Another successful day under rule-of-law — Amy Remeikis, Prof. Lesley Hughes, Adam Zwar, Lewis Hobba & Dan Ilic


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True to form, A Rational Fear, takes a look at week’s scariest news. Catastrophic ecosystem collapse, Gerry Harvey’s JobKeeper bonus, sexual assault allegations in Canberra, and Schapelle Corby on Dancing With The Stars have all been loaded into the ARF canon and ready to be shot into space.

Fearmongers this week:
Amy Remeikis
Prof. Lesely Hughes (Climate Council)
Adam Zwar
Lewis Hobba
and me, Dan Ilic

Dan Ilic 0:00
Hi this is just a little content warning that this episode of irrational fear will cover issues of sexual assault.

Unknown Speaker 0:06
This podcast is supported in part by the birth of foundation

Dan Ilic 0:10
Hello Lewis. Hello Daniel. How are you? I'm well I Well, I want to be a big thank you to new and returning Patreon supporters we have our Patreon supporters have gone away and have come back, which is really exciting news for everyone.

Unknown Speaker 0:23
I can understand the first part The second part is a real mystery.

Dan Ilic 0:27
No, I know. A big thank you to Gus MC, no Danny rate and pate Lola, who have all joined up in Patreon this week. big thank you to everyone. How are you, Louis? You okay? Oh, I'm alright. And I mean, it's been a bit of a week. It's been a bit of a week. That's why we're here. Well, we'll kick off. I'm recording my end of irrational feet on the land of the firewall. sovereignty was never seated. We need a treaty. Let's start the show.

Unknown Speaker 0:52
A rational fear contains no to words like bricks cambro COMM And section 40 of our rational view recommended listening by immature audience.

Dan Ilic 1:05
Tonight, Attorney General Christian Porter has heard rumours that he's taking a short leave of absence but doesn't know any specifics and CHANNEL SEVEN costs repel Coby in Dancing with the Stars because March operate was unavailable and the UN chief demands Australia ends its deadly addiction to coal by 2030. In response, Scott Morrison broke into the UN chiefs house and stole his VHS recorder and sold it for a lump of the good stuff. It's the fifth of March 2021. And no journalist has ever asked me about this podcast. This is irrational fear.

Hello, welcome to rational fear. I'm your host, former Duke of Essex. Danielle it's irrational fear is the podcast that holds your hand for the scariest forest of news. And we're doing it this week. So let's meet our fear mongers for tonight. She spends her days wading through the rubble of trouble from the camera bubble. It's Amy ruminococcus.

Unknown Speaker 2:10
That's a very nice way of putting it I wade through the piles of shit. That's my job.

Unknown Speaker 2:15
That's what I do.

Dan Ilic 2:15
Amy, how are your rage levels as of today for this one?

Unknown Speaker 2:20
Oh, I am incandescent with rage. I don't think I'd screen burn it all down so often in my life, and that was this Monday. So you know, it's been going great.

Dan Ilic 2:31
And he's one of Australia's most prolific comedy creators. He quit journalism for the stability of comedy. It's Adams wha Hello, Adam. And he regrets about leaving journalism after a week like this.

Unknown Speaker 2:41
It was a wise decision wasn't it? Yeah, I I'm exhausted and I'm not even involved in any way. So I kind of mentioned how you feel me? Um, yeah, full on.

Lewis Hobba 2:54
It's lucky you got out Adam, you would have been joining the mob of media bullies.

Unknown Speaker 3:01
do realise I was the lightweight among journalists. I used to write show business journals.

Unknown Speaker 3:05
That is one of the nastiest pits to be in show business journalism. I wouldn't I wouldn't want to come across you. alley Yeah, I've

Dan Ilic 3:15
been on the I've been on the nasty end of a paid afford clip on a current affair where he he said Daniel, which I've never heard of him.

Unknown Speaker 3:24
On Twitter. I don't think we've had any interactions. And then just one day I discovered I was blocked on Twitter and I was like, can you even eat? Are you bored?

Dan Ilic 3:32
And our final fearmonger is considering becoming a celebrant, I've already booked him to officiate my funeral. It's Lewis haba,

Lewis Hobba 3:38
allaudin. I tell you that I actually did drunkenly consider becoming a celebrant?

Dan Ilic 3:43
Well, I think you should I mean, you're told you're handsome. You're good with a voice.

Lewis Hobba 3:47
Thank you. I mean, I don't think that any of those are relevant qualifications to sell celebrando wedding, but um, because I get I'm sure you guys get this as well. If you talk into a microphone professionally, you get asked to emcee every wedding. Like I've emceed more weddings and I've attended. And occasionally people do pay me to DJ so I could add celebrate, then I could literally be the whole wedding.

Dan Ilic 4:10
Coming up ecosystems all around Australia and the Antarctic are suffering huge levels of decline, and are on the brink of collapse. joining us to discuss which ecosystem is likely to be last and where you should be building your eco doom. bunker is climate counsellor, Leslie Hughes. But first a message from our sponsor. It's the Harvey

Unknown Speaker 4:29
Norman swimming in money sale. There's so much money with drowning in profits up 116% sales up by $462 million. As a bonus, we're keeping job keeper that's right $22 million from the government to help struggling businesses during the pandemic The only thing we're struggling to deal with find space to bottle this excess $22 million tax free interest free no cashback the savings are huge. And Harvey Norman, if you're me it's the Harvey Norman Swimming in money sale. All cash just got a

Dan Ilic 5:07
bit of long tail out in that one. This works Firstly, the Attorney General Christian Porter claims he is innocent of any allegations of sexual assault in 1988. He was adamant that the allegations that he himself hadn't seen were completely false. It was an extraordinary press conference this week, Porter claimed that no one put to him the allegations ever. I think what he meant to say was I hadn't seen or heard anyone putting the allegations to me because the Attorney General you had a radio a mouse or pick up a phone from the hundreds of journalists trying to put the allegations to him, then maybe he would have he also had the gall to suggest that the media were trying to quote ruin his life, forgetting that someone's life was literally ruined. Worst of all consequences for Porter is that it would he would have to step down for politics and go to work in a law firm for four times the money that he's on. Now. It's a bit like Schrodinger is Korea inside his a box, and you're not quite sure whether the career is alive or dead. And the only way to find out is if you open the box, but No way. No one wanted to open that box, not even a series of successive prime ministers. The job is very important to him. After all, the twice divorced Porter only has his job. It's not like he can quit to spend more time with his families because they don't want to be near him. It was a very, very strange press conference, indeed, fear mongers what were your strangest moments from this remarkable presser? Amy, let's start with you.

Unknown Speaker 6:31
I mean, it does have to be said straight up. But he does absolutely deny it even happened at all that there was any sort of consensual relationship between him and the complainant. And he just says it doesn't it hasn't happened at all. And I have to put that out there for legal reasons, because this is a live legal issue. He has already said that he is trolling through social media and news stories and like for defamation, so he denies everything. The most extraordinary part of the press conference for me apart from some random memory of a bowl of prawns that he mentioned, he remembered from the 1988 night period in question from the complainant was that he basically said that he would be if this was independently investigated, or there was an independent inquiry, he would be the first person in history to have to disprove something that never happened. And to me, that was extraordinary, because that's the basis of every not guilty or denial plea that's ever been made. You're just you're saying it doesn't happen. That's that's part of it. If you saying it doesn't happen, then you you are asked to explain your side of the story. It's not unique. And then when he went on to say that the basically the rule of law would collapse, if he was asked to, to go through some sort of other inquiry. Because you know, anyone could make any sort of allegation and it would immediately ruin a MPs Korea, which again, is not true. You have independent inquiries all the time in the sports world, in churches, in schools, in businesses, it's not an either or situation.

Dan Ilic 8:19
Deadline deadline. If you say when he said if he stepped down, it would be the end of the rule of law. That was quite a quite a very strange line. Like I think we all remember when the pope retired, Catholicism disappeared. I think it's the same sort of thing. Same sort of logic He's going for there.

Lewis Hobba 8:37
It is what it sort of had this like vision that if a man is ever actually or a politician has ever actually convicted of a sex crime, the next day, it's the Thunderdome.

Unknown Speaker 8:47
True, yes. But like that. The the other point, though, is that we're not even talking convictions. This is not going into a criminal court. It can't. The complainant has passed away, they passed away before they made an official complaint, they withdrew it before their death. There was never any formal interview process. The police literally cannot investigate this, there is no way that they can. So this is never going to a criminal court. The only way you have to test whether he is fit to sit in the ministry is an independent inquiry, which has to be called by the Prime Minister. And he's not even being asked to to do resign. He's just basically being asked to maybe step aside while this inquiry is carried out, which is something that happens all the time. It's just It's extraordinary that we've now reached these peaks of just it's going to burn down democracy and the rule of law. If we look into this any further and the fact that the government is just picking up that line and running with it and the Prime Minister is pretending to be a passive bystander. He's like, Oh, well, you know, the police have had this I there's nothing I can do and people believe it. is extraordinary to me.

Dan Ilic 10:01
It's such it's such a passing of the buck again of all kinds of responsibility like this is exactly the scomo playbook. It's like, it's not my problem. It's somebody else's problem. It's not our problem. It's not our fault. It's not my responsibility is just continually passing the buck 730s Laura tinkle made a point that back in the olden days that some people had shame and that politicians would resign that over the slightest smell of impropriety. I think one of the one of the ones that sticks out in my mind was Peter reef, like having a massive scan around Peter rates telecard card, which is his telecom card that he gave to his son that his son racked up 40 or $50,000, with a phone calls on I don't even know how you could do that. And that almost brought down the government, but like nowadays, politicians are just sticking around, they're sticking to their guns, and tough in and out yet until they pass through. What do you think is what do you think's driving this trend

Unknown Speaker 10:56
going back to you know, like, you know, times when people just resigned over almost nothing, there was a resignation because someone took a Paddington Bear toy into Australia without declaring it and paying tax. There was a resignation because an MP brought, you know, he imported a colour television and he put down that it was a black and white television. So we didn't pay the proper amount of tax on that. And he resigned over that. Like, it's just we've gone from that to a point where we have had sports rights. And we've had, you know, questions over Angus Taylor's involvement in like, you know, certain other projects, then we've had bullying allegations during the Liberal Party leadership skills like the many many Liberal Party leadership skills spills. Then we've had the handling of the Brittany Higgins allegations and now we have a rape allegation. And we've still got a prime minister saying I don't hold a hose or an acquire inquiry. It's just insane to me.

Dan Ilic 11:55
I think I don't hold a hose is going to be the meme of his tenure. That will be the symbol of his entire Prime Ministership. Adam, what do you think about that

Unknown Speaker 12:05
idea? Yeah, I agree. I remember there was a time when people resigned. I think they probably started a lot. They stopped resigning around 27 to 2018. I remember. I think so. Barnaby Joyce, he left the legendary Liberal Party National Party in 2018. I think that was the last resignation. I can remember really, the Al Franken who was the Senator, I remember it was 2017 that he was removed. There was a accusation that he forced a woman to kiss him. And then he he demanded an investigation into himself and I think seven other women came forward. And so he resigned. Right now you've got Andrew Cuomo, he's not going anywhere on three women have come out accusing him of sexual harassment. Trudeau three times just photographed in blackface. Attorney General of Virginia, Mark herring, blackface again. All those people that are holding firm and I think it's, you know, we can blame Trump, but I think it actually goes back to Boris Johnson when he there was a you know, a number of scandals that he was involved in that just didn't touch the sides with him. It's something about those guys that just they just huge hide. Don't care what you think. Kind of love, love the fight. You know, Boris Johnson had multiple affairs. He doesn't admit to how many children he's got.

Dan Ilic 13:28
That's a great start. That is that is I don't hold a penis mate. That is

Unknown Speaker 13:34
totally fine. Yeah,

Dan Ilic 13:35
it's obfuscation right there. There was an article in nine papers today that said scomo praised Porter's gutsy performance is scomo the world's most powerful drama teacher Adams. Well, yeah, he

Unknown Speaker 13:48
like he takes the acting really seriously because it you know, as we know, the child actor and the Vic said back in the day, and

Dan Ilic 13:55
do people know this that he was a child actor in a Vicks vapour drops ad when in the 70s and 80s? I didn't know that. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 14:04
yeah. We're struggling to find out which ad it actually is. It's kind of hard because you know, he's got a kind of a fat ball kid in any of the kids with hair and how do you kind of pick out scomo? There's a, I can see the tricks of the trade that he's using, you know, when he was talking about the Jenny thing the other day, and he was saying that when Jenny had talked about it with Jenny, and you know, Jenny said, think about it if it was one of your daughters. He thought he was in a Ken Loach film that when he was doing that, he was really searching for the meaning and he was like, really loading those pauses, you know, you've got to be a lovey to know like, shit, he knows and he when he's standing behind people talking, you know, they've discussed the talking points beforehand. Yeah. And it's almost as though his lips are moving like he's kind of and he's kind of getting a little bit impatient with that. They're not delivering the lines. Was he would have, and you know, he kind of he kind of does he, you know, in his smoky, horrible way he he's a, he's a strong performer, whether you like him or not he kind of just he, he holds up, he keeps holding up despite the evidence being against him.

Lewis Hobba 15:19
I hit that before that performance, I think that he does with the pauses, is very reminiscent of a genuinely ANGRY DAD when you're a child. Like, I think when you're getting told off by a dad, and you can, and he yells at you, and then there's a silence that grabs you as a as like, everyone remembers that being yelled and like that. But the problem is that he started to double up on the same performance. So there was there was this one where he did that was like, come on, you know this. And then there was the exact thing from a year ago where he does the same performance. But the point of this point A year ago was that he's yelling at journalists, because like, this problem is all over the place. Women are getting raped, and we're not listening to them. And you're like, Ah, you're these performances are really now clashing.

Dan Ilic 16:06
Yeah, yeah, it's not that's not the tone we need for this particular point of view right now.

Unknown Speaker 16:11
You get out of the text and you get another take if you don't get it right. Well, I ended up

Lewis Hobba 16:17
doing we've got that one.

Dan Ilic 16:19
Scott's always got another dose up to get to show he can always try it out again. There. That's it. Yeah. Amy, I want to ask you this. I don't know if you're across this. But I saw that Porter could possibly have his fate decided for him by the EEC, by the time the next election rolls around, because because of a whole demographic shift from Wi Fi to Victoria, the IEC is planning on abolishing Potter's seat of peace. Do you? Is this the most Is this the most humane way to put Porter down?

Unknown Speaker 16:46
I don't know about that. It is a very live issue for why politics at the moment whether you know Porter's seat will exist. And it's going to be very interesting from a purely political viewpoint of how much political capital he still has in the wha branches because usually when this sort of stuff happens is the heavyweights get to move into somebody else's safe seats and that person ends up resigning. So you see those battles happen, you know, kind of everywhere I'm in labour went through one in Victoria, when Melbourne had a whole bunch of you know, re selections in terms of where the boundaries were going. And that sort of thing. There was a lot of shuffling around and who got to go where cray

Dan Ilic 17:27
cray Kelly Hughes is looking pretty attractive.

Unknown Speaker 17:34
I think you'll probably stay in who there was some talk at the time that you might want Julie Bishop's old seat and that he was making a move for that even back then because it's a much, much safer seat than his is. But it really is going to depend on how the next couple of weeks, months, like play out. And when you're talking about Morrison's performance, and I refuse to call him scomo because that is a nickname he gave himself. It is a marketing day. You cannot allow the man to just create like the man, the myth, the legend with a nickname he gave himself. So we need to like you know, move on from the scomo talk. But he performs mostly for the televisions and those pauses for the grabs. He just wants the TVs to have a neat cut of him saying he's very profound statement, cut one, cut two, boom, that's all anybody hears from the prime minister and everyone moves on. Because I think if we remember about politics, one of the key rules is that you don't want people thinking about politics because if you think about politics, you'll begin to pay attention to what the government's doing and if you're doing that you will probably vote them out. He doesn't want you thinking about it. He wants you just ignoring it. going oh, that's just a Canberra Parliament bubble thing. Move on. How about them Sharky,

Unknown Speaker 18:59
what I was talking about with the pauses was the was the in the in the my daughter's thing. He was trying to tap into an emotional place there to show us that he was human. And in doing so just look worse than normal. I thought I thought that I thought he was actually trying to go a little bit too far. And being a child actors when I was little child actors. They don't develop into proper actors that they retain. It's like, really two dimensional kind of truth that they search for. It's and it's on the nose.

Lewis Hobba 19:30
I imagined. If we ever go back and find that big sad, it'll just be some kid coughing desperately at a young Skomer going. I don't know how to explain

Unknown Speaker 19:44
that's a metaphor, the Queensland Government. I mean, that's a metaphor, the cranium, that's a matter that I'll rise with other premiers and Chief Ministers. That's really a question to the premium. That's a matter of I'm happy to take up with the other premiers and Chief Ministers a rational fear.

Dan Ilic 19:56
Let's move on to our second fear this week, as mentioned at the top of the show, There's a new wildcard entry for Dancing with the Stars chapelco rb, which makes me ask the question have TV producers run out of genuine Australian stars now, fear mongers. We're going to call Chappelle a star here. Who else should be given a crack at Dancing with the Stars? I've got a small list. I'm Ned Kelly. George Pell. My Brian brown still alive. Maybe we could get him on Dancing with the Stars.

Lewis Hobba 20:25
I like I like Chappelle on Dancing with the Stars. But I think it should be kind of like a 90s. Right. Like she should just throw down three pills. And then the episode goes for 12 hours. We just say how long she can shuffle.

Dan Ilic 20:38
This is really sad for not ignited graduates. I've always thought I thought not a graduates graduating not and now now have to go and commit some extremely drastic crimes of essays so they can get cast on the show.

Unknown Speaker 20:49
Like, let's remember though, Pauline Hanson was a star on this show, after she had, you know, got out of jail after she was, you know, wrongly convicted or expunged or whatever, they ended up staying there. And before she was back in politics, we ran out of stars a very, very long time ago. I mean, I just, I think we went through, we went through whoever was in neighbours and home in a way that wasn't a hands worth and then I think maybe they dug up some like, you know, people from Better Homes and Gardens. Then they went through some like, you know, I don't know the block contestants. And then they were like, oh, who else who's coming out of jail now Pauline Hanson?

Lewis Hobba 21:29
Yeah, but the reality TV pipeline now is this kind of like an Etch A Sketch, where you try to walk out of maps and you accidentally walk onto the block. And then when you leave and all of a sudden you're on X Factor, and you

Unknown Speaker 21:43
are in Paradise and then you're stuck in that island and you find yourself into Viber and then you just go like, you know, putting out a raft somewhere and it's I'm a celebrity Get me out of here and it's never ending Dante circle, like reality TV.

Unknown Speaker 21:57
What about the lie the cost of insiders? Phil curry on dancing and dancing stars definitely. Pay to watch that. Actually. I would pay me

Dan Ilic 22:08
a remake us on Dancing with the Stars. There you go.

Unknown Speaker 22:10
Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I would, you know, probably dropped some really unfortunate swear word and then just get voted off and then just go straight into my next reality TV show.

Unknown Speaker 22:22
And you're dancing with your mobile phones. You're watching him at all times.

Unknown Speaker 22:25
Yeah, yeah, I

Unknown Speaker 22:25
am. I'm just like, do you see what the fuck they've done?

Dan Ilic 22:31
Adam, you're an executive producer of many TV shows. Is this some? Is it appealing to you to cast Chappelle in something?

Unknown Speaker 22:38
Do you know what i like? I saw si s Australia. Oh, and I watched that with interest has done a channel seven show. I think I've watched the last you know, decade. And I really liked it and Chapelle I was very sceptical of when she came on but she was so lovely. She's a very sensitive, nice person. And that's how she came across anyway. And she won me over I was actually a little bit moved when she got voted out. I mean, she was terrible as if she shouldn't be anywhere near near, you know, she shouldn't be running 10 kilometres with a backpack on and no

Unknown Speaker 23:16
one should.

Unknown Speaker 23:18
And she, she, she was she was okay. So she's not gonna be any good at dancing. She'll be fobbed off in the first week. But you know, she'll be swayed about it and, and and take some money. I definitely think it was a brother did it.

Unknown Speaker 23:36
They seize writable view.

Dan Ilic 23:39
Turning now to activate close to this podcast heart, the end of the world. A groundbreaking report has just been released to COVID-19 ecosystems around Australia, our major threat of collapse that is deteriorated so badly. They're unlikely to recover a bit like my older brother's hairline. It's never coming back. And I feel like I'm missing. One of the authors of the report and longtime friend of the show is Professor Leslie Hughes. Leslie joins us now. Thank you, Professor Hughes for joining us. Hi, Dan.

Unknown Speaker 24:07
Great to be here.

Dan Ilic 24:08
So 19 ecosystems doesn't sound like a lot. But when you see it mapped out across the continent, the way that the report has it, it feels like the whole of Australia is it is in peril is an imminent collapse period.

Unknown Speaker 24:21
Well, in some cases, yes. The the ecosystems as you can see on the map in the paper go from right at the northern tip, right down through the continent, right from east to west, and then down to Antarctica. They're spread out all over the place. Some of them are ecosystems that are really well known, like the Great Barrier Reef and others will be ones that most people haven't heard of, but they're all in trouble.

Dan Ilic 24:47
The ones that people haven't heard of, do they need some kind of PR campaign? Is that something that we can help out with?

Unknown Speaker 24:53
Yes, I guess, I guess so. I mean, some of them aren't quite as spectacular as the Great Barrier Reef for Or the Murray Darling Basin, but they're all in trouble. They all have species that are disappearing, they all provide services to to our health and well being. In some cases, they've been in trouble for a very long time. Whereas in other cases, the the evidence of decline has been quite rapid and quite recent,

Dan Ilic 25:19
were the ones that the evidence of decline has been rapid, like, what are the ones that have kind of, you know, fallen over pretty quickly?

Unknown Speaker 25:26
Well, we've, we've seen things for coming back to the Great Barrier Reef, you know, in the last five years, we've had three major bleaching events from from underwater heat waves. And that's resulted in about 50%, of loss of all of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef, if you think about a reef system, you can see it from space, it's more than 2000 kilometres long, and we've lost half the corals. That's a pretty major event. And it's actually happened, you know, in geological time, very, very rapidly. And then a couple of years ago, for example, just over the space of a couple of days, we had massive fish gills in the menindee Lakes, as a result of, of drought and heat and loss of water, with millions of fish dying in the space of two or three days. So some of these things can happen really, really fast.

Dan Ilic 26:17
What does this kind of collapse mean for Australia's ability to feed itself to kind of, you know, provide agriculture for itself and as an agriculture nation?

Unknown Speaker 26:28
Well, indeed, to the ecosystems that we mentioned in the reporter, the Murray Darling waterways, and the Murray Darling sort of what we call riparian vegetation, which is the vegetation around the river. Over the last few decades, there's been a massive decline in rainfall. And on top of that, of course, we're removing lots of that water for irrigation and for urban uses. And those two things together, together with you know, runoff of nutrients and sediment from from agricultural fertilisers are really destroying those ecosystems. And the Murray Darling Basin is where we produce a third of our food. So when when you've got those ecosystems that are so intricately intertwined with our life support system in in, in the form of our food security, there's there's some really serious things going on.

Dan Ilic 27:23
And it sounds sounds dire. Like it sounds like there's nowhere to go.

Lewis Hobba 27:27
Is there any positive to look at it? Can we eat the fish from them and in the lake? So can we take the bleached coral and use it to decorate Byron Bay? airbnbs?

Unknown Speaker 27:36
Well, yeah, you can't eat bleached coral. And I guess you'd have to get to the fish pretty fast before they poisoned us. So there's always some creative things that you could do with that destroyed ecosystems, but it would be better to do something positive to to stop and then reverses decline.

Dan Ilic 27:55
Is there an ecosystem that's thriving right now? Is there a place in Australia this like, hell yeah, this

Unknown Speaker 27:59
is great.

Unknown Speaker 28:02
You know, I can't think of one

Lewis Hobba 28:05
goddamnit Leslie.

Unknown Speaker 28:08
I'm sorry. I mean, if you think back to the black summer bushfires, for example, the amount of area burned in those fires, is about three times the size of Tasmania is about 20% of our eucalypt forests, but that summer, so you know, that's just the East Coast and a bit of Western Australia.

Dan Ilic 28:26
I was just saying, I'm in jervis Bay right now. And we've been driving up and down the south coast. And it's a hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kilometres. It is just recovering forests. And it's so stark to drive through these places that you're I remember seeing on the news a year ago, thinking wow, like this is just this is just so epic, the amount of bush land it was burned over that summer, and it's only kind of recovering now. And I'm just thinking about all the wildlife that has gone missing, particularly over that strange, dark period.

Unknown Speaker 29:00
Yes, one of my colleagues at the University of Sydney estimated that around about 3 billion vertebrate animals that's birds, mammals and reptiles probably directly perished in the fires and of course, many more would have died of starvation and predation afterwards. So but look, the eucalypt forests that you've been driving through are recovering, they'll they'll You know, they're fairly well adapted to to fires, but they're really different thing about that summer's bushfires is that we had massive fires go through rain forests, the Gondwana rain forests that the don't burn, usually. We had some a few years ago in the Tasmanian World Heritage Area that killed trees that were 1000 years old. So what we're seeing with with climate change, increasing the severity and intensity and frequency of these fires, is places burning that have never burned in the last 1000 years.

Dan Ilic 29:57
With with this word that you've just kind of realised It's a big job to kind of kind of categorise every kind of ecosystem in Australia and put it kind of put it through the that that filter. How did this this job kind of come about? How did this piece of work get built?

Unknown Speaker 30:16
Well, there was a workshop down in Canberra at the Academy of Sciences in 2018. That brought a number of us together to talk about what we called ecological surprises. And a number of people spoke at that conference, including myself. And when the people at the conference got together afterwards, we sort of sat around and thought, Well, look, we really should write something up. So that that this, what's been talked about at the conference can be on paper and disseminated beyond these walls. And so really, for the last couple of years, that paper has been put together, more and more people came on board who are expert in particular ecosystems. It's been a massive job, there's a massive amount of data and references in this paper. But finally, to all of our great relief, it was published last week.

Lewis Hobba 31:04
I mean, given that there's, you know, 19 ecosystems, we've got the Great Barrier Reef in there, one of the most famous in Australia and the world, we still can't get anyone to do anything about that. The most famous one that we know generates billions of dollars of tourism, there's still nothing they can do about that, let alone the other 18, when you get together with your group have made these discoveries, what's the mood?

Unknown Speaker 31:32
It's a good question. I think anybody that works, both in environmental conservation and climate change, and I work in both of those areas, kind of gets pretty used to being depressed about it, or and most of the time, you know, you get you do get you do have to get hardened to it, which doesn't mean that you give up and stop going. But nothing much surprises you anymore, you know, we sort of expect the worst. And on occasion, when we get a small victory, we celebrate that. But generally, they are small and fleeting victories against a backdrop of really extraordinary loss. But I mean, the alternative is to just crawl under your donor and ignore it and hope that it all goes away or gets better. And really, that's not really an option for most of us.

Dan Ilic 32:22
I'm glad it's not an option for you lately. That's

Lewis Hobba 32:25
great. A lot of

Dan Ilic 32:29
you last time we hung out was in Paris at the climate talks. You are a representative on the Intergovernmental Panel for climate change. We're heading into cop 26 in Glasgow, first of all, what is what is cop 26 gonna look like in this kind of pandemic situation that we've got? Is it gonna be face to face?

Unknown Speaker 32:52
Look, we don't know. I mean, I guess with the vaccine rollout, especially in places like the UK, which is seems to be going pretty well, I think we would hope that it would be at least partially face to face. Of course, the Glasgow meeting was supposed to happen last year and didn't happen at all. So there's another year down the track and emissions keep going up. I think one of the really major things that will be different about this year, whether it's in person or not, is the fact that Joe Biden's administration has put climate change front and centre. So that's given an enormous boost of hope, going forward. And I think that the atmosphere in Glasgow this year, will be very different to what it might have been last year under the Trump administration. So whether it's in person or not, that's a really important difference.

Dan Ilic 33:44
And I don't want to kind of put you on the spot here. But what do you think Australia is going to take to Glasgow, do you think Australia is going to be a better actor than it has been at previous conferences of parties?

Unknown Speaker 34:00
Well, look, you've just been talking earlier in the podcast about this government's ability to just sort of soldier on unchanged regardless of extraordinary scandal, the government's attitude to climate changes is also an extraordinary scandal. But they've proved thus far to be able to sort of tough out all sorts of things. So my prediction would be is we'll go to Glasgow with no further level of ambition, then we took to Paris despite all evidence that that is not enough. I'd love to be surprised by that.

Dan Ilic 34:39
Like even with Europe in the UK standard, think about financial penalties for in tariffs on count on high carbon countries. Do you think that'll change what we take to Glasgow at all?

Unknown Speaker 34:52
Well, it might do in fact, I think that's probably the only thing that will turn this government around to being a better player in this space. You know, if places like the EU, and the US start to impose carbon tariffs on countries like Australia who are not pulling their weight, then we will have to change because we are so reliant for our economy on on our trade. So, you know, it's sad that we should be dragged kicking and screaming to that position when Australia has so much to learn from renewables and green manufacturing,

Lewis Hobba 35:30
it does seem like Australia has two options. One, that option, the smart one to Jenny starts to care. And

Dan Ilic 35:41
it's the battle for Jenny,

Unknown Speaker 35:42
you know, we should put it to Scott that his his kids and grandkids are going to live hopefully into the next century. And if we, if we carry on the way we're going with three degrees or more of temperature increase, that is pretty much an uninhabitable world that those kids and grandkids are going to be inheriting. So if he really does care about his kids, if anybody cares about their kids and future generations, they should be absolutely as passionate about climate action as I am.

Dan Ilic 36:15
And Leslie, as part of this big bit of work that you've released this week, you've kind of put together a bit of a scheme called the three A's a way that people can kind of do their kind of get involved with their own action in meaningful ways. What are the three eyes?

Unknown Speaker 36:33
Yeah, we wanted to put forward a sort of a framework of hope going forward, we didn't just want to catalogue the problems, and so many of these sorts of papers do. So the first day is awareness, you know, and that's what we've been doing with is raising awareness about the true extent of the trouble with Australian ecosystems are in. The second is anticipation. If you can anticipate future decline, hopefully, you can get in and do something about it before it happens. And the third eye, of course, is action. And what we do in the paper is for each of those ecosystems, we outline a series of management actions that if implemented, would help halt and possibly in some cases, reverse the decline. Of course, most of those are local actions that address things like habitat clearing and over allocation of freshwater and that sort of thing. But on top of all of that, is the global action that we need on climate change.

Dan Ilic 37:31
If I was not a generous person, I'd asked you why. There wasn't a fourth a Angus Taylor, why wasn't that on the list?

Unknown Speaker 37:39
Well, Angus Taylor gets the prize for the most Orwellian named ministry, you know, the Minister of emissions reduction that is wanting us to put in new coal fired power stations, you know, it does beg a belief

Lewis Hobba 37:53
he's absences. The fourth is is kind of a whole it's a it's an A Paul.

Unknown Speaker 37:59
Very good.

Dan Ilic 38:01
That's it for rational A big thank you to all of our guests, Professor Leslie Hughes

Unknown Speaker 38:05
Adams. Well,

Dan Ilic 38:06
Amy remake of St. Louis harbour, have

Unknown Speaker 38:07
you got anything to plug?

Dan Ilic 38:08
Amy, do you wanna plug anything? No,

Unknown Speaker 38:11
just speak to your MPs just be loud and angry and not at me and social media. Like just take it to the people who represent you. It's the only way you're going to get action.

Dan Ilic 38:22
atoms. Why do you want to plug anything?

Unknown Speaker 38:24
Nothing to plug then? Which is a relief, isn't it?

Dan Ilic 38:28
It's very good, Louis. How about what are you plugging?

Lewis Hobba 38:31
Nothing, Dan. on the radio show, you can listen if you like, but

Dan Ilic 38:35
yeah, no big deal. Leslie Hughes, what do you have anything to plug?

Unknown Speaker 38:39
I'd like to plug the climate Council, which is working very hard. And they're now in our eighth year to inform the Australian public about climate change.

Dan Ilic 38:48
And for the kids who are listening to this, ask your parents about what the climate Council is and how it was formed. It was this incredible story over a two week period where where one government department got shut down and the cabinet and the climate council came together with a whole bunch of public donations. And it was absolutely remarkable, very inspiring stuff. Amy, on a personal note, thank you for your hard work this week. It's been so fun watching you on Twitter, and heartening to see you at the coalface of such a very difficult story and helping all of us on twitter in particular channel outrage as to what was going on. So thank you. Oh,

Unknown Speaker 39:28
thank you for listening.

Dan Ilic 39:29
Big thanks to red marks the birth of foundation our Patreon supporters Jacob round on the tepanyaki timeline Rupa degasser He's incredible voice Kelly and David Payton all the discord crew. Until next week, there's always something to be scared of good night.

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119 episodes