ‘greenish’ minority government. If you trust us, you can use the traffic lights to make it easier to give your preferences on the ballot.

Hopefully we can elect a new Government that will give our offspring a bright future rather than a dying planet.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.