Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Peter Roebuck committed suicide after accusation of sexual assault on young cricketers

November 14, 2011

Yet another case of predatory behaviour by sports people in authority over young boys. Peter Roebuck committed suicide in S. Africa by jumping out of his hotel window after being questioned by police about drugging and sexually assaulting a young boy. Many people must have known anout his behaviour.

He wrote very well and I always enjoyed his articles. But he had some dark secrets and they are not very pretty. In 2001 he was found guilty of caning 3 young S. African cricketers he was training.

Daily Telegraph Australia: In 2001, the former Somerset cricket captain was given a suspended jail sentence after admitting caning three young cricketers he had offered to coach. Roebuck, of Exmouth in Devon, pleaded guilty to three charges of common assault involving three South African teenagers between 1 April and 31 May, 1999. He had pleaded not guilty to three counts of causing actual bodily harm, which was accepted by the prosecution. Roebuck was sentenced to four months in jail for each count, with the sentences suspended for two years, at Taunton Crown Court. Judge Graham Hume Jones told Roebuck he had abused his power and influence over the boys, who were far from home and far from friends and family.

Update! I see that tributes, and here, are flowing in about his writing and his cricket career. But I am afraid that whatever he may have done well, his sexual predations and the lives of all the young people he has traumatised is too heavy a price.
Better that he had never written a single word if that would have meant that his horrible behaviour to young cricketers under his authority could have been avoided.


Murray Darling basin is 87% full, La Niña is back and floods and fires are on the agenda

October 10, 2011
The "Mighty Murray", the longest riv...

The "Mighty Murray": Image via Wikipedia

After a decade of drought and two very wet years Australia is facing a third consecutive wet year. La Niña is back and the Murray Darling basin is already 87% full as of 23rd September. Last year levels were the highest since 2001 and this year they are even higher.

Water levels are high across all of Australia except in the West. The ground is also reported well saturated and as the rains come the controlled release of water from the dams system will be crucial to prevent a repeat of this year’s floods in January and February 2012.

The Australian writes:

… if the spring rains continue, the water storage that is so vital to the prosperity of irrigation farmers along the Murray River and to Adelaide’s drinking water supply, will be full by next year. Around the nation, water storage reserves are at levels not seen since the start of the decade-long drought in the late 90s.

The Bureau of Meteorology estimates Australia’s 261 largest drinking water and irrigation storages, with a total capacity of 78 million megalitres of water, are on average 80 per cent full. This time last year, the figure was 65 per cent. 

Drinking water supplies for the major cities have been replenished by the wettest 10-month period ever recorded, between July last year and April. Sydney’s city water storages are now 79 per cent full, while dams supplying Adelaide and Brisbane are at a healthy 83 per cent capacity. Even Melbourne’s once critically low dams have climbed to 63 per cent full with recent rainfall, their highest levels in 12 years. Melbourne’s largest supply dam, the Thomson, is this week half-full for the first time since 2005.

The anomaly is Perth, which is still critically dry, relying on desalination plants and aquifers for 60 per cent of its water supplies. ….. 

… The filling of the giant Dartmouth Dam is an extraordinary feat that has happened just three times since the vast reservoir in the remote Victorian high country was commissioned in 1980. Only in 1990, 1993 and 1997 has water overflowed from the four-million-megalitre dam and thundered down its 180m drop spillway. It’s a far cry from this time last year, when the Dartmouth Dam was just 26 per cent full. Now holding 2.8 million ML of water, according to operators Goulburn-Murray Water, it’s a rejuvenation that has tourists, anglers and irrigation farmers flocking to enjoy the dam’s beauty and plentiful trout.

The level in the Dartmouth Dam is so high that irrigation needs for farmers downstream are assured for about 4 years. But the risk of flooding is being closely watched

La Niña has become synonymous with flooding as a result of above average rainfall. This year is likely to see a re-emergence of both but on a smaller scale than last year. “Above average rain through northern and eastern Australia is likely to once again prompt broad-scale flooding. Areas which will see a return of above average rain include; Queensland, the Northern Territory, northern parts of Western Australia, north-east parts of South Australia, much of New South Wales and northern Victoria,” says Dick Whitaker, Chief Meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

…. The Australian cyclone season runs from November to April and The Weather Channel expects a more active season compared to last year. “This year is likely to be a more active season than last year when despite strong La Niña conditions we saw only 11 cyclones. We are expecting a total of around 12 to 13 cyclones this year in Australian waters, but on average only half of our cyclones actually cross the coast,” says Tom Saunders, Senior Meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

“About 5-6 cyclones can be expected off the north-west coast of Western Australia and two of these should cross the coast, one of which is likely to be severe (category 3 or above),” he continues. “Off the Queensland coast, 4-5 tropical cyclones are likely, with one or two coastal crossings. While off the north coast between the Kimberley and Cape York Peninsula, four cyclones are likely, three of which should cross the coast,” Saunders continues.

“If La Niña conditions strengthen over the next few months as predicted by some models we may add one or two more cyclones to the forecast for each region,” says Saunders.

Paradoxically, “the heavy rains last year have pushed the nation’s grassfire risk to levels not seen in 40 years, with an area in central Australia twice the size of Tasmania having burned since June”.


Australia – A country “of droughts and flooding rains”

March 5, 2011
Page 1 of My Country (Core of my Heart) by Dor...

page 1 of Core of my Heart (My Country): Image via Wikipedia

A lovely little essay by Clive James in Standpoint gently chiding the pretension of the alarmists who see global warming in every weather event and bringing some much needed perspective into weather and climate after the decade of Murray-Darling droughts and the recent Queensland floods:

The Drumming of an Army

…….. Before the floods, proponents of the CAGW view had argued that there would never be enough rain again, because of Climate Change. When it became clear that there might be more than enough rain, the view was adapted: the floods, too, were the result of Climate Change. In other words, they were something unprecedented. Those opposing this view — those who believed that in Australia nothing could be less unprecedented than a flood unless it was a drought — took to quoting Dorothea Mackellar’s poem “My Country”, which until recently every Australian youngster was obliged to hear recited in school. In my day we sometimes had to recite it ourselves, and weren’t allowed to go home until we had given evidence that we could remember at least the first four lines of the second stanza, which runs like this.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains……

…. It was Green pressure that stymied the construction of dams. Probably, from now on, dams will come back into favour, in recognition of the fact that the climate of the sunburnt country, in all her beauty and her terror, is still the way it always was. After the First World War, the desirability of up-river flood control was already well understood. Indeed Australia pioneered such engineering, and the Tennessee Valley Authority borrowed the idea from Australia, not the other way about.

If, from now on, dams are built instead of desalination plants — which in recent years have been proved to yield a fraction of the water at a multiple of the cost — then we will be able to tell that sanity has returned to at least one section of the vast area covered by the pretensions of the climatologists.

Dorothea Mackellar’s poem “My Country” was published in 1908 and her description of the Australia “of droughts and flooding rains” remains just as accurate a century later and is quite indifferent to global warming. .

“My Country” is an iconic patriotic poem about Australia, written by Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) at the age of 19 while homesick in England. After travelling through Europe extensively with her father during her teenage years she started writing the poem in London in 1904 and re-wrote it several times before her return to Sydney. The poem was first published in the London Spectator in 1908 under the title “Core of My Heart”. It was reprinted in many Australian newspapers, quickly becoming well known and establishing Mackellar as a poet.

Carbon dioxide rip-off has cost Australia $5.5 billion – so far

February 14, 2011

With easy money like this floating around and waiting to be siphoned off it is not difficult to see why the global warming fraud continues! And of course these $5.5 billion are small change compared to the amounts that have been scammed in Europe.

And to make it worse, carbon dioxide emissions are a little less than insignificant for global temperatures.

The Sydney Morning Herald:

Billions blown on carbon schemes

SUCCESSIVE federal governments have spent more than $5.5 billion over the past decade on climate change programs that are delivering only small reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at unusually high costs for taxpayers and the economy.

An analysis by the Herald of government schemes designed to cut emissions by direct spending or regulatory intervention reveals they have cost an average of $168 for each tonne of carbon dioxide abated. ……

The analysis of 17 programs with a total cost of $5.62 billion shows many of the schemes are at odds with the goal of tackling climate change at the lowest cost to the economy. ………

The weighted average cost of the 17 programs was $168 a tonne. They will deliver about 25 million tonnes of carbon abatement in 2020 – less than 10 per cent of that needed to meet the government’s target of reducing emissions in 2020 by 5 per cent on 2000 levels.

The worst offenders have included Labor’s rebates for rooftop solar panels, which cost $300 or more for every tonne of carbon abated, and the Howard government’s remote renewable power generation scheme, which paid up to $340 for each tonne.

Read the article.

Queensland sees off Yasi: Preparedness ensures it was no Katrina

February 3, 2011

Cyclone Yasi has come and gone.

Its speed was a blessing in disguise and has ensured that it is already well inland and reducing in strength. It has left behind a trail of destruction but few (if any) serious injuries or fatalities. The township of Cardwell was warned to evacuate, but about 100 residents chose not to leave and they have not been contacted as yet.


Worst hit were the coastal towns of Tully, Mission Beach and Cardwell, with hundreds of houses destroyed. The cities of Cairns and Townsville were relatively unscathed but are being lashed by heavy rains; warnings of further storm surges have been issued. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said there had been no reports of deaths or serious injuries so far.

The similarities of Yasi to Katrina is apparent but the differences in their respective impacts is quite striking.

This may be partially due to geography and demographics and the speed with which Yasi drove inland, but observing both from across the world leads me to the perception that the primary differences between Queensland and Louisiana were

  • the preparedness of the government and the population,and
  • the sense of civic duty in Queensland, and
  • the level of trust in the state government institutions, and
  • the level of perceived duty within the institutions

The thought of Queensland police looting after Yasi as some New Orleans police did after Katrina is  inconceivable. It’s just my perception but I believe it shows the difference between institutions having a fundamental belief that they have a duty to the population they serve and others where the concept of duty is much less developed.

Cyclone Yasi compared to Hurricane Katrina

credit bbc


La Niña driving severe rains and floods in Brazil and Australia

January 12, 2011

The La Niña event established this year is particularly intense and maybe the most severe in a 100 years. Such events are known to give warm sea surface temperatures and greater evaporation giving heavy rains in the Western Pacific in Australia, less rain in the Eastern Pacific on the western coast of S. America (coastal Chile and Peru) but increased rain on the east coast in southern Brazil and  northern Argentina.

Yesterday, heavy rainfall and floods in Brazil  claimed 80 lives.

UPDATE!! This morning the death toll is reported to be over 250.

UPDATE 2!! 13th January: Now death toll is around 400.


More than 80 people have died in towns near Rio de Janeiro as heavy rains continue to cause flooding and mudslides in south-eastern Brazil. Overnight downpours triggered landslides in the mountain town of Teresopolis, where more than 50 were reported to have died. At least three firefighters were among several people buried in mudslides in Nova Friburgo.

Brazil has seen severe flooding this year which has left thousands homeless.

The death toll is expected to climb as rescuers reach remote villages in the mountains. One report, compiling official and media figures, put the toll so far at 93.

This week, torrential rains in neighbouring Sao Paulo state left 13 people dead and brought traffic chaos to Brazil’s biggest city. In Teresopolis, 100km (62 miles) north of Rio Janeiro, a river burst its banks, submerging buildings, while the rainfall set off several mudslides.

The rains and floods in Queensland have claimed 13 lives so far but the peak in Brisbane a few hours ago was fortunately about 1 m lower than in the 1974 floods. Nevertheless many thousands of homes have been inundated and the damage to Queensland industry and agriculture is severe. The final death toll is likely to be higher since it is feared that some bodies will only be discovered after the waters recede. Now heavy rain and flash floods have hit Victoria as well.

The Guardian:

The devastating flooding in Queensland is the result of Australia being in the grip of an unusually strong “La Niña”, a periodic climate phenomenon that brings more rain to the western Pacific, and less to South America along the eastern Pacific.

“The Queensland floods are caused by what is one of the strongest – if not the strongest – La Niña events since our records began in the late 19th century,” said Prof Neville Nicholls at Monash University and president of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. “The La Niña is associated with record warm sea-surface temperatures around Australia and these would have contributed to the heavy rains.” Warmer oceans produce damper air and hence more rain. This is driven onshore by the stronger east-to-west trade winds characteristic of La Niña.

In both Australia and S. America the rains have about another 2 months to run.

related posts:

June 2010 –

October 2010 –

Misguided solar subsidies favoured the wealthy

November 11, 2010

Further confirmation that subsidies in general are counter productive and in the case of solar panels in Australia were misguided:

From ABC News:

A new report has found the Federal Government’s billion-dollar subsidies for solar energy favoured the wealthy and barely reduced Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past decade, successive federal governments have provided generous subsidies to households installing solar roof-top panels.

But the cost effectiveness and fairness of the solar voltaic rebate program is being questioned. Andrew Macintosh, the associate director of the Australian National University’s Centre for Climate Law and Policy, has reviewed the program. He says it has barely reduced Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and it has favoured the rich. “What we found was that the cost of the program was very high,” he said. “It cost the government about $1.1 billion. For that we got about a six-fold increase in solar generation, but still solar constituted only 0.1 per cent of total generation, so a relatively small technology in the overall grid,” he said.

“We’ve been handing out a lot of subsidies for solar systems, but the most people who pick up these subsidies tend to be from wealthier households … and as a result we’re basically providing middle and upper class welfare.”

In June last year the Federal Government cancelled the program at short notice.


Commonwealth Games- Australians dominate the medals but athletes leave Delhi on a sour note

October 15, 2010

The Australian team totally dominated the Games with their haul of 177 medals including 74 Golds. But some of their athletes seem to have been involved in vandalising the Games village. Just high jinks perhaps.

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1. Australia 74 55 48 177
2. India 38 27 36 101
3. England 37 59 46 142
4. Canada 26 17 32 75
5. South Africa 12 11 10 33

Zee News reports that

Some Australian athletes destroyed electrical fittings and furniture in their tower in the Games Village on Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to a newspaper report, the athletes shouted slogans against Indian ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who was named ‘Man of the match’ and ensured India’s victory in the Bangalore match, and tossed a washing machine down from the eighth floor of their tower.
According to newspaper sources in Delhi police, this hooliganism by Australian athletes started on Tuesday when Tendulkar scored a double century to force Australia out of the match. Irked by this match-winning performance, they first damaged electrical fittings and fixtures in their block. The report also says that Delhi Police, which received a complaint about this vandalism, has downplayed the incidents to prevent them from growing into a diplomatic embarrassment for Australia.
Meanwhile, confirming these vandalism reports, Australia’s Commonwealth Games boss Perry Crosswhite on Friday denied involvement of any Australian athlete in the incident at the Games Village.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

An Australian athlete was sent home from the Commonwealth Games for bad behaviour this week and a washing machine was dropped from a balcony in Australia’s section of the athlete’s village after the closing celebrations.

No one was injured by the washing machine but Perry Crosswhite, Australia Commonwealth Games association chief executive, said he was disappointed by the incident on Thursday night.

“We don’t know who did that,” Crosswhite told journalists today. “Delhi police came around and they’ve done a report and an investigation and we’ll hear about that.”

But by all accounts it was a spectacular closing ceremony and a qualified success. It was a long way away from being the fiasco that had been feared.

Sydney shivers! Can’t be climate must be weather.

September 30, 2010

Temperatures in Los Angeles must be due to climate but the cold in Sydney is probably only weather !!!

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

After their coldest winter in 13 years Sydney residents have just experienced their coldest September in five years. “September was an unusual month in terms of the lack of warm days across much of south-eastern Australia,” weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said.

When both daytime and overnight temperatures were combined, Sydney’s average temperature this month came in at just under 17 degrees. This made it the coldest September in five years, despite being one degree above the long-term norm. It was also the coldest September in terms of daytime temperatures in three years.

Sydney Winter Festival 2010

As far as rainfall goes, Sydney failed to receive the long-term monthly average of 69mm, despite having the normal number of rain days, 10. The city gained only 42mm, the lowest for September since 2007.

“With La Nina likely to peak in the next few months, we are expecting rainfall to increase, trending to near or above average into summer,” Mr Dutschke said. “During this period, daytime temperatures should be near or below average. Overnight temperatures are likely to be close to normal.”

Residents of Melbourne have just experienced their coldest September days in 16 years, Mr Dutschke said. Warmer days ahead will provide Adelaide residents with a good thawing out after enduring their coldest September in 18 years, Mr Dutschke said.

High probability of La Nina: Good news for the Indian monsoon

June 26, 2010

Good news for the Indian monsoon

The Indian Meteorological Department has increased their rainfall forecast from being 98% of normal to being 102% of normal because of the La Nina conditions developing from the cooling of  the Central Pacific. The monsoon is expected to be “on time” and Northern India will get some relief from the sweltering temperatures they have been suffering.

Development of La Nina will also lead to global temperatures continuing to show the decline which has been apparent for the last decade.

The monsoon is formally defined to last for the 4 months of June to September every year and the onset and progress of the northern front of the monsoon is closely watched and can have a major impact. Even though the Indian economy is not as vulnerable to bad monsoons as it used to be, the importance of the monsoon to agriculture (and therefore also to related industries such as fertilisers, pesticides,pumps and even tractors) means that the difference between a “good” monsoon and a “bad” monsoon can be as much as 2% of annual GDP.

‘‘The latest forecasts from a majority of the dynamical and statistical models indicate continued and rapid cooling of the equatorial Pacific to below La Nina threshholds. There is a very high probablity (about 60%) for the La Nina conditions to develop during the monsoon season, which favours stronger than normal monsoon,’’ said IMD Director General Ajit Tyagi.

(photo credit:…/)

La Nina is also expected to bring more rain to Australia.

While La Nina will be welcomed in India and may disrupt the Ashes Tests in Australia it is not good news for the soya bean crops in Brazil.

%d bloggers like this: