Daily Archives: February 13, 2020

Statisticisation

Thanks Andy for your essay on statistics.

During the industrial revolution in the 19th century, people were concentrated in towns often near factories. To entertain themselves, the new urban classes gambled on horse races, on sport, on anything really.
In order to calculate the odds of a horse winning (say) required a knowledge of probability and therefore statistics.

Well, that’s my take on how statistics evolved under capitalism.

andypaine

“There are three types of lies,” the old saying goes: “lies, damned lies, and statistics”. Learning to distrust the supposedly simple mathematical truths of statistics is an essential survival mechanism for navigating our way through advertising promises and endless conflicting reports.

And yet I feel like over the years I’ve seen statistics becoming more and more prominent in our culture, taking on influence where once they seemingly had no relevance.

One of those areas is sport. American sports always loved statistics, and cricket by its bizarre nature always lent itself uniquely to mathematical analysis. But in recent years this has been taken to newheights – each year the television coverage boasts of some elaborate new way of crunching numbers. Popular website cricinfo has a regular feature of statistical analysis so detailed it has to be seen to be believed.

Other sports too have seemingly become obsessed with stats – soccer…

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No tales past Gailes

Happier Days – Former Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale and Deputy Mayor Cr Paul Tully ring the bell at the official opening of Fire Station 101 in Ipswich.

Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) claim that the illegal antics of the Ipswich Mayor and his council went under the radar for years. In its report to state government the CCC’s MacSporran & Rice, both QCs, claim that:

“In many cases, the (illegal) behaviour continued over a significant period of time but went unchallenged and unreported.”

No Tales past Gailes
I wonder how residents of Ipswich and neighbouring shires feel about this assertion by the brainy blokes at the CCC? People who for over 40 years said that Pisasale was a crook. Workers who witnessed the rip offs and yet saw how Pisasale was cleared by the CCC on at least one previous occasion. How do such claims affect the credibility of the Pisasale’s deputy, the most experienced councillor in Queensland, Paul Tully, who maintained a code of silence for so many years?

Under the Constitution of Queensland, local governments are charged with the good rule and local government of their area.

Also, under the Local Government Act 2009, Ipswich City Council is the elected body responsible for the good rule and government of Ipswich City, and all councillors are accountable to the community for the local government’s performance. 

Private companies established by local governments can create corruption risks through a lack of oversight and transparency in expenditure and decision-making. They can contribute to the misuse of power and public funds for the personal benefit of councillors and their close associates.” – Culture and corruption risks in local government. Lessons from an investigation intoIpswich City Council (Operation Windage)

According to the Crime and Corruption Commission Operation Windage Report, private companies set up by the corrupt Ipswich City Council included Ipswich City Properties Pty Ltd, Ipswich City Developments Pty Ltd, Ipswich City Enterprises Pty Ltd, Ipswich City Enterprises Investments Pty Ltd and the Ipswich Motorsports Precinct Pty Ltd.

350.org – #CutAllTies

It’s a short 800m walk from the Minerals Council office to Parliament House in Canberra. The well-worn path between the coal lobby and our elected representatives was lined with bushfire debris yesterday as bushfire survivors, Pacific Climate Warriors and activists highlighted the coal lobby’s 20 years of blocking government action on climate change. If you’re keen to join the people powered movement to take back our democracy – learn more at our online webinar on tomorrow night at 6:30pm.

#CutAllTies Launch Webinar

Start: Thursday, February 13, 2020 • 6:30 PM • Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney (GMT+10:00)

End: Thursday, February 13, 2020 • 7:45 PM • Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney (GMT+10:00)

Email from 350.org on Wednesday, 12 February 2020:

Hi Friend, 

Yesterday was extraordinary. Together with bushfire survivors, Pacific Climate Warriors and local activists we launched a groundbreaking campaign to take back our democracy from the hands of the coal lobby – #CutAllTies

Brave and resilient folks from the NSW South Coast brought the remains of their homes and properties all the way to Canberra to make a powerful statement – it’s time to put an end to the coal lobby’s trail of destruction.

80 people and 32 wheelbarrows lined the streets from Parliament House to the headquarters of the Minerals Council of Australia in front of media and politicians – here’s how it all went down:

Trail of Destruction - Nick with wheelbarrow

We met early to unload trailers of bushfire debris into the 32 wheelbarrows. There were all sorts of household items in the wreckage – teapots, solar panels, downpipes, even the kitchen sink. Behind every piece of debris was a powerful story of the damage being done by the climate crisis, and anger that the Government is refusing to take action in the wake of such a devastating tragedy.

Trail of Destruction - unloading trailers

Jack Egan, who lost his home on New Years Eve, gave powerful testimony to a throng of media, recounting his fear as he and his partner were separated as their house burnt to the ground. According to Jack, “after the firestorm passed that was a powerful emotional experience…at least we’ve survived bodily and almost psychologically.”

Jack knows too well the impact of 20 years of inaction on climate change in Australia, and he called on our Government to fulfil its first duty – to protect its citizens from harm – and cut all ties with the coal lobby so we can get on with becoming the renewable energy superpower we should be.

Jack's press conference

Together we marched the wheelbarrows from Parliament House along the short 800m walk to the Minerals Council office. 

Once at their office, The Pacific Climate Warriors created a seawall on the steps of the Minerals Council, and we heard an incredible spoken word poem from Sailoto about losing islands to sea level rise. 

Together, Sailoto and I delivered an invoice to the Minerals Council for the damages from the bushfires, the sunken money in fossil fuel subsidies, and the 20 years of holding back action on climate change that has cost us our future.

Why did we do it?

Because our research into the history of the Minerals Council has found that for over 20 years they’ve undermined action on the climate crisis. They’ve used advertising and lobbying campaigns, and an entrenched political revolving door, to undermine climate policies at every turn. You can read the whole dirt file here.

We know that we have all the solutions and public support we need to take action on the climate crisis, and support a just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. But the truth is, Australia will never be part of the solution to climate change while the Minerals Council and the fossil fuel lobby still have a stranglehold over our politics.

That’s why we’ve launched the Cut All Ties campaign, to restore our democracy to the people – not the polluters. We have a plan to take back our democracy so it answers to the community, not the coal lobby – and it’s going to take a huge grassroots effort to pull it off.

To find out how you can be part of this campaign, come along to this special launch webinar on Feb 13 to introduce the powerful campaign that will take down the power of the fossil fuel lobby.

I am feeling so inspired and fired up to take on this campaign, which looks beneath the surface at the hidden power that must shift in order to shift Australia’s climate politics. There is no greater antidote to despair than action, and this campaign is going to be action packed and win. Find out how to be a part of it. 

In hope, 

Lucy, for the whole 350 Australia team

P.S. If you can’t make the webinar – you can still get involved! Find more ways to get involved on our new website, www.CutAllTies.org.au