After reading the full text of what The Australian’s leading article called Tony Abbott’s “provocative” London speech, in my considered opinion it is one of the most outstanding speeches in years by any Australian politician. It will ring around the world, and is already doing so.
Daring to Doubt: Tony Abbott delivers the 2017 Annual GWPF Lecture, London, 9 October
That “provocative” appellation notwithstanding, The Australian’s coverage of the speech has been an object lesson to the intellectual pygmies in the Fairfax press, the ABC, SBS and most politicians from the Prime Minister down. While the focus has been on Abbott’s well-reasoned trashing of the global warming scam, the speech is also impressive in the way it frames that quasi-religious phenomenon within “the broader struggle for practical wisdom … across the Western world” — a struggle that could have us “entering a period of national and civilisational decline”.
For “civilisational self-doubt is everywhere” in the Western world: “We believe in everyone but ourselves; and everything is taken seriously except that which used to be.” (Does “marriage” come to mind?) “Far from becoming universal” after the failure of the Marxist folly, “Western values are less and less accepted even in the West itself”. While “climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom … only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia … could have made such a religion out of it”.
So what should we do? “The heart of any recovery … has to be an honest facing of facts and an insistence upon intellectual rigour”, qualities conspicuously missing from the “global warming” arena from the outset and, as the quality (sic) of the attacks on Abbott’s speech has again demonstrated, in spades.
Writing years ago on this topic I noted “the telltale signs” that invariably indicate resort to falsehood. The Orwellian linguistic transition from a hypothesis about man-made “global warming” (since largely discredited) to one about “climate change” (which naturally everyone acknowledges); or the demonisation of carbon dioxide, present in our atmosphere in minuscule proportions and an essential plant food without which human life would become extinct, as a “pollutant” (being deliberately confused with those genuine particulate pollutants that once belched from power station smokestacks): these are the clearest signs of the intellectual dishonesty of their proponents. It is those untruths Abbott has called out.
And the response from his critics? Personal abuse, distortion of what he said, refusal even to publish what he did say, but above all no attempt to engage with his facts, all of which I have checked and all of which are accurate. Extreme cold does cause 20 times as many deaths as extreme heat. To the (limited) extent to which Earth has warmed, it has grown greener as a result. Hence “a gradual lift in global temperatures … might be beneficial”. Yet the Prime Minister snidely refers to “it being Mental Health Day”; a minister (Josh Frydenberg) who resorts to the self-demeaning criticism that, as prime minister, Abbott defended the renewable energy target and signed up to the Paris Agreement, both of which he now criticises.
Of course he did, because, despite his long-held view that this new paganism was “absolute crap”, a Turnbull-led majority of his cabinet, to their eternal discredit, had gone along with it and tied his hands. Being at last free to speak the truth, should he be mocked for doing so?
The fact is, as Terry McCrann said (The Daily Telegraph, October 12), Abbott’s speech was “a seminal event”. Make no mistake: it will ring around the world, and is already doing so. A (real) political leader, someone of stature domestically and internationally, has pointed to the global warming alarmists and declared that, like the emperor, they have no clothes. “Beware the pronouncement ‘the science is settled’ … the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought-police down the ages”. Amen to that.
John Stone is a former secretary to the Treasury and former National Party Senate leader.